In Computer Science field, I have noticed a notable shift in thinking when it comes to programming. The advice as it stands now is
- write smaller, more testable code
- refactor existing code into smaller and smaller chunks of code until most of your methods/functions are just a few lines long
- write functions that only do one thing (which makes them smaller again)
This is a change compared to the "old" or "bad" code practices where you have methods spanning 2500 lines, and big classes doing everything.
My question is this: when it call comes down to machine code, to 1s and 0s, to assembly instructions, should I be at all concerned that my class-separated code with variety of small-to-tiny functions generates too much extra overhead?
While I am not exactly familiar with how OO code and function calls are handled in ASM in the end, I do have some idea. I assume that each extra function call, object call, or include call (in some languages), generate an extra set of instructions, thereby increasing code's volume and adding various overhead, without adding actual "useful" code. I also imagine that good optimizations can be done to ASM before it is actually ran on the hardware, but that optimization can only do so much too.
Hence, my question -- how much overhead (in space and speed) does well-separated code (split up across hundreds of files, classes, and methods) actually introduce compared to having "one big method that contains everything", due to this overhead?
UPDATE for clarity:
I am assuming that adding more and more functions and more and more objects and classes in a code will result in more and more parameter passing between smaller code pieces.
It was said somewhere (quote TBD) that up to 70% of all code is made up of ASM's MOV instruction - loading CPU registers with proper variables, not the actual computation being done. In my case, you load up CPU's time with PUSH/POP instructions to provide linkage and parameter passing between various pieces of code. The smaller you make your pieces of code, the more overhead "linkage" is required. I am concerned that this linkage adds to software bloat and slow-down and I am wondering if I should be concerned about this, and how much, if any at all, because current and future generations of programmers who are building software for the next century, will have to live with and consume software built using these practices.
UPDATE: Multiple files
I am writing new code now that is slowly replacing old code. In particular I've noted that one of the old classes was a ~3000 line file (as mentioned earlier). Now it is becoming a set of 15-20 files located across various directories, including test files and not including PHP framework I am using to bind some things together. More files are coming as well. When it comes to disk I/O, loading multiple files is slower than loading one large file. Of course not all files are loaded, they are loaded as needed, and disk caching and memory caching options exist, and yet still I believe that
loading multiple files takes more processing than
loading a single file into memory. I am adding that to my concern.