Boosting C++ Performance with Folly

The Folly library, developed by Facebook, is a collection of reusable C++ library components designed to complement the C++ standard library and boost the performance of C++ applications. Folly focuses on efficiency, providing highly optimized components that are particularly useful in performance-critical applications. Here are some key aspects of performance in the Folly library:

1. Efficient Data Structures

Folly provides several data structures optimized for performance:

  • folly::small_vector: An optimized vector-like container that includes a small buffer for inline storage. This reduces heap allocations for small sizes, improving cache locality and performance.
  #include <folly/small_vector.h>

  void example() {
      folly::small_vector<int, 5> vec;
      for (int i = 0; i < 10; ++i) {
  • folly::F14 Hash Tables: Highly efficient hash table implementations (F14ValueMap, F14NodeMap, F14VectorMap, and their set equivalents). These hash tables offer superior performance in terms of insertion, lookup, and memory usage compared to traditional hash tables.
  #include <folly/container/F14Map.h>

  void example() {
      folly::F14FastMap<int, std::string> map;
      map[1] = "one";
      map[2] = "two";
  • folly::AtomicHashMap: A highly concurrent hash map designed for scenarios requiring fast, lock-free operations.
  #include <folly/AtomicHashMap.h>

  void example() {
      folly::AtomicHashMap<int, std::string> map(100);
      map.insert(1, "one");
      map.insert(2, "two");

2. Concurrency and Parallelism

Folly offers advanced concurrency primitives and utilities that enhance performance in multithreaded environments:

  • folly::Future and folly::Promise: These provide a way to handle asynchronous computations and callbacks, enabling efficient and scalable concurrency.
  #include <folly/futures/Future.h>
  #include <iostream>

  void example() {
      folly::Promise<int> promise;
      auto future = promise.getFuture();

      future.thenValue([](int value) {
          std::cout << "Received: " << value << std::endl;

  • folly::CPUThreadPoolExecutor: A thread pool implementation optimized for CPU-bound tasks, offering configurable concurrency levels and efficient task scheduling.
  #include <folly/executors/CPUThreadPoolExecutor.h>
  #include <folly/futures/Future.h>
  #include <iostream>

  void example() {
      folly::CPUThreadPoolExecutor executor(4); // 4 threads
      auto future = folly::makeFuture()
                      .thenValue([](auto) {
                          std::cout << "Task executed in thread pool." << std::endl;
                          return 42;

3. Memory Management

Folly includes utilities and allocators that optimize memory management, reducing fragmentation and improving allocation/deallocation performance:

  • folly::Arena: An efficient memory allocator designed for scenarios where many small allocations and deallocations occur, minimizing overhead and improving cache locality.
  #include <folly/memory/Arena.h>

  void example() {
      folly::SysArena arena;
      int* p = static_cast<int*>(arena.allocate(sizeof(int)));
      *p = 42;

4. String Manipulation

Folly offers several optimized string utilities that outperform their standard library counterparts:

  • folly::fbstring: A highly optimized string implementation designed to outperform std::string in many scenarios, particularly in terms of small string optimization and reduced memory overhead.
  #include <folly/FBString.h>

  void example() {
      folly::fbstring str = "Hello, Folly!";
      std::cout << str << std::endl;

5. Serialization and Deserialization

Folly provides efficient serialization and deserialization utilities:

  • folly::io::Cursor and folly::io::QueueAppender: These classes provide efficient mechanisms for reading from and writing to byte streams, which is critical for high-performance network applications.
  #include <folly/io/IOBuf.h>
  #include <folly/io/Cursor.h>

  void example() {
      auto buf = folly::IOBuf::create(100);
      folly::io::QueueAppender appender(buf.get(), 0);

      folly::io::Cursor cursor(buf.get());
      uint32_t value = cursor.readBE<uint32_t>();
      std::cout << value << std::endl;

6. Benchmarking and Testing

Folly includes utilities for benchmarking and testing, helping developers measure and optimize performance effectively:

  • folly::Benchmark: A lightweight benchmarking framework to measure the performance of code snippets.
  #include <folly/Benchmark.h>

  void example() {

By leveraging these components and utilities from the Folly library, C++ developers can write high-performance, scalable, and maintainable applications. The combination of optimized data structures, efficient memory management, advanced concurrency primitives, and powerful string manipulation tools makes Folly an invaluable asset for performance-critical software development.