Cover by Steve McConnell

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Recoding in a Low-Level Language

One long-standing piece of conventional wisdom that shouldn't be left unmentioned is the advice that when you run into a performance bottleneck, you should recode in a low-level language. If you're coding in C++, the low-level language might be assembler. If you're coding in Python, the low-level language might be C. Recoding in a lowlevel language tends to improve both speed and code size. Here is a typical approach to optimizing with a low-level language:

  1. Write 100 percent of an application in a high-level language.

  2. Fully test the application, and verify that it's correct.

  3. If performance improvements are needed after that, profile the application to identify hot spots. Since about 5 percent of a program usually ...

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