Why do std::string operations perform poorly?

It’s not that std::string performs poorly (as much as I dislike C++), it’s that string handling is so heavily optimized for those other languages.

Your comparisons of string performance are misleading, and presumptuous if they are intended to represent more than just that.

I know for a fact that Python string objects are completely implemented in C, and indeed on Python 2.7, numerous optimizations exist due to the lack of separation between unicode strings and bytes. If you ran this test on Python 3.x you will find it considerably slower.

Javascript has numerous heavily optimized implementations. It’s to be expected that string handling is excellent here.

Your Java result may be due to improper string handling, or some other poor case. I expect that a Java expert could step in and fix this test with a few changes.

As for your C++ example, I’d expect performance to slightly exceed the Python version. It does the same operations, with less interpreter overhead. This is reflected in your results. Preceding the test with s.reserve(limit); would remove reallocation overhead.

I’ll repeat that you’re only testing a single facet of the languages’ implementations. The results for this test do not reflect the overall language speed.

I’ve provided a C version to show how silly such pissing contests can be:

#define _GNU_SOURCE
#include <string.h>
#include <stdio.h>

void test()
    int limit = 102 * 1024;
    char s[limit];
    size_t size = 0;
    while (size < limit) {
        s[size++] = 'X';
        if (memmem(s, size, "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ", 26)) {
            fprintf(stderr, "zomg\n");
    printf("x's length = %zu\n", size);

int main()
    return 0;


matt@stanley:~/Desktop$ time ./smash 
x's length = 104448

real    0m0.681s
user    0m0.680s
sys     0m0.000s

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