I have an iterative algorithm and I want to print the progress. However, I may also want it not to print any information, or to print it in a different way, or do other logic. In an object oriented language, I would perform the following solutions:
Solution 1: virtual method
have the algorithm class MyAlgoClass which implements the algo. The class also implements a virtual reportIteration(iterInfo) method which is empty and can be reimplemented. Subclass the MyAlgoClass and override reportIteration so that it does what it needs to do. This solution allows you to carry additional information (for example, the file unit) in the reimplemented class.
I don't like this method because it clumps together two functionalities that may be unrelated, but in GUI apps it may be ok.
Solution 2: observer pattern
the algorithm class has a register(Observer) method, keeps a list of the registered observers and takes care of calling notify() on each of them. Observer::notify() needs a way to get the information from the Subject, so it either has two parameters, one with the Subject and the other with the data the Subject may pass, or just the Subject and the Observer is now in charge of querying it to fetch the relevant information.
Solution 3: callbacks
I tend to see the callback method as a lightweight observer. Instead of passing an object, you pass a callback, which may be a plain function, but also an instance method in those languages that allow it (for example, in python you can because passing an instance method will remain bound to the instance). C++ however does not allow it, because if you pass a pointer to an instance method,
this will not be defined. Please correct me on this regard, my C++ is quite old.
The problem with callbacks is that generally you have to pass them together with the data you want the callback to be invoked with. Callbacks don't store state, so you have to pass both the callback and the state to the
Subject in order to find it at callback execution, together with any additional data the
Subject may provide about the event is reporting.
My question is relative to the fact that I need to implement the opening problem in a language that is not object oriented, namely Fortran 95, and I am fighting with my usual reasoning which is based on python assumptions and style. I think that in Fortran the concept is similar to C, with the additional trouble that in C you can store a function pointer, while in Fortran 95 you can only pass it around.
Do you have any comments, suggestions, tips, and quirks on this regard (in C, C++, Fortran and python, but also in any other language, so to have a comparison of language features that can be exploited on this regard) on how to design for an algorithm that must report progress to some external entity, using state from both the algorithm and the external entity ?