Son, as my oldest child, there are responsibilities you alone will need to face. There may come a time in your life when you need to repeatedly parse a large, unchanging text file to initialize a complex data structure. It’s not the worst position to be in, but you might find yourself worrying about efficiency, about validation, and how long you can go on spinning the roulette wheel of life day in and day out with three kids and a sick wife at home.
It’s the kind of situation that can make a man cut corners. I can’t say you’ll be among them one day, but God knows stronger men have taken that path. You could wake up one morning, you’re life half over, and find yourself hacking together a script to format your text file as a C++ header, trying to compile it as a static const.
Next thing you know, g++ is giving you an internal compiler error and you’re allocating swap files, gritting your teeth as your world crumbles around you and your operating system slows to a crawl. And when you emerge from that hell – if you emerge at all – what will you have? An executable twice as big as the goddamn file you were parsing in the first place and not one noticeable performance increase to your name.
I hope that if you find yourself in that situation you don’t make the same mistakes I did. Compute a checksum, compress it and append it to the executable; hell if I know. There’s some things a man needs to figure out for himself.