Removal of WeakMap/WeakSet clear

Alex Russell slightlyoff at
Thu Dec 4 20:06:25 PST 2014

I support Katelyn's suggestion to make clear() neuterable on an instance,
perhaps with per-object configuration.

It leaves the API intact while allowing those with security concerns to
address them.
On 4 Dec 2014 20:01, "Katelyn Gadd" <kg at> wrote:

> JSIL has a shim that emulates the 2D portion of the XNA game
> framework's graphics stack using HTML5 canvas (for compatibility).
> Many of the stack's features don't have direct equivalents in canvas,
> so I have to generate and cache various bits of data and graphics
> resources on-demand to implement them.
> A main use case here is that in order to do color multiplication of
> bitmaps - typically used for
> text rendering, but used in other cases as well - I have to take a
> given image I intend to draw and split it into images for each
> specific color channel (r, g, b, a) and keep the images around. The
> lifetime of those images needs to be tied to the lifetime of the image
> they are derived from, and I also need the ability to discard them in
> response to memory pressure. WeakMap is near-perfect for this.
> I have a complex garbage collection scheme where I manually maintain a
> LRU cache of these images and discard the ones that have not recently
> been used periodically, and when the cache gets too big I discard the
> oldest ones. Ensuring this collector runs often enough without
> discarding images too often is a real challenge.
> A downside here is that these resources are very heap light (just
> HTML5 canvases/images) but memory heavy. In the past I have found and
> filed bugs related to this where a browser was not properly responding
> to the memory pressure from these images. As a result of this I don't
> use WeakMap for this feature anymore (but I used to).
> Managing the memory pressure here is important so it is very valuable
> to have both a way to clear out the entire cache (in response to the
> graphics adapter being reinitialized or a pool of game content being
> destroyed) and to remove a single value from the cache (in response to
> a single image resource being destroyed). The clear scenario is
> thankfully not common but it does happen. This is also an area where
> the performance is a concern.
> I have a similar caching scenario involving textures generated from
> bitmap fonts + text strings but WeakMap can't solve that since JS
> strings aren't object references. Oh well :-) That one has to use my
> terrible hacked-together collector as a result regardless of memory
> pressure issues.
> I do still use WeakMap in a few other places, for example to implement
> Object.GetHashCode. This is a case where the transposed representation
> is likely optimal - though in practice, I shouldn't need any sort of
> container here, if only the hashing mechanisms clearly built into the
> VM were exposed to user JS.
> Out of the demos on the website, I think
> makes the most
> significant use of the cache. The value below the framerate (measured
> in mb) is the size of the bitmap resource cache. If the demo is
> running using WebGL, the cache will be very small because WebGL needs
> far fewer temporary resources. If you load
> instead, it forces the use of the canvas backend and you will see the
> cache becomes quite large during gameplay. I think this at least provides
> a realistic scenario where you want a good WeakMap implementation that
> responds well to all forms of memory pressure.
> I also have a more recent use of WeakMap that is used to cache typed
> array views for memory buffers. This is necessary to implement various
> pointer manipulation scenarios, so that arbitrary data structures can
> be unpacked from arbitrary offsets in a given array buffer. You can
> effectively view this as a Typed Objects polyfill that predates the
> Typed Objects spec work. I should note that this is something that
> would be unnecessary if DataView were designed better, but things are
> what they are. :)
> On 4 December 2014 at 12:16, Mark S. Miller <erights at> wrote:
> > On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 6:25 AM, Katelyn Gadd <kg at> wrote:
> > [...]
> >> I should also note that while much of the above is speculative and
> >> based on intuition/experience, I *have* been shipping a use of WeakMap
> >> for performance-critical code for over a year now
> >
> > Hi Katelyn, could you say more about your shipping code? Is the code
> > something your could post or make available? Thanks.
> >
> >
> > --
> >     Cheers,
> >     --MarkM
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