Today I replaced the internals of VTK's weak pointer implementation. The weak pointers added an observer to their object so they could catch the DeleteEvent signal that every VTK object emits when it destructs. This made weak pointers very resource-intensive, and it also meant that a weak pointer could be left with an invalid pointer if someone called RemoveAllObservers() on the object. My new implementation adds an optional list of weak pointers to vtkObjectBase. This is very lightweight, and it means that observers and weak pointers will no longer get in each other's way.
Since this new implementation works with vtkObjectBase instead of vtkObject, it will also allow me to do a useful thing with the VTK Python wrappers. It used to be that when a python reference to VTK object went out of scope, the pythonic part of the VTK object would be destroyed, even if C++ references to the object still existed. So if the VTK object was later returned to Python, the pythonic part would have to be recreated and important parts of it like its python "dict" would be lost. With weak pointers, I can make an engram of the python object before it destructs, and then resurrect it when the VTK object returns to Python, or I can mark the engram for deletion when the VTK object destructs.