It’s just data

Continuations, slightly updated

Frankly, I’m surprised how much interest Continuations for Curmudgeons generated.  I guess that there was a demand for an explanation from the perspective of a C programmer, eh?

Based on two bugs reported in one section, I’ve updated it to reflect that what is being described there is actually a closure, not a continuation.  I’ve also added a section showing how classes are simply a special case of closures.


Your description is a little more down-to-earth than most I’ve seen. I can understand popping references off the stack when a function returns. Most other explanations of continuations are just a bit more abstract and harder to connect with something I already get.

I still don’t grok them, but I think I understand them a little more now.

Posted by Dougal Campbell at

I’ve been doing a lot of non-blocking I/O development these days, and I think, but I’m not sure, that this is the solution to a problem I’ve been trying to solve. 

Using typical stack based programming it is required to “rebuild the stack” every time you process more data on a connection from the OS. 

This is typically done with state machines.  These machines can quickly get out of control, and I suspect my current project has hundreds of states when all the sub-machines are added up. 

If this can be generalized for non-blocking I/O it might radically change the way web apps are developed.

Posted by christopher baus at

Continuations explained

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