Better way than using from_be_bytes?

So here we're doing a common operation - taking a u32 from 4 bytes, big-endian. This is from a program that analyzes "tcpdump" files, so it has a lot of data to look at. Turning 4 bytes from a vector of bytes into a u32 is supported, but the code is kind of clunky.

fn processacks(&self, acks: &[u8]) -> Result<(),&str> {
    for i in (0..acks.len()).step_by(std::mem::size_of::<u32>()) {
        let seqnum = &acks[i .. i+4];                           // next sequence number
        /// In an ACK, sequence numbers also are big-endian. 
        let sequence = u32::from_be_bytes(seqnum.try_into().unwrap());  // panic here should be impossible since previous statement sets size as 4.
  self.processack(sequence);                              // ACK processor

Is there a better way? I'm going to have about a thousand statements like that in machine-generated code that's taking apart packets, so I want that operation to be fast.

Is the optimizer smart enough to detect that a byte array created in the previous statement with [i ++ i+4] has to have a length of 4 and avoid generating the panic?

The bytes crate provides Buf::get_u32 which would do the job of incrementing the index in the source array for you. You can then just iterate over Buf::has_remaining had read all numbers.

Up to you whether that is better or not what you have.
For bounds checks - best check the compiler output (e.g. via godbolt). Things change between compiler versions. It might help the compiler if you assert the maximum length of the array upfront.

What do you want if the acks has a size not a multiple of size_of::<u32>()? This code will panic on let seqnum = &acks[i..i+4]; if the acks's length is, say, 7.

If you're ok to drop excess bytes shorter than it, it would be simpler.

fn process_acks(&self, acks: &[u8]) -> Result<(), &str> {
    use std::convert::TryInto;

    for sequence in acks.chunks_exact(std::mem::size_of::<u32>()) {

And yes, the compiler can optimize out those obvious bound checks.

1 Like

And for well-known array lengths, we'll eventually get methods that just give &[u8; 4] directly, be that or

Thanks. I've been off trying this in Godbolt. It's amusing. With optimization off, the code is terrible and there seems to be a function call for each subscript check. With optimization on (-O), everything gets inlined and there are no visible checks. As I understand it, Rust does not turn off subscript checks for safe code. So I assume it optimized those out, as it should.

Yes, rust code with optimizations off is notoriously bad. There's a reason that it's not uncommon for optimized code to be 50x faster.

Correct. Safe code is always safe; there's no way to turn those checks off. (There are different unsafe things that don't have checks, but there's no way to turn off the checks in the safe APIs.)

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. We invite you to open a new topic if you have further questions or comments.