Establishing Timing Dependencies

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[Context: HL KitBasic Concepts and TerminologyDebugging Mechanisms]


Timing issues are a major nuisance when you are developing your data files. They are often hard to spot when you first introduce them, which means that you can't always assume that the problem arose with the last few changes that you made. Timing issues typically entail a tedious diagnostic process that takes the fun out of creating new data files. Most importantly, though, timing issues can quickly degenerate into a game of "Whack-A-Mole".

All of the different tasks within your data files are like a big chain of dominoes. They all need to be evaluated in the correct sequence to ensure that you reach the final goal of having an accurate character. However, if you move one domino, then that has ripple effects on the dominoes that were before and after it. Consequently, if you change the timing of one task to resolve a timing issue, you could find yourself simply creating a different timing issue between other tasks that have inter-dependencies with the task you moved. Squish one timing bug and up pops another.

Managing a large number of tasks and keeping all the timing dependencies clearly understood and enforced can quickly become a nightmare for an aspiring data file author. So the Kit provides a convenient mechanism that allows you to instantly detect when a timing issue has been introduced. It's called "timing dependencies" and allows you to setup dependencies between different tasks that the compiler will verify for you automatically. This mechanism is the focus of the topics below.

Naming Tasks

Establishing "before" and "after" Dependencies

Using the Timing Report