Using Sequences


A sequence is an ordered collection of elements of the same type. The type of a sequence containing elements of type "Foo" (whether "Foo" is one of your types or a built-in Connext type) is typically called "FooSeq".

In all APIs except Java, FooSeq contains deep copies of Foo elements; in Java, which does not provide direct support for deep copy semantics, FooSeq contains references to Foo objects. In Java, sequences implement the java.util.List interface, and thus support all of the collection APIs and idioms familiar to Java programmers.

A sequence is logically composed of three things: an array of elements, a maximum number of elements that the array may contain (i.e., its allocated size), and a logical length indicating how many of the allocated elements are valid. The length may vary dynamically between 0 and the maximum (inclusive); it is not permissible to access an element at an index greater than or equal to the length.

A sequence may either "own" the memory associated with it, or it may "borrow" that memory.

  • If a sequence owns its own memory, then the sequence itself will allocate the its memory and is permitted to grow and shrink that memory (i.e., change its maximum) dynamically.
  • You can also loan a sequence of memory using the sequence-specific operations loan_contiguous() or loan_discontiguous(). This is useful if you want Connext to copy the received data samples directly into data structures allocated in user space.

A sequence may be declared as bounded or unbounded. A sequence's bound is the maximum number of elements that the sequence can contain at any one time. The bound is very important because it allows Connext to preallocate buffers to hold serialized and deserialized samples of your types; these buffers are used when communicating with other nodes in your distributed system. Unbounded sequences severily impact the latency and determinism of your application, since Connext needs to allocate memory on the fly as individual samples are read and written. Therefore, any abounded sequences found in an IDL file will be given a default bound of 100 elements, unless the -unboundedSupport option is specified.

Note: the -unboundedSupport option is not supported in ADA.

Example description

In this example, we define a data type containing a sequence of shorts in an IDL. Using this IDL file we generate a publisher and a subscriber application that manage two instances of that data type.

Our goal is to illustrate how sequences can own the memory associated with them, or borrow that memory.

  1. The sequence of the first instance, owner_instance, owns its own memory.
  2. In contrast, in the sequence of the second instance, borrower_instance, we use loan_contiguous() to loan a buffer of shorts previously allocated.

We also illustrate how to change the length of the created sequences, and how to assign random values to each of their components.

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