As of last year I am the proud developer of a mobile game app for android (and blackberry as of now). STACK41 is a rather simple little game based around the concept of connect-4 but adds 3D and consumable extras to the mix.
This post is about the biggest addition to the game since its launch last summer. In December 2013 I added a realtime multiplayer mode to the game (version 0.3.0).
The server backend for this endeavor is written in the D Programming Language2. You may ask why this is… Well this was kind of a journey! This is gonna be a series of articles about how I developed that server and what kind of challenges occurred on the way.
Part1 elaborates roughly what other possibilities were evaluated and a brief not-so-technical overview about the development in D-land over the last year.
Typescript / Nodejs
Java / Vert.x
Next thing I evaluated was Java! Typesafe, strict OOP and an insane huge framework for all the needs, why not? Vert.x promised the event-driven performance I was used to from Node. In the end the VM and/or Vert.x were too ressource hungry for my commodity hardware server. And by the time I was evaluating Java I got help by a friend who was no java coder nor was he willing to become one. So I thought to look for yet another solution.
My friend is very proficient in PHP and put that on the table too. But since I wanted to do realtime server connections and wanted to leave scripting languages behind PHP got sorted out pretty quickly too.
I am a C++ coder at day and my friend also learned C in the days. But trying to find object-oriented wrappers for stuff like libuv was not as easy as I expected. Writing something ourself seemed unreasonable for the task and not being able to use C++11 for it (remember the commodity = dated hardware) made me expect the worst. That is when I remembered something that cannot deny its C++ roots: D.
2013 was also a good year for D. The first real dconf was held in San Fransisco3 with a load of interesting talks and people! I recommend everyone to watch the video recordings!
The D reference compiler “dmd” matured a lot, stability-wise and by finally supporting x64 and shared libraries. The toolchains got orders of magnitudes better through the dub package manager4 that lent a lot of ideas from npm for nodejs (which is a good thing, since this works extremely well). Also in IDE land mono-d5 made my work with D a lot easier. It got very stable by now and the developer is insanely responsive (lets hope he never finishes university).
In october Andrei Alexandrescu announced the first commit of D code to the Facebook source repository6. In November, they even started to support D financially by putting bounties on compiler bugs7. Others followed.
Facebook is also the sponsor of the location for the D conference in San Fransisco. And I think it was the dconf talk of Vladimir Panteleev8 that first introduced me to vibe.d. The Vibe.d framework offers asynchronous I/O and all you need to write a webserver in D.
I know D for a long time, have used it a lot years ago, wrote my B.SC Thesis about it. Vibe.d9 offers me what I like in node.js albeit being written in a usable language for serious sized projects. Despite being asynchronous like node it also looses the callback hell by using a co-routine like design. It is more memory efficient than Java/Vert.x, PHP was no option, bare C not even close and D is the better language compared to the competitors anyway.
Part2 is going to describe a little more in detail what the STACK4 server backend looks like and how I implemented it in D… stay tuned
- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Extrawurst.FIR [↩]
- http://dlang.org/ [↩]
- http://dconf.org/2013/ [↩]
- http://code.dlang.org/ [↩]
- http://mono-d.alexanderbothe.com/ [↩]
- http://email@example.com#post-l37h5s:242gd8:241:40digitalmars.com [↩]
- http://firstname.lastname@example.org#post-l65mvq:24du0:241:40digitalmars.com [↩]
- http://dconf.org/2013/talks/panteleev.html [↩]
- http://vibed.org/ [↩]