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critcl(n) 3.1.18 doc "C Runtime In Tcl (CriTcl)"

Name

critcl - Critcl - Package Reference

Table Of Contents

Synopsis

  • package require Tcl 8.4
  • package require critcl ?3.1.18?
  • package require platform ?1.0.2?
  • package require md5 ?2?

Description

C Runtime In Tcl, or CriTcl , is a system for compiling C code embedded in Tcl on the fly and either loading the resulting objects into Tcl for immediate use or packaging them for distribution. Use CriTcl to improve performance by rewriting in C those routines that are performance bottlenecks.

The critcl package is the core of the system. For an overview of the complete system, see Introduction To CriTcl. For the usage of the standalone critcl program, see CriTcl Application. This core package maybe be used to embed C code into Tcl scripts. It also provides access to the internals that other parts of the core use and which are of interest to those wishing to understand the internal workings of the core and of the API it provides to the CriTcl Application. These advanced sections are marked as such so that those simply wishing to use the package can skip them.

This package resides in the Core Package Layer of CriTcl.

arch_core

API

A short note ahead of the documentation: Instead of repeatedly talking about "a Tcl script with embbedded C code", or "a Tcl script containing Critcl commands", we call such a script a Critcl script. A file containing a Critcl script usually has the extension .tcl or .critcl.

Embedded C Code

The following commands append C code fragments to the current module. Fragments appear in the module in the order they are appended, so the earlier fragments (variables, functions, macros, etc.) are visible to later fragments.

::critcl::ccode fragment

Appends the C code in fragment to the current module and returns the empty string. See Runtime Behaviour.

::critcl::ccommand tclname cname

As documented below, except that cname is the name of a C function that already exists.

::critcl::ccommand tclname arguments body ?option value...?

Appends the code to create a Tcl command named tclname and a corresponding C function whose body is body and which behaves as documented for Tcl's own Tcl_CreateObjCommand.

aguments is a list of zero to four names for the standard arguments clientdata, interp, objc, and objv. The standard default names are used in place of any missing names. This is a more low-level way than critcl::cproc to define a command, as processing of the items in objv is left to the author, affording complete control over the handling of the arguments to the command. See section Runtime Behaviour.

Returns the empty string.

Each option may be one of:

-clientdata c-expression

Provides the client data for the new command. NULL by default.

-delproc c-expression

Provides a function pointer of type Tcl_CmdDeleteProc as the deletion function for the new command. NULL by default.

-cname boolean

If false (the default), a name for the corresponding C function is automatically derived from the fully-qualified tclname. Otherwise, name of the C function is the last component of tclname.

::critcl::cdata tclname data

Appends the code to create a new Tcl command named tclname which returns data as a ByteArray result.

Returns the empty string.

::critcl::cconst tclname resulttype value

Appends the code to create a new Tcl command named tclname which returns the constant value having the Tcl type resulttype. value can be a C macro or a function call (including the parentheses) to any visible C function that does not take arguments. Unlike critcl::cdata, resulttype can be any type known to critcl::cproc. Its semantics are equivalent to:

    cproc $tclname {} $resulttype "return $value ;"

This is more efficient than critcl::cproc since there is no C function generated.

Returns the empty string.

::critcl::cdefines list of glob patterns ?namespace?

Arranges for C enum and #define values that match one of the patterns in glob patterns to be created in the namespace namespace, each variable having the same as the corresponding C item. The default namespace is the global namespace. A pattern that matches nothing is ignored.

The Tcl variables are created when the module is compiled, using the preprocessor in order to properly find all matching C definitions.

Produces no C code. The desired C definitions must already exist.

::critcl::cproc name arguments resulttype body ?option value...?

Appends a function having body as its body, another shim function to perform the needed conversions, and the code to create a corresponding Tcl command named tclname. Unlike critcl::ccommand the arguments and result are typed, and Critcl generates the code to convert between Tcl_Obj values and C data types. See also Runtime Behaviour.

Returns the empty string.

string option

Each may be one of:

-cname boolean

If false (the default), a name for the corresponding C function is automatically derived from the fully-qualified tclname. Otherwise, name of the C function is the last component of tclname.

-pass-cdata boolean

If false (the default), the shim function performing the conversion to and from Tcl level does not pass the ClientData as the first argument to the function.

-arg-offset int

A non-negative integer, 0 by default, indicating the number of hidden arguments preceding the actual procedure arguments. Used by higher-order code generators where there are prefix arguments which are not directly seen by the function but which influence argument counting and extraction.

string resulttype

May be one of the following predefined types or a custom type. For the latter see section Advanced: Extending cproc. Unless otherwise noted, the Tcl return code is always TCL_OK. Before going into the details first a quick overview:

Critcl type   | C type         | Tcl type  | Notes
------------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
void          | n/a            | n/a       | Always OK. Body sets result
ok            | int            | n/a       | Result code. Body sets result
------------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
int           | int            | Int       |
boolean       |                |           | Alias of int above
bool          |                |           | Alias of int above
long          | long           | Long      |
wideint       | Tcl_WideInt    | WideInt   |
double        | double         | Double    |
float         | float          | Double    |
------------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
char*         | char*          | String    | Makes a copy
vstring       |                |           | Alias of char* above
const char*   | const char*    |           | Behavior of char* above
------------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
string        |                | String    | Freeable string set directly
              |                |           | No copy is made
dstring       |                |           | Alias of string above
------------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
              |                |           | For all below: Null is ERROR
              |                |           | Body has to set any message
Tcl_Obj*      | Tcl_Obj*       | Any       | refcount --
object        |                |           | Alias of Tcl_Obj* above
Tcl_Obj*0     |                | Any       | refcount unchanged
object0       |                |           | Alias of Tcl_Obj*0 above
------------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
known-channel | Tcl_Channel    | String    | Assumes to already be registered
new-channel   | Tcl_Channel    | String    | New channel, will be registered

And now the details:

Tcl_Obj*
object

If the returned Tcl_Obj* is NULL, the Tcl return code is TCL_ERROR and the function should set an error mesage as the interpreter result. Otherwise, the returned Tcl_Obj* is set as the interpreter result.

Note that setting an error message requires the function body to have access to the interpreter the function is running in. See the argument type Tcl_Interp* for the details on how to make that happen.

Note further that the returned Tcl_Obj* should have a reference count greater than 0. This is because the converter decrements the reference count to release possession after setting the interpreter result. It assumes that the function incremented the reference count of the returned Tcl_Obj*. If a Tcl_Obj* with a reference count of 0 were returned, the reference count would become 1 when set as the interpreter result, and immediately thereafter be decremented to 0 again, causing the memory to be freed. The system is then likely to crash at some point after the return due to reuse of the freed memory.

Tcl_Obj*0
object0

Like Tcl_Obj* except that this conversion assumes that the returned value has a reference count of 0 and does not decrement it. Returning a value whose reference count is greater than 0 is therefore likely to cause a memory leak.

Note that setting an error message requires the function body to have access to the interpreter the function is running in. See the argument type Tcl_Interp* for the details on how to make that happen.

new-channel

A String Tcl_Obj holding the name of the returned Tcl_Channel is set as the interpreter result. The channel is further assumed to be new, and therefore registered with the interpreter to make it known.

known-channel

A String Tcl_Obj holding the name of the returned Tcl_Channel is set as the interpreter result. The channel is further assumed to be already registered with the interpreter.

return-channel

This type is a variant of new-channel above. It varies slightly from it in the registration sequence to be properly complementary to the argument type take-channel. A String Tcl_Obj holding the name of the returned Tcl_Channel is set as the interpreter result. The channel is further assumed to be new, and therefore registered with the interpreter to make it known.

char*
vstring

A String Tcl_Obj holding a copy of the returned char* is set as the interpreter result. If the value is allocated then the function itself and the extension it is a part of are responsible for releasing the memory when the data is not in use any longer.

const char*

Like char* above, except that the returned string is const-qualified.

string
dstring

The returned char* is directly set as the interpreter result without making a copy. Therefore it must be dynamically allocated via Tcl_Alloc. Release happens automatically when the Interpreter finds that the value is not required any longer.

double
float

The returned double or float is converted to a Double Tcl_Obj and set as the interpreter result.

boolean
bool

The returned int value is converted to an Int Tcl_Obj and set as the interpreter result.

int

The returned int value is converted to an Int Tcl_Obj and set as the interpreter result.

long

The returned long int value is converted to a Long Tcl_Obj and set as the interpreter result.

wideint

The returned Tcl_WideInt value is converted to a WideInt Tcl_Obj and set as the interpreter result.

ok

The returned int value becomes the Tcl return code. The interpreter result is left untouched and can be set by the function if desired. Note that doing this requires the function body to have access to the interpreter the function is running in. See the argument type Tcl_Interp* for the details on how to make that happen.

void

The function does not return a value. The interpreter result is left untouched and can be set by the function if desired.

list arguments

Is a multi-dictionary where each key is an argument type and its value is the argument name. For example:

 int x int y 

Each argument name must be a valid C identifier.

If the name is a list containing two items, the first item is the name and the second item is the default value. A limited form of variadic arguments can be accomplished using such default values. For example:

 int {x 1} 

Here x is an optional argument of type int with a default value of 1.

Argument conversion is completely bypassed when the argument is not provided, so a custom converter doing validation does not get the chance to validate the default value. In this case, the value should be checked in the body of the function.

Each argument type may be one of the following predefined types or a custom type. For the latter see Advanced: Extending cproc. Before going into the details first a quick overview:

Critcl type | C type         | Tcl type  | Notes
----------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
Tcl_Interp* | Tcl_Interp*    | n/a       | Special, only first
----------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
Tcl_Obj*    | Tcl_Obj*       | Any       | Read-only
object      |                |           | Alias of Tcl_Obj* above
list        | critcl_list    | List      | Read-only
----------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
char*       | const char*    | Any       | Read-only, string rep
pstring     | critcl_pstring | Any       | Read-only
bytes       | critcl_bytes   | ByteArray | Read-only
----------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
int         | int            | Int       |
long        | long           | Long      |
wideint     | Tcl_WideInt    | WideInt   |
double      | double         | Double    |
float       | float          | Double    |
----------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
X > 0       |                |           | For X in int ... float above.
X >= 0      |                |           | C types as per the base type X.
X < 0       |                |           | Allowed argument values are
X <= 0      |                |           | restricted as per the shown
X > 1       |                |           | relation
X >= 1      |                |           |
X < 1       |                |           | This is not a general mechanism
X <= 1      |                |           | open to other values. Only 0/1.
----------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
boolean     | int            | Boolean   |
bool        |                |           | Alias of boolean above
----------- | -------------- | --------- | ------------------------------
bytearray   |                |           | DEPRECATED
rawchar     |                |           | DEPRECATED
rawchar*    |                |           | DEPRECATED
double*     |                |           | DEPRECATED
float*      |                |           | DEPRECATED
int*        |                |           | DEPRECATED
void*       |                |           | DEPRECATED

And now the details:

Tcl_Interp*

Attention: This is a special argument type. It can only be used by the first argument of a function. Any other argument using it will cause critcl to throw an error.

When used, the argument will contain a reference to the current interpreter that the function body may use. Furthermore the argument will not be an argument of the Tcl command for the function.

This is useful when the function has to do more than simply returning a value. Examples would be setting up error messages on failure, or querying the interpreter for variables and other data.

Tcl_Obj*
object

The function takes an argument of type Tcl_Obj*. No argument checking is done. The Tcl level word is passed to the argument as-is. Note that this value must be treated as read-only (except for hidden changes to its intrep, i.e. shimmering).

pstring

The function takes an argument of type critcl_pstring containing the original Tcl_Obj* reference of the Tcl argument, plus the length of the string and a pointer to the character array.

typedef struct critcl_pstring {
    Tcl_Obj*    o;
    const char* s;
    int         len;
} critcl_pstring;

Note the const. The string is read-only. Any modification can have arbitrary effects, from pulling out the rug under the script because of string value and internal representation not matching anymore, up to crashes anytime later.

list

The function takes an argument of type critcl_list containing the original Tcl_Obj* reference of the Tcl argument, plus the length of the Tcl list and a pointer to the array of the list elements.

typedef struct critcl_list {
    Tcl_Obj*        o;
    Tcl_Obj* const* v;
    int             c;
} critcl_list;

The Tcl argument must be convertible to List, an error is thrown otherwise.

Note the const. The list is read-only. Any modification can have arbitrary effects, from pulling out the rug under the script because of string value and internal representation not matching anymore, up to crashes anytime later.

bytearray
rawchar*
rawchar

The function takes an argument of type char*. The Tcl argument must be convertible to ByteArray, an error is thrown otherwise. Note that the length of the ByteArray is not passed to the function, making this type not very usable.

Attention: These types are considered DEPRECATED. It is planned to remove their documentation in release 3.2, and their implementation in release 3.3. Their deprecation can be undone if good use cases are shown.

bytes

This is the new and usable ByteArray type.

The function takes an argument of type critcl_bytes containing the original Tcl_Obj* reference of the Tcl argument, plus the length of the byte array and a pointer to the byte data.

typedef struct critcl_bytes {
    Tcl_Obj*             o;
    const unsigned char* s;
    int                len;
} critcl_list;

The Tcl argument must be convertible to ByteArray, an error is thrown otherwise.

Note the const. The bytes are read-only. Any modification can have arbitrary effects, from pulling out the rug under the script because of string value and internal representation not matching anymore, up to crashes anytime later.

char*

The function takes an argument of type const char*. The string representation of the Tcl argument is passed in.

Note the const. The string is read-only. Any modification can have arbitrary effects, from pulling out the rug under the script because of string value and internal representation not matching anymore, up to crashes anytime later.

double

The function takes an argument of type double. The Tcl argument must be convertible to Double, an error is thrown otherwise.

double > 0
double >= 0
double < 0
double <= 0
double > 1
double >= 1
double < 1
double <= 1

These are variants of double above, restricting the argument value to the shown relation. An error is thrown for Tcl arguments outside of the specified range. Note: This is not a general range specification syntax. Only the listed types exist.

float

The function takes an argument of type float. The Tcl argument must be convertible to Double, an error is thrown otherwise.

float > 0
float >= 0
float < 0
float <= 0
float > 1
float >= 1
float < 1
float <= 1

These are variants of float above, restricting the argument value to the shown relation. An error is thrown for Tcl arguments outside of the specified range. Note: This is not a general range specification syntax. Only the listed types exist.

boolean
bool

The function takes an argument of type int. The Tcl argument must be convertible to Boolean, an error is thrown otherwise.

channel

The function takes an argument of type Tcl_Channel. The Tcl argument must be convertible to type Channel, an error is thrown otherwise. The channel is further assumed to be already registered with the interpreter.

unshared-channel

This type is an extension of channel above. All of the information above applies.

Beyond that the channel must not be shared by multiple interpreters, an error is thrown otherwise.

take-channel

This type is an extension of unshared-channel above. All of the information above applies.

Beyond that the code removes the channel from the current interpreter without closing it, and disables all pre-existing event handling for it.

With this the function takes full ownership of the channel in question, taking it away from the interpreter invoking it. It is then responsible for the lifecycle of the channel, up to and including closing it.

Should the system the function is a part of wish to return control of the channel back to the interpeter it then has to use the result type return-channel. This will undo the registration changes made by this argument type. Note however that the removal of pre-existing event handling done here cannot be undone.

Attention Removal from the interpreter without closing the channel is effected by incrementing the channel's reference count without providing an interpreter, before decrementing the same for the current interpreter. This leaves the overall reference count intact without causing Tcl to close it when it is removed from the interpreter structures. At this point the channel is effectively a globally-owned part of the system not associated with any interpreter.

The complementary result type then runs this sequence in reverse. And if the channel is never returned to Tcl either the function or the system it is a part of have to unregister the global reference when they are done with it.

int

The function takes an argument of type int. The Tcl argument must be convertible to Int, an error is thrown otherwise.

int > 0
int >= 0
int < 0
int <= 0
int > 1
int >= 1
int < 1
int <= 1

These are variants of int above, restricting the argument value to the shown relation. An error is thrown for Tcl arguments outside of the specified range. Note: This is not a general range specification syntax. Only the listed types exist.

long

The function takes an argument of type long int. The Tcl argument must be convertible to Long, an error is thrown otherwise.

long > 0
long >= 0
long < 0
long <= 0
long > 1
long >= 1
long < 1
long <= 1

These are variants of long above, restricting the argument value to the shown relation. An error is thrown for Tcl arguments outside of the specified range. Note: This is not a general range specification syntax. Only the listed types exist.

wideint

The function takes an argument of type Tcl_WideInt. The Tcl argument must be convertible to WideInt, an error is thrown otherwise.

wideint > 0
wideint >= 0
wideint < 0
wideint <= 0
wideint > 1
wideint >= 1
wideint < 1
wideint <= 1

These are variants of wideint above, restricting the argument value to the shown relation. An error is thrown for Tcl arguments outside of the specified range. Note: This is not a general range specification syntax. Only the listed types exist.

void*
double*
float*
int*

The function takes an argument of the same-named C type. The Tcl argument must be convertible to ByteArray, an error is thrown otherwise. The bytes in the ByteArray are then re-interpreted as the raw representation of a single C pointer of the given type which is then passed as argument to the function. In other words, this is for Tcl values somehow holding raw C pointers, i.e. memory addresses.

Attention: These types are considered DEPRECATED. It is planned to remove their documentation in release 3.2, and their implementation in release 3.3. Their deprecation can be undone if good use cases are shown.

::critcl::cproc name arguments resulttype

As documented below, but used when the C function named name already exists.

::critcl::cinit text externals

Appends the C code in text and externals, but only after all the other fragments appended by the previously-listed commands regardless of their placement in the Critcl script relative to this command. Thus, all their content is visible. See also Runtime Behaviour.

The C code in text is placed into the body of the initialization function of the shared library backing the Critcl script, and is executed when this library is loaded into the interpreter. It has access to the variable Tcl_Interp* interp referencing the Tcl interpreter currently being initialized.

externals is placed outside and just before the initialization function, making it a good place for any external symbols required by initialization function, but which should not be accessible by any other parts of the C code.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

Returns the empty string.

::critcl::include path

This command is a convenient shorthand for

critcl::code {
  #include <${path}>
}

Stubs Table Management

Critcl versions 3 and later provide critcl::api to create and manipulate stubs tables, Tcl's dynamic linking mechanism handling the resolution of symbols between C extensions. See http://wiki.tcl-lang.org/285 for an introduction, and section Stubs Tables for the details of Critcl's particular variant.

Importing stubs tables, i.e. APIs, from another extension:

::critcl::api import name version

Adds the following include directives into the Critcl script and each of its companion ".c" files:

  1. #include <name/nameDecls.h>

  2. #include <name/nameStubLib.h>

Returns an error if "name" isn't in the search path for the compiler. See critcl::cheaders and the critcl application's -I and -includedir options.

Important: If name is a fully-qualified name in a non-global namespace, e.g. "c::stack", the namespace separators "::" are converted into underscores ("_") in path names, C code, etc.

name/nameDecls.h contains the stubs table type declarations, mapping macros, etc., and may include package-specific headers. See critcl::api header, below. An #include directive is added at the beginning of the generated code for Critcl script and at the beginning of each of its companion ".c" files.

name/nameStubLib.h contains the stubs table variable definition and the function to initialize it. An #include directive for it is added to the initialization code for the Critcl script , along with a call to the initializer function.

If "name/name.decls" accompanies name/nameDecls.h, it should contain the external representation of the stubs table used to generate the headers. The file is read and the internal representation of the stubs table returned for use by the importing package. Otherwise, the empy string is returned.

One possible use would be the automatic generation of C code calling on the functions listed in the imported API.

When generating a TEA package the names of the imported APIs are used to declare configure options with which the user can declare a non-standard directory for the headers of the API. Any API name is translated into a single configure option --with-name-include.

Declaration and export of a stubs table, i.e. API, for the Critcl script:

::critcl::api function resulttype name arguments

Adds to the public API of the Critcl script the signature for the function named name and having the signature specified by arguments and resulttype. Code is generated for a ".decls" file, the corresponding public headers, and a stubs table usable by critcl::api import.

arguments is a multidict where each key is an argument type and its value is the argument name, and resulttype is a C type.

::critcl::api header ?glob pattern...?

Each file matching a glob pattern is copied into the directory containing the generated headers, and an #include directive for it is added to "Decls.h" for the Critcl script. Returns an error if a glob pattern matches nothing.

A pattern for a relative path is resolved relative to the directory containing the Critcl script.

::critcl::api extheader ?file...?

Like ::critcl::api header, but each file should exist in the external development environment. An #include directive is added to "fooDecls.h", but file is not copied to the package header directory. file is not a glob pattern as Critcl has no context, i.e directory, in which to expand such patterns.

As with the headers for an imported API, an #include directive is added to the generated code for the Critcl script and to each companion ".c" file.

In "compile & run" mode the generated header files and any companion headers are placed in the Result Cache subdirectory for the Critcl script. This directory is added to the include search path of any other package importing this API and and building in mode "compile & run".

In "generate package" mode -includedir specifies the subdirectory in the package to place the generated headers in. This directory is added to the search paths for header files, ensuring that a package importing an API finds it if the package exporting that API used the same setting for -includedir.

In "generate TEA" mode the static scanner recognizes critcl::api header as a source of companion files. It also uses data from calls to critcl::api import to add support for --with-foo-include options into the generated "configure(.in)" so that a user may specify custom locations for the headers of any imported API.

Package Meta Data

Critcl versions 3 and later can create TEApot meta-data to be placed into "teapot.txt" in a format suitable for use by the TEApot tools.

In version 2, some meta data support was already present through ::critcl::license, but this was only used to generate "license.txt".

::critcl::license author ?text...?

Ignored in "compile & run" mode.

In "generate package" mode provides information about the author of the package and the license for the package.

text arguments are concatenated to form the text of the license, which is written to "license.terms" in the same directory as "pkgIndex.tcl". If no text is provided the license is read from "license.terms" in the same directory as the Critcl script.

This information takes precedence over any information specified through the generic API ::critcl::meta. It is additionally placed into the meta data file "teapot.txt" under the keys as::author and license.

::critcl::summary text

Ignored in "compile & run" mode.

In "generate package" mode places a short, preferably one-line description of the package into the meta data file "teapot.txt" under the key summary. This information takes precedence over information specified through the generic API ::critcl::meta.

::critcl::description text

Ignored in "compile & run" mode.

In "generate package" mode places a longer description of the package into the meta data file "teapot.txt", under the key description. The data specified by this command takes precedence over any information specified through the generic API ::critcl::meta.

::critcl::subject ?key...?

Ignored in "compile & run" mode.

In "generate package" mode places each key into the meta data file "teapot.txt", under the key subject. This information takes precedence over any information specified through the generic API ::critcl::meta.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::meta key ?word...?

Provides arbitrary meta data outside of the following reserved keys: as::author, as::build::date, description, license, name, platform, require subject, summary, and version, Its behaviour is like ::critcl::subject in that it treats all keys as list of words, with each call providing one or more words for the key, and multiple calls extending the data for an existing key, if not reserved.

While it is possible to declare information for one of the reserved keys with this command such data is ignored when the final meta data is assembled and written.

Use the commands ::critcl::license, ::critcl::summary, ::critcl::description ::critcl::subject, package require, and package provide to declare data for the reserved keys.

The information for the reserved keys as::build::date and platform is automatically generated by critcl itself.

::critcl::meta? key

Returns the value in the metadata associated with key.

Used primarily to retrieve the name of the package from within utility packages having to adapt C code templates to their environment. For example, critcl::class uses does this.

::critcl::buildrequirement script

Provides control over the capturing of dependencies declared via package require. script is evaluated and any dependencies declared within are ignored, i.e. not recorded in the meta data.

Control & Interface

These commands control the details of compilation and linking a Critcl script. The information is used only to compile/link the object for the Critcl script. For example, information for "FOO.tcl" is kept separate from information for "BAR.tcl".

::critcl::cheaders ?arg...?

Provides additional header locations.

Each argument is a glob pattern. If an argument begins with - it is an argument to the compiler. Otherwise the parent directory of each matching path is a directory to be searched for header files. Returns an error if a pattern matches no files. A pattern for a relative path is resolved relative to the directory containing the Critcl script.

#include lines are not automatically generated for matching header files. Use critcl::include or critcl::ccode as necessary to add them.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::csources ?glob pattern...?

Matching paths become inputs to the compilation of the current object along with the sources for the current Critcl script. Returns an error if no paths match a pattern. A pattern for a relative path is resolved relative to the directory containing the Critcl script.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::clibraries ?glob pattern...?

provides the link step with additional libraries and library locations. A glob pattern that begins with - is added as an argument to the linker. Otherwise matching files are linked into the shared library. Returns an error if no paths match a pattern. A pattern for a relative path is resolved relative to the directory containing the Critcl script.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::source glob pattern

Evaluates as scripts the files matching each glob pattern. Returns an error if there are no matching files. A pattern for a relative path is resolved relative to the directory containing the Critcl script.

::critcl::tsources glob pattern...

Provides the information about additional Tcl script files to source when the shared library is loaded.

Matching paths are made available to the generated shared library when it is loaded for the current Critcl script. Returns an error if a pattern matches no files. A pattern for a relative path is resolved relative to the directory containing the Critcl script.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

After the shared library has been loaded, the declared files are sourced in the same order that they were provided as arguments.

::critcl::owns glob pattern...

Ignored in "compile and run" and "generate package" modes. In "generate TEA" mode each file matching a glob pattern is a file to be included in the TEA extension but that could not be ascertained as such from previous commands like critcl::csources and critcl::tsources, either because of they were specified dynamically or because they were directly sourced.

::critcl::cflags ?arg...?

Each arg is an argument to the compiler.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::ldflags ?arg...?

Each arg is an argument to the linker.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::framework ?arg...?

Each arg is the name of a framework to link on MacOS X. This command is ignored if OS X is not the target so that frameworks can be specified unconditionally.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::tcl version

Specifies the minimum version of the Tcl runtime to compile and link the package for. The default is 8.4.

::critcl::tk

Arranges to include the Tk headers and link to the Tk stubs.

::critcl::preload lib...

Arranges for the external shared library lib to be loaded before the shared library for the Critcl script is loaded.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

Each library FOO is searched for in the directories listed below, in the order listed. The search stops at the first existing path. Additional notes:

  • platform is the placeholder for the target platform of the package.

  • The extension ".so" is the placeholder for whatever actual extension is used by the target platform for its shared libraries.

  • The search is relative to the current working directory.

And now the paths, depending on the exact form of the library name:

FOO
  1. FOO.so

  2. FOO/FOO.so

  3. FOO/platform/FOO.so

PATH/FOO

The exact set searched depends on the existence of directory "PATH/FOO". If it exists, critcl searches

  1. FOO.so

  2. PATH/FOO/FOO.so

  3. PATH/FOO/platform/FOO.so

Otherwise it searches

  1. FOO.so

  2. PATH/FOO.so

  3. PATH/platform/FOO.so

instead.

/PATH/FOO

Even when specifying FOO with an absolute path the first path searched is relative to the current working directory.

  1. FOO.so

  2. /PATH/FOO.so

  3. /PATH/platform/FOO.so

For developers who want to understand or modify the internals of the critcl package, Preloading functionality explains how preloading is implemented.

::critcl::debug area...

Specifies what debugging features to activate. Internally each area is translated into area-specific flags for the compiler which are then handed over to critcl::cflags.

memory

Specifies Tcl memory debugging.

symbols

Specifies compilation and linking with debugging symbols for use by a debugger or other tool.

all

Specifies all available debugging.

Introspection

The following commands control compilation and linking.

::critcl::check ?label? text

Returns a true if the C code in text compiles sucessfully, and false otherwise. Used to check for availability of features in the build environment. If provided, label is used to uniquely mark the results in the generated log.

::critcl::checklink ?label? text

Like critcl::check but also links the compiled objects, returning true if the link is successful and false otherwise. If specified, label is used to uniquely mark the results in the generated log.

::critcl::msg ?-nonewline? msg

Scripts using critcl::check and critcl::checklink can use this command to report results. Does nothing in compile & run mode. Tools like the CriTcl Aplication may redefine this command to implement their own message reporting. For example, critcl::app and any packages built on it print messages to stdout.

::critcl::print ?-nonewline? ?chan? msg

Used by the Critcl internals to report activity. By default, effectively the same thing as ::puts. Tools directly using either the Critcl package or the Critcl application package may redefine this procedure to implement their own output functionality.

For example, the newest revisions of Kettle use this to highlight build warnings.

::critcl::compiled

Returns true if the current Critcl script is already compiled and false otherwise.

Enables a Critcl script used as its own Tcl companion file (see critcl::tsources) to distinguish between being sourced for compilation in compile & run mode and being sourced from either the result of generate package mode or during the load phase of compile & run mode. The result is false in the first case and true in the later two cases.

::critcl::compiling

Returns true if a working C compiler is available and false otherwise.

::critcl::done

Returns true when Critcl script has been built and false otherwise. Only useful from within a Critcl script. Enables the Tcl parts of a Critcl script to distinguish between prebuilt package mode and compile & run mode.

See also Modes Of Operation/Use.

::critcl::failed

Returns true if the Critcl script could not be built, and false otherwise. Forces the building of the package if it hasn't already been done, but not its loading. Thus, a Critcl script can check itself for availability of the compiled components. Only useful from within a Critcl script.

::critcl::load

Like critcl::failed except that it also forces the loading of the generated shared library, and that it returns true on success and false on failure. Thus, a Critcl script can check itself for availability of the compiled components. Only useful from within a Critcl script.

Build Management

The following command manages global settings, i.e. configuration options which are independent of any Critcl script.

This command should not be needed to write a Critcl script. It is a management command which is only useful to the CriTcl Application or similar tools.

::critcl::config option ?val?

Sets and returns the following global configuration options:

force bool

When false (the default), the C files are not built if there is a cached shared library.

lines bool

When true (the default), #line directives are embedded into the generated C code.

This facility requires the use of a tclsh that provides info frame. Otherwise, no #line directives are emitted. The command is supported by Tcl 8.5 and higher. It is also supported by Tcl 8.4 provided that it was compiled with the define -DTCL_TIP280. An example of such is ActiveState's ActiveTcl.

Developers of higher-level packages generating their own C code, either directly or indirectly through critcl, should also read section Advanced: Location management to see how critcl helps them in generating their directives. Examples of such packages come with critcl itself. See critcl::iassoc and critcl::class.

trace bool

When false (the default), no code tracing the entry and exit of Critcl-backed commands in the Critcl script is inserted. Insertion of such code implicitly activates the tracing facility in general. See critcl::cutil.

I path

A single global include path to use for all files. Not set by default.

combine enum
dynamic (the default)

Object files have the suffix _pic.

static

Object files have the suffix _stub.

standalone

Object files have no suffix, and the generated C files are compiled without using Tcl/Tk stubs. The result are object files usable for static linking into a big shell.

language string
keepsrc bool

When false (the default), the generated ".c" files are deleted after the ".o" files have been built.

outdir directory

The directory where to place a generated shared library. By default, it is placed into the Result Cache.

Result Cache Management

The following commands control the Result Cache. These commands are not needed to simply write a Critcl script.

::critcl::cache ?path?

Sets and returns the path to the directory for the package's result cache.

The default location is "~/.critcl/[platform::generic]" and usually does not require any changes.

::critcl::clean_cache ?pattern...?

Cleans the result cache, i.e. removes any and all files and directories in it. If one or more patterns are specified then only the files and directories matching them are removed.

Build Configuration

The following commands manage the build configuration, i.e. the per-platform information about compilers, linkers, and their commandline options. These commands are not needed to simply write a Critcl script.

::critcl::readconfig path

Reads the build configuration file at path and configures the package using the information for the target platform.

::critcl::showconfig ?chan?

Converts the active build configuration into a human-readable string and returns it, or if chan is provided prints the result to that channel.

::critcl::showallconfig ?chan?

Converts the set of all known build configurations from the currently active build configuration file last set with critcl::readconfig into a string and returns it, or if chan is provided, prints it to that channel.

::critcl::chooseconfig target ?nomatcherr?

Matches target against all known targets, returning a list containing all the matching ones. This search is first done on an exact basis, and then via glob matching. If no known target matches the argument the default is to return an empty list. However, if the boolean nomatcherr is specified and set an error is thrown using critcl::error instead.

::critcl::setconfig target

Configures the package to use the settings of target.

Tool API

The following commands provide tools like CriTcl Application or similar with deeper access to the package's internals. These commands are not needed to simply write a Critcl script.

::critcl::actualtarget

Returns the platform identifier for the target platform, i.e. the platform to build for. Unlike ::critcl::targetplatform this is the true target, with any cross-compilation information resolved.

::critcl::buildforpackage ?flag?

Signals whether the next file is to be built for inclusion into a package. If not specified the flag defaults to true, i.e. building for a package. This disables a number of things in the backend, namely the linking of that file into a shared library and the loading of that library. It is expected that the build results are later wrapped into a larger collection.

::critcl::cnothingtodo file

Checks whether there is anything to build for file.

::critcl::cresults ?file?

Returns information about building file, or info script If file is not provided. The result in question is a dictionary containing the following items:

clibraries

A list of external shared libraries and/or directories needed to link file.

ldflags

A list of linker flags needed to link file.

license

The text of the license for the package file is located in.

mintcl

The minimum version of Tcl required by the package file is in to run successfully. A proper Tcl version number.

objects

A list of object files to link into file.

preload

A list of libraries to be preloaded in order to sucessfully load and use file.

tk

true if file requires Tk and false otherwise.

tsources

A list of companion ".tcl" files to source in order to load and use the Critcl script file.

log

The full build log generated by the compiler/linker, including command line data from critcl, and other things.

exl

The raw build log generated by the compiler/linker. Contains the output generated by the invoked applications.

::critcl::crosscheck

Determines whether the package is configured for cross-compilation and prints a message to the standard error channel if so.

::critcl::error msg

Used to report internal errors. The default implementation simply returns the error. Tools like the CriTcl Application are allowed to redefine this procedure to perform their own way of error reporting. There is one constraint they are not allowed to change: The procedure must not return to the caller.

::critcl::knowntargets

Returns a list of the identifiers of all targets found during the last invocation of critcl::readconfig.

::critcl::sharedlibext

Returns the file extension for shared libraries on the target platform.

::critcl::targetconfig

Returns the identifier of the target to build for, as specified by either the user or the system.

::critcl::buildplatform

Returns the identifier of the build platform, i.e. where the package is running on.

::critcl::targetplatform

Returns the identifier of the target platform, i.e. the platform to compile for. In contrast to ::critcl::actualtarget this may be the name of a cross-compilation target.

::critcl::cobjects ?glob pattern...?

Like ::critcl::clibraries, but instead of matching libraries, each glob pattern matches object files to be linked into the shared object (at compile time, not runtime). If a glob pattern matches nothing an error is returned. Not listed in Control & Interface because it is of no use to package writers. Only tools like the CriTcl Application need it.

A pattern for a relative path is resolved relative to the directory containing the Critcl script.

Calls to this command are cumulative.

::critcl::scan path

The main entry point to Critcl's static code scanner. Used by tools to implement processing modes like the assembly of a directory hierarchy containing a TEA-lookalike buildystem, etc.

Scans path and returns a dictionary containing the following items:

version

Package version.

org

Author(ing organization).

files

List of the companion files, relative to the directory of the input file.

::critcl::name2c name

Given the Tcl-level identifier name, returns a list containing the following details of its conversion to C:

  • Tcl namespace prefix

  • C namespace prefix

  • Tcl base name

  • C base name

For use by utilities that provide Tcl commands without going through standard commands like critcl::ccommand or critcl::cproc. critcl::class does this.

Advanced: Embedded C Code

For advanced use, the following commands used by critcl::cproc itself are exposed.

::critcl::argnames arguments

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list of the corresponding user-visible names.

::critcl::argcnames arguments

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list of the corresponding C variable names for the user-visible names. The names returned here match the names used in the declarations and code returned by ::critcl::argvardecls and ::critcl::argconversion.

::critcl::argcsignature arguments

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list of the corresponding C parameter declarations.

::critcl::argvardecls arguments

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list of the corresponding C variable declarations. The names used in these declarations match the names returned by ::critcl::argcnames.

::critcl::argconversion arguments ?n?

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list of C code fragments converting the user visible arguments found in the declaration from Tcl_Obj* to C types. The names used in these statements match the names returned by ::critcl::argcnames.

The generated code assumes that the procedure arguments start at index n of the objv array. The default is 1.

::critcl::argoptional arguments

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list of boolean values indicating which arguments are optional (true), and which are not (false).

::critcl::argdefaults arguments

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list containing the default values for all optional arguments.

::critcl::argsupport arguments

Given an argument declaration as documented for critcl::cproc, returns a list of C code fragments needed to define the necessary supporting types.

Custom Build Configuration

This package provides one command for the management of package-specific, i.e. developer-specified custom build configuration options.

::critcl::userconfig define name description type ?default?

This command defines custom build configuration option, with description, type and optional default value.

The type can be either bool, or a list of values.

  1. For bool the default value, if specified, must be a boolean. If it is not specified it defaults to true.

  2. For a list of values the default value, if specified, must be a value found in this list. If it is not specified it defaults to the first value of the list.

The description serves as in-code documentation of the meaning of the option and is otherwise ignored. When generating a TEA wrapper the description is used for the configure option derived from the option declared by the command.

A boolean option FOO are translated into a pair of configure options, --enable-FOO and --disable-FOO, whereas an option whose type is a list of values is translated into a single configure option --with-FOO.

::critcl::userconfig query name

This command queries the database of custom build configuration option for the current ".critcl" file and returns the chosen value. This may be the default if no value was set via ::critcl::userconfig set.

It is at this point that definitions and set values are brought together, with the latter validated against the definition.

::critcl::userconfig set name value

This command is for use by a tool, like the critcl application, to specify values for custom build configuration options.

At the time this command is used only the association between option name and value is recorded, and nothing else is done. This behaviour is necessary as the system may not know if an option of the specified name exists when the command is invoked, nor its type.

Any and all validation is defered to when the value of an option is asked for via ::critcl::userconfig query.

This means that it is possible to set values for any option we like, and the value will take effect only if such an option is both defined and used later on.

Advanced: Location management

First a small introduction for whose asking themselves 'what is location management' ?

By default critcl embeds #line directives into the generated C code so that any errors, warnings and notes found by the C compiler during compilation will refer to the ".critcl" file the faulty code comes from, instead of the generated ".c" file.

This facility requires the use of a tclsh that provides info frame. Otherwise, no #line directives are emitted. The command is supported by Tcl 8.5 and higher. It is also supported by Tcl 8.4 provided that it was compiled with the define -DTCL_TIP280. An example of such is ActiveState's ActiveTcl.

Most users will not care about this feature beyond simply wanting it to work and getting proper code references when reading compiler output.

Developers of higher-level packages generating their own C code however should care about this, to ensure that their generated code contains proper references as well. Especially as this is key to separating bugs concerning code generated by the package itself and bug in the user's code going into the package, if any.

Examples of such packages come with critcl itself, see the implementation of packages critcl::iassoc and critcl::class.

To help such developers eight commands are provided to manage such location information. These are listed below.

A main concept is that they all operate on a single stored location, setting, returning and clearing it. Note that this location information is completely independent of the generation of #line directives within critcl itself.

::critcl::at::caller

This command stores the location of the caller of the current procedure as a tuple of file name and linenumber. Any previously stored location is overwritten. The result of the command is the empty string.

::critcl::at::caller offset

As above, the stored line number is modified by the specified offset. In essence an implicit call of critcl::at::incr.

::critcl::at::caller offset level

As above, but the level the location information is taken from is modified as well. Level 0 is the caller, -1 its caller, etc.

::critcl::at::here

This command stores the current location in the current procedure as a tuple of file name and linenumber. Any previously stored location is overwritten. The result of the command is the empty string.

In terms of ::critcl::at::caller this is equivalent to

	critcl::at::caller 0 1
::critcl::at::get*

This command takes the stored location and returns a formatted #line directive ready for embedding into some C code. The stored location is left untouched. Note that the directive contains its own closing newline.

For proper nesting and use it is recommended that such directives are always added to the beginning of a code fragment. This way, should deeper layers add their own directives these will come before ours and thus be inactive. End result is that the outermost layer generating a directive will 'win', i.e. have its directive used. As it should be.

::critcl::at::get

This command is like the above, except that it also clears the stored location.

::critcl::at::= file line

This command allows the caller to set the stored location to anything they want, outside of critcl's control. The result of the command is the empty string.

::critcl::at::incr n...
::critcl::at::incrt str...

These commands allow the user to modify the line number of the stored location, changing it incrementally. The increment is specified as either a series of integer numbers (incr), or a series of strings to consider (incrt). In case of the latter the delta is the number of lines endings found in the strings.

::critcl::at::caller!
::critcl::at::caller! offset
::critcl::at::caller! offset level
::critcl::at::here!

These are convenience commands combining caller and here with get. I.e. they store the location and immediately return it formatted as proper #line directive. Also note that after their use the stored location is cleared.

Advanced: Diversions

Diversions are for higher-level packages generating their own C code, to make their use of critcl's commands generating Embedded C Code easier.

These commands normally generate all of their C code for the current ".critcl" file, which may not be what is wanted by a higher-level package.

With a diversion the generator output can be redirected into memory and from there on then handled and processed as the caller desires before it is committed to an actual ".c" file.

An example of such a package comes with critcl itself, see the implementation of package critcl::class.

To help such developers three commands are provided to manage diversions and the collection of C code in memory. These are:

::critcl::collect_begin

This command starts the diversion of C code collection into memory.

The result of the command is the empty string.

Multiple calls are allowed, with each call opening a new nesting level of diversion.

::critcl::collect_end

This command end the diversion of C code collection into memory and returns the collected C code.

If multiple levels of diversion are open the call only closes and returns the data from the last level.

The command will throw an error if no diversion is active, indicating a mismatch in the pairing of collect_begin and collect_end.

::critcl::collect script

This is a convenience command which runs the script under diversion and returns the collected C code, ensuring the correct pairing of collect_begin and collect_end.

Advanced: File Generation

While file generation is related to the diversions explained in the previous section they are not the same. Even so, like diversions this feature is for higher-level packages generating their own C code.

Three examples of utility packages using this facility comes with critcl itself. See the implementations of packages critcl::literals, critcl::bitmap, and critcl::enum.

When splitting a package implementation into pieces it is often sensible to have a number of pure C companion files containing low-level code, yet these files may require information about the code in the main ".critcl" file. Such declarations are normally not exportable and using the stub table support does not make sense, as this is completely internal to the package.

With the file generation command below the main ".critcl" file can generate any number of header files for the C companions to pick up.

::critcl::make path contents

This command creates the file path in a location where the C companion files of the package are able to pick it up by simple inclusion of path during their compilation, without interfering with the outer system at all.

The generated file will contain the specified contents.

Advanced: Extending cproc

While the critcl::cproc command understands the most common C types (see section Embedded C Code), sometimes this is not enough.

To get around this limitation the commands in this section enable users of critcl to extend the set of argument and result types understood by critcl::cproc. In other words, they allow them to define their own, custom, types.

::critcl::has-resulttype name

This command tests if the named result-type is known or not. It returns a boolean value, true if the type is known and false otherwise.

::critcl::resulttype name body ?ctype?

This command defines the result type name, and associates it with the C code doing the conversion (body) from C to Tcl. The C return type of the associated function, also the C type of the result variable, is ctype. This type defaults to name if it is not specified.

If name is already declared an error is thrown. Attention! The standard result type void is special as it has no accompanying result variable. This cannot be expressed by this extension command.

The body's responsibility is the conversion of the functions result into a Tcl result and a Tcl status. The first has to be set into the interpreter we are in, and the second has to be returned.

The C code of body is guaranteed to be called last in the wrapper around the actual implementation of the cproc in question and has access to the following environment:

interp

A Tcl_Interp* typed C variable referencing the interpreter the result has to be stored into.

rv

The C variable holding the result to convert, of type ctype.

As examples here are the definitions of two standard result types:

    resulttype int {
	Tcl_SetObjResult(interp, Tcl_NewIntObj(rv));
	return TCL_OK;
    }
    resulttype ok {
	/* interp result must be set by cproc body */
	return rv;
    } int
::critcl::resulttype name = origname

This form of the resulttype command declares name as an alias of result type origname, which has to be defined already. If this is not the case an error is thrown.

::critcl::has-argtype name

This command tests if the named argument-type is known or not. It returns a boolean value, true if the type is known and false otherwise.

::critcl::argtype name body ?ctype? ?ctypefun?

This command defines the argument type name, and associates it with the C code doing the conversion (body) from Tcl to C. ctype is the C type of the variable to hold the conversion result and ctypefun is the type of the function argument itself. Both types default to name if they are the empty string or are not provided.

If name is already declared an error is thrown.

body is a C code fragment that converts a Tcl_Obj* into a C value which is stored in a helper variable in the underlying function.

body is called inside its own code block to isolate local variables, and the following items are in scope:

interp

A variable of type Tcl_Interp* which is the interpreter the code is running in.

@@

A placeholder for an expression that evaluates to the Tcl_Obj* to convert.

@A

A placeholder for the name of the variable to store the converted argument into.

As examples, here are the definitions of two standard argument types:

    argtype int {
	if (Tcl_GetIntFromObj(interp, @@, &@A) != TCL_OK) return TCL_ERROR;
    }
    argtype float {
	double t;
	if (Tcl_GetDoubleFromObj(interp, @@, &t) != TCL_OK) return TCL_ERROR;
	@A = (float) t;
    }
::critcl::argtype name = origname

This form of the argtype command declares name as an alias of argument type origname, which has to be defined already. If this is not the case an error is thrown.

::critcl::argtypesupport name code ?guard?

This command defines a C code fragment for the already defined argument type name which is inserted before all functions using that type. Its purpose is the definition of any supporting C types needed by the argument type. If the type is used by many functions the system ensures that only the first of the multiple insertions of the code fragment is active, and the others disabled. The guard identifier is normally derived from name, but can also be set explicitly, via guard. This latter allows different custom types to share a common support structure without having to perform their own guarding.

::critcl::argtyperelease name code

This command defines a C code fragment for the already defined argument type name which is inserted whenever the worker function of a critcl::cproc returns to the shim. It is the responsibility of this fragment to unconditionally release any resources the critcl::argtype conversion code allocated. An example of this are the variadic types for the support of the special, variadic args argument to critcl::cproc's. They allocate a C array for the collected arguments which has to be released when the worker returns. This command defines the C code for doing that.

Concepts

Modes Of Operation/Use

CriTcl can be used in three different modes of operation, called

  1. Compile & Run, and

  2. Generate Package

  3. Generate TEA Package

Compile & Run was the original mode and is the default for critcl_pkg. Collects the C fragments from the Critcl script, builds them as needed, and caches the results to improve load times later.

The second mode, Generate Package, was introduced to enable the creation of (prebuilt) deliverable packages which do not depend on the existence of a build system, i.e. C compiler, on the target machine. This was originally done through the experimental Critbind tool, and is now handled by the CriTcl Application, also named critcl.

Newly introduced with Critcl version 3 is Generate TEA Package. This mode constructs a directory hierarchy from the package which can later be built like a regular TEA package, i.e. using

	.../configure --prefix ...
	make all isntall

Regarding the caching of results please read the section about the Result Cache fore more details.

Runtime Behaviour

The default behaviour of critcl, the package is to defer the compilation, linking, and loading of any C code as much as possible, given that this is an expensive operation, mainly in the time required. In other words, the C code embedded into a ".critcl" file is built only when the first C command or procedure it provides is invoked. This part of the system uses standard functionality built into the Tcl core, i.e. the auto_index variable to map from commands to scripts providing them and the unknown command using this information when the command is needed.

A limitation of this behaviour is that it is not possible to just use info commands check for the existence of a critcl defined command. It is also necessary to search in the auto_index array, in case it has not been build yet.

This behaviour can be changed by using the control command critcl::load. When invoked, the building, including loading of the result, is forced. After this command has been invoked for a ".critcl" file further definition of C code in this file is not allowed any longer.

File Mapping

Each ".critcl" file is backed by a single private ".c" file containing that code, plus the boilerplate necessary for its compilation and linking as a single shared library.

The Embedded C Code fragments appear in that file in the exact same order they were defined in the ".critcl" file, with one exception. The C code provided via critcl::cinit is put after all other fragments. In other words all fragments have access to the symbols defined by earlier fragments, and the critcl::cinit fragment has access to all, regardless of its placement in the ".critcl" file.

Note: A limitation of the current system is the near impossibility of C level access between different critcl-based packages. The issue is not the necessity of writing and sharing the proper extern statements, but that the management (export and import) of package-specific stubs-tables is not supported. This means that dependent parts have to be forcibly loaded before their user, with all that entails. See section Runtime Behaviour for the relevant critcl limitation, and remember that many older platforms do not support the necessary resolution of symbols, the reason why stubs were invented for Tcl in the first place.

Result Cache

The compilation of C code is time-consuming critcl not only defers it as much as possible, as described in section Runtime Behaviour, but also caches the results.

This means that on the first use of a ".critcl" file "FOO.tcl" the resulting object file and shared library are saved into the cache, and on future uses of the same file reused, i.e. loaded directly without requiring compilation, provided that the contents of "FOO.tcl" did not change.

The change detection is based MD5 hashes. A single hash is computed for each ".critcl" file, based on hashes for all C code fragments and configuration options, i.e. everything which affects the resulting binary.

As long as the input file doesn't change as per the hash a previously built shared library found in the cache is reused, bypassing the compilation and link stages.

The command to manage the cache are found in section Result Cache Management. Note however that they are useful only to tools based on the package, like the CriTcl Application. Package writers have no need of them.

As a last note, the default directory for the cache is chosen based on the chosen build target. This means that the cache can be put on a shared (network) filesystem without having to fear interference between machines of different architectures.

Preloading functionality

The audience of this section are developers wishing to understand and possibly modify the internals of critcl package and application. Package writers can skip this section.

It explains how the preloading of external libraries is realized.

Whenever a package declares libraries for preloading critcl will build a supporting shared library providing a Tcl package named "preload". This package is not distributed separately, but as part of the package requiring the preload functionality. This support package exports a single Tcl command

::preload library

which is invoked once per libraries to preload, with the absolute path of that library. The command then loads the library.

On windows the command will further use the Tcl command ::critcl::runtime::precopy to copy the library to the disk, should its path be in a virtual filesystem which doesn't directly support the loading of a shared library from it.

The command ::critcl::runtime::precopy is provided by the file "critcl-rt.tcl" in the generated package, as is the command ::critcl::runtime::loadlib which generates the ifneeded script expected by Tcl's package management. This generated ifneeded script contains the invocations of ::preload.

The C code for the supporting library is found in the file "critcl_c/preload.c", which is part of the critcl package.

The Tcl code for the supporting runtime "critcl-rt.tcl" is found in the file "runtime.tcl", which is part of the critcl::app package.

Configuration Internals

The audience of this section are developers wishing to understand and possibly modify the internals of critcl package and application. Package writers can skip this section.

It explains the syntax of configuration files and the configuration keys used by critcl to configure its build backend, i.e. how this part of the system accesses compiler, linker, etc.

It is recommended to open the file containing the standard configurations ("path/to/critcl/Config") in the editor of your choice when reading this section of the documentation, using it as an extended set of examples going beyond the simple defaults shown here.

First, the keys and the meaning of their values, plus examples drawn from the standard configurations distributed with the package. Note that when writing a custom configuration it is not necessary to specify all the keys listed below, but only those whose default values are wrong or insufficient for the platform in question.

version

The command to print the compiler version number. Defaults to

 gcc -v 
compile

The command to compile a single C source file to an object file. Defaults to

 gcc -c -fPIC 
debug_memory

The list of flags for the compiler to enable memory debugging in Tcl. Defaults to

 -DTCL_MEM_DEBUG 
debug_symbols

The list of flags for the compiler to add symbols to the object files and the resulting library. Defaults to

 -g 
include

The compiler flag to add an include directory. Defaults to

 -I 
tclstubs

The compiler flag to set USE_TCL_STUBS. Defaults to

 -DUSE_TCL_STUBS 
tkstubs

The compiler flag to set USE_TK_STUBS. Defaults to

 -DUSE_TK_STUBS 
threadflags

The list of compiler flags to enable a threaded build. Defaults to

    -DUSE_THREAD_ALLOC=1 -D_REENTRANT=1 -D_THREAD_SAFE=1
    -DHAVE_PTHREAD_ATTR_SETSTACKSIZE=1 -DHAVE_READDIR_R=1
    -DTCL_THREADS=1

.

noassert

The compiler flag to turn off assertions in Tcl code. Defaults to

 -DNDEBUG 
optimize

The compiler flag to specify optimization level. Defaults to

 -O2 
output

The compiler flags to set the output file of a compilation. Defaults to

 -o [list $outfile] 

NOTE the use of Tcl commands and variables here. At the time critcl uses the value of this key the value of the referenced variable is substituted into it. The named variable is the only variable whose value is defined for this substitution.

object

The file extension for object files on the platform. Defaults to

 .o 
preproc_define

The command to preprocess a C source file without compiling it, but leaving #define's in the output. Defaults to

 gcc -E -dM 
preproc_enum

See preproc_define, except that #define's are not left in the output. Defaults to

 gcc -E 
link

The command to link one or more object files and create a shared library. Defaults to

 gcc -shared 
link_preload

The list of linker flags to use when dependent libraries are pre-loaded. Defaults to

 --unresolved-symbols=ignore-in-shared-libs 
strip

The flag to tell the linker to strip symbols from the shared library. Defaults to

 -Wl,-s 
ldoutput

Like output, but for the linker. Defaults to the value of output.

link_debug

The list of linker flags needed to build a shared library with symbols. Defaults to the empty string. One platform requiring this are all variants of Windows, which uses

 -debug:full -debugtype:cv 
link_release

The list of linker flags needed to build a shared library without symbols, i.e. a regular build. Defaults to the empty string. One platform requiring this are all variants of Windows, which uses

 -release -opt:ref -opt:icf,3 -ws:aggressive 
sharedlibext

The file extension for shared library files on the platform. Defaults to

 [info sharedlibextension] 
platform

The identifier of the platform used in generated packages. Defaults to

 [platform::generic] 
target

The presence of this key marks the configuration as a cross-compilation target and the value is the actual platform identifier of the target. No default.

The syntax expected from configuration files is governed by the rules below. Again, it is recommended to open the file containing the standard configurations ("path/to/critcl/Config") in the editor of your choice when reading this section of the documentation, using it as an extended set of examples for the syntax>

  1. Each logical line of the configuration file consists of one or more physical lines. In case of the latter the physical lines have to follow each other and all but the first must be marked by a trailing backslash. This is the same marker for continuation lines as used by Tcl itself.

  2. A (logical) line starting with the character "#" (modulo whitespace) is a comment which runs until the end of the line, and is otherwise ignored.

  3. A (logical) line starting with the word "if" (modulo whitespace) is interpreted as Tcl's if command and executed as such. I.e. this command has to follow Tcl's syntax for the command, which may stretch across multiple logical lines. The command will be run in a save interpreter.

  4. A (logical) line starting with the word "set" (modulo whitespace) is interpreted as Tcl's set command and executed as such. I.e. this command has to follow Tcl's syntax for the command, which may stretch across multiple logical lines. The command will be run in a save interpreter.

  5. A line of the form "platform variable value" defines a platform specific configuration variable and value. The variable has to be the name of one of the configuration keys listed earlier in this section, and the platform string identifies the platform the setting is for. All settings with the same identification string form the configuration block for this platform.

  6. A line of the special form "platform when expression" marks the platform and all the settings in its configuration block as conditional on the expression.

    If the build platform is not a prefix of platform, nor vice versa the whole block is ignored. Otherwise the expression is evaluated via expr, in the same safe interpreter used to run any set and if commands found in the configuration file (see above).

    If the expression evaluates to true this configuration block is considered to be the build platform fo the host and chosen as the default configuration. An large example of of this feature is the handling of OS X found in the standard configuration file, where it selects the architectures to build based on the version of the operating system, the available SDK, etc. I.e. it chooses whether the output is universal or not, and whether it is old-style (ix86 + ppc) versus new-style (ix86 32+64) of universality.

  7. A line of the special form "platform copy sourceplatform" copies the configuration variables and values currently defined in the configuration block for sourceplatform to that of platform, overwriting existing values, and creating missing ones. Variables of platform not defined by by sourceplatform are not touched.

    The copied values can be overridden later in the configuration file. Multiple copy lines may exist for a platform and be intermixed with normal configuration definitions. Only the last definition of a variable is used.

  8. At last, a line of the form "variable value" defines a default configuration variable and value.

Stubs Tables

This section is for developers of extensions not based on critcl, yet also wishing to interface with stubs as they are understood and used by critcl, either by exporting their own stubs table to a critcl-based extension, or importing a stubs table of a critcl-based extension into their own.

To this end we describe the stubs table information of a package foo.

  1. Note that the differences in the capitalization of "foo", "Foo", "FOO", etc. below demonstrate how to capitalize the actual package name in each context.

  2. All relevant files must be available in a sub-directory "foo" which can be found on the include search paths.

  3. The above directory may contain a file "foo.decls". If present it is assumed to contain the external representation of the stubs table the headers mentioned in the following items are based on.

    critcl is able to use such a file to give the importing package programmatic access to the imported API, for automatic code generation and the like.

  4. The above directory must contain a header file "fooDecls.h". This file declares the exported API. It is used by both exporting and importing packages. It is usually generated and must contain (in the order specified):

    1. the declarations of the exported, i.e. public, functions of foo,

    2. the declaration of structure "FooStubs" for the stub table,

    3. the C preprocessor macros which route the invocations of the public functions through the stubs table.

      These macros must be defined if, and only if, the C preprocessor macro USE_FOO_STUBS is defined. Package foo does not define this macro, as it is allowed to use the exported functions directly. All importing packages however must define this macro, to ensure that they do not use any of the exported functions directly, but only through the stubs table.

    4. If the exported functions need additional types for their proper declaration then these types should be put into a separate header file (of arbitrary name) and "fooDecls.h" should contain an #include directive to this header at the top.

    A very reduced, yet also complete example, from a package for low-level random number generator functions can be found at the end of this section.

  5. The above directory must contain a header file "fooStubLib.h". This file defines everything needed to use the API of foo. Consequently it is used only by importing packages. It is usually generated and must contain (in the order specified):

    1. An #include directive for "tcl.h", with USE_TCL_STUBS surely defined.

    2. An #include directive for "fooDecls.h", with USE_FOO_STUBS surely defined.

    3. A definition of the stubs table variable, i.e.

      const FooStubs* fooStubsPtr;
    4. A definition of the stubs initializer function, like

      char *
      Foo_InitStubs(Tcl_Interp *interp, CONST char *version, int exact)
      {
          /*
           * Boiler plate C code initalizing the stubs table variable,
           * i.e. "fooStubsPtr".
           */
          CONST char *actualVersion;
          actualVersion = Tcl_PkgRequireEx(interp, "foo", version,
      				     exact, (ClientData *) &fooStubsPtr);
          if (!actualVersion) {
      	return NULL;
          }
          if (!fooStubsPtr) {
      	Tcl_SetResult(interp,
      		      "This implementation of Foo does not support stubs",
      		      TCL_STATIC);
      	return NULL;
          }
          return (char*) actualVersion;
      }

    This header file must be included by an importing package exactly once, so that it contains only one definition of both stubs table and stubs initializer function.

    The importing package's initialization function must further contain a statement like

    if (!Foo_InitStubs (ip, "1", 0)) {
        return TCL_ERROR;
    }

    which invokes foo's stubs initializer function to set the local stub table up.

    For a complete example of such a header file see below, at the end of this section.

  6. The last item above, about "fooStubLib.h" differs from the regular stub stable system used by Tcl. The regular system assumes that a static library "libfoostub.a" was installed by package foo, and links it.

    IMVHO critcl's approach is simpler, using only header files found in a single location, vs. header files and static library found in multiple, different locations.

    A second simplification is that we avoid having to extend critcl's compiler backend with settings for the creation of static libraries.

Below is a complete set of example header files, reduced, yet still complete, from a package for low-level random number generator functions:

"rngDecls.h":
#ifndef rng_DECLS_H
#define rng_DECLS_H
#include <tcl.h>
/*
 * Exported function declarations:
 */
/* 0 */
EXTERN void rng_bernoulli(double p, int*v);
typedef struct RngStubs {
    int magic;
    const struct RngStubHooks *hooks;
    void (*rng_bernoulli) (double p, int*v); /* 0 */
} RngStubs;
#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C" {
#endif
extern const RngStubs *rngStubsPtr;
#ifdef __cplusplus
}
#endif
#if defined(USE_RNG_STUBS)
/*
 * Inline function declarations:
 */
#define rng_bernoulli  (rngStubsPtr->rng_bernoulli) /* 0 */
#endif /* defined(USE_RNG_STUBS) */
#endif /* rng_DECLS_H */
"rngStubLib.h":
/*
 * rngStubLib.c --
 *
 * Stub object that will be statically linked into extensions that wish
 * to access rng.
 */
#ifndef USE_TCL_STUBS
#define USE_TCL_STUBS
#endif
#undef  USE_TCL_STUB_PROCS
#include <tcl.h>
#ifndef USE_RNG_STUBS
#define USE_RNG_STUBS
#endif
#undef  USE_RNG_STUB_PROCS
#include "rngDecls.h"
/*
 * Ensure that Rng_InitStubs is built as an exported symbol.  The other stub
 * functions should be built as non-exported symbols.
 */
#undef  TCL_STORAGE_CLASS
#define TCL_STORAGE_CLASS DLLEXPORT
const RngStubs* rngStubsPtr;

/*
 *----------------------------------------------------------------------
 *
 * Rng_InitStubs --
 *
 * Checks that the correct version of Rng is loaded and that it
 * supports stubs. It then initialises the stub table pointers.
 *
 * Results:
 *  The actual version of Rng that satisfies the request, or
 *  NULL to indicate that an error occurred.
 *
 * Side effects:
 *  Sets the stub table pointers.
 *
 *----------------------------------------------------------------------
 */
#ifdef Rng_InitStubs
#undef Rng_InitStubs
#endif
char *
Rng_InitStubs(Tcl_Interp *interp, CONST char *version, int exact)
{
    CONST char *actualVersion;
    actualVersion = Tcl_PkgRequireEx(interp, "rng", version,
				     exact, (ClientData *) &rngStubsPtr);
    if (!actualVersion) {
	return NULL;
    }
    if (!rngStubsPtr) {
	Tcl_SetResult(interp,
		      "This implementation of Rng does not support stubs",
		      TCL_STATIC);
	return NULL;
    }
    return (char*) actualVersion;
}

Examples

See section "Embedding C" in Using CriTcl.

The latest changes are found at the top.

Changes for version 3.1.18.1

  1. Attention: While the overall version (of the bundle) moves to 3.1.18.1 the versions of packages critcl and critcl::app are unchanged.

  2. Bugfix Generally removed a number of 8.5-isms which slipped into 3.1.18, breaking ability to use it with Tcl 8.4.

  3. Bugfix Corrected broken build.tcl uninstall.

  4. Bugfix Package critcl::class bumped to version 1.1.1. Fixed partial template substitution breaking compilation of the generated code.

Changes for version 3.1.18

  1. Feature (Developer support). Merged pull request #96 from sebres/main-direct-invoke. Enables direct invokation of the "main.tcl" file for starkits from within a dev checkout, i.e. outside of a starkit, or starpack.

  2. Feature. Added channel types to the set of builtin argument and result types. The argument types are for simple channel access, access requiring unshared channels, and taking the channel fully into the C level, away from Tcl. The result type comes in variants for newly created channels, known channels, and to return taken channels back to Tcl. The first will register the returned value in the interpreter, the second assumes that it already is.

  3. Bugfix. Issue #96. Reworked the documentation around the argument type Tcl_Interp* to make its special status more visible, explain uses, and call it out from result types where its use will be necessary or at least useful.

  4. Feature. Package critcl::class bumped to version 1.1. Extended with the ability to create a C API for classes, and the ability to disable the generation of the Tcl API.

  5. Bugfix. Merged pull request #99 from pooryorick/master. Fixes to the target directory calculations done by the install code.

  6. Merged pull request #94 from andreas-kupries/documentation. A larger documentation cleanup. The main work was done by pooryorick, followed by tweaks done by myself.

  7. Extended the test suite with lots of cases based on the examples for the various generator packages. IOW the new test cases replicate/encapsulate the examples and demonstrate that the packages used by the examples generate working code.

  8. Bugfix. Issue #95. Changed the field critcl_bytes.s to unsigned char* to match Tcl's type. Further constified the field to make clear that read-only usage is the common case for it.

  9. Bugfix/Feature. Package critcl::cutil bumped to version 0.2. Fixed missing inclusion of header "string.h" in "critcl_alloc.h", needed for memcpy in macro STREP. Added macros ALLOC_PLUS and STRDUP. Moved documentation of STREP... macros into proper place (alloc section, not assert).

  10. Merged pull request #83 from apnadkarni/vc-fixes. Removed deprecated -Gs for MSVC builds, and other Windows fixups.

  11. Feature. Package critcl::iassoc bumped to version 1.1. Refactored internals to generate an include header for use by .c files. This now matches what other generator packages do. The template file is inlined and removed.

  12. Merged pull request #82 from gahr/home-symlink Modified tests to handle possibility of $HOME a symlink.

  13. Merged pull request #81 from gahr/test-not-installed Modified test support to find uninstalled critcl packages when running tests. Handles all but critcl::md5.

  14. Merged pull request #85 from snoe925/issue-84 to fix Issue #84 breaking installation on OSX.

  15. Merged pull request #87 from apnadkarni/tea-fixes to fix Issue #86, broken -tea option, generating an incomplete package.

  16. Feature. New package critcl::callback providing C-level functions and data structures to manage callbacks from C to Tcl.

  17. Feature. Package critcl::literals bumped to version 1.3. Added mode +list enabling the conversion of multiple literals into a list of their strings.

  18. Feature. Package critcl::enum bumped to version 1.1. Added basic mode handling, supporting tcl (default) and +list (extension enabling the conversion of multiple enum values into a list of their strings).

  19. Feature. Package critcl::emap bumped to version 1.2. Extended existing mode handling with +list extension enabling the conversion of multiple emap values into a list of their strings.

  20. Feature. Extended the set of available types by applying a few range restrictions to the scalar types (int, long, wideint, double, float).

    Example: int > 0 is now a viable type name.

    This is actually more limited than the description might let you believe.

    See the package reference for the details.

Changes for version 3.1.17

  1. Extension: Allow duplicate arg- and result-type definitions if they are fully identical.

  2. Bugfix. The application mishandled the possibility of identical-named critcl::tsources. Possible because critcl::tsources can be in subdirectories, a structure which is not retained in the assembled package, causing such files to overwrite each other and at least one lost. Fixed by adding a serial number to the file names in the assembled package.

  3. Bugfix in the static scanner which made it loose requirement information. Further added code to generally cleanup results at the end (removal of duplicates, mainly).

  4. Bugfix: Fixed issue #76. Support installation directories which are not in the auto_path. Without the patch the installed critcl will not find its own packages and fail. Thank you to Simon Bachmann for the report and patch, and then his patience with me to getting to actually apply it.

  5. Bugfix: Fixed issue #75. Extended critcl::include to now take multiple paths.

  6. Added new compatibility package lmap84.

  7. Fixed typos in various documentation files.

  8. Fixed bug introduced by commit 86f415dd30 (3.1.16 release). The separation of critcl::ccode into user and work layers means that location retrieval has to go one more level up to find the user location.

  9. New supporting package critcl::cutil. Provides common C level facilities useful to packages (assertions, tracing, memory allocation shorthands).

  10. Modified package critcl to make use of the new tracing facilities to provide tracing of arguments and results for critcl::ccommand and critcl::cproc invokations.

  11. Modified packages critcl and critcl::class to provide better function names for (class) method tracing. Bumped package critcl::class to version 1.0.7.

  12. Extended the support package critcl::literals with limited configurability. It is now able to generate code for C-level access to the pool without Tcl types (Mode c). The previously existing functionality is accesssible under mode tcl, which also is the default. Both modes can be used together.

  13. Extended the support package critcl::emap with limited configurability. It is now able to generate code for C-level access to the mapping without Tcl types (Mode c). The previously existing functionality is accessible under mode tcl, which also is the default. Both modes can be used together.

Changes for version 3.1.16

  1. New feature. Extended critcl::cproc's argument handling to allow arbitrary mixing of required and optional arguments.

  2. New feature. Potential Incompatibility.

    Extended critcl::cproc's argument handling to treat an argument args as variadic if it is the last argument of the procedure.

  3. New feature. Added two introspection commands, critcl::has-argtype and critcl::has-resulttype. These enable a user to test if a specific (named) type conversion is implemented or not.

  4. Added new result type Tcl_Obj*0, with alias object0. The difference to Tcl_Obj* is in the reference counting.

  5. Extended the command critcl::argtypesupport with new optional argument through which to explicitly specify the identifier for guarding against multiple definitions.

  6. Bugfix: Fixed problem with the implementation of issue #54 (See 3.1.14). Always create the secondary log file. Otherwise end-of-log handling may break, unconditionally assuming its existence.

  7. Bugfix: Fixed problem with the internal change to the hook HandleDeclAfterBuild. Corrected the forgotten critcl::cconst.

  8. Debugging aid: Added comment holding the name of the result type when emitting result conversions.

  9. Bugfix: Fixed issue #60. Unbundled the package directories containing multiple packages. All directories under "lib/" now contain exactly one package.

  10. Bugfix: Fixed issue #62, a few dict exists commands operating on a fixed string instead of a variable.

  11. Bugfix: Fixed issue #56. Release builders are reminded to run the tests.

  12. Bugfix: Fixed issue #55. For FreeBSD critcl's platform package now identifies the Kernel ABI version. Initialization of the cache directory now also uses platform::identify for the default path, instead of platform::generic.

  13. Bugfix: Fixed issue #58. Simplified the setup and use of md5. Critcl now makes use of its own package for md5, using itself to built it. There is no chicken/egg problem with this as the -pkg mode used for this does not use md5. That is limited to mode compile & run.

Changes for version 3.1.15

  1. Fixed version number bogosity with 3.1.14.

Changes for version 3.1.14

  1. Fixed issue #36. Added message to target all of the Makefile generated for TEA mode. Additionally tweaked other parts of the output to be less noisy.

  2. Accepted request implied in issue #54. Unconditionally save the compiler/linker build log into key log of the dictionary returned by cresults, and save a copy of only the execution output in the new key exl ("execution log").

  3. Fixed issue #53. Clarified the documentation of commands critcl::load and critcl::failed with regard to their results and the throwing of errors (does not happen).

  4. Fixed issue #48. Modified mode "compile & run" to allow new declarations in a file, after it was build, instead of erroring out. The new decls are build when needed. Mode "precompile" is unchanged and will continue to trap the situation.

  5. Fixed issue #52. Updated the local Tcl/Tk headers to 8.4.20, 8.5.13, and 8.6.4.

  6. Fixed issue #45. New feature command critcl::cconst.

  7. critcl::util: New command locate to find a file across a set of paths, and report an error when not found. This is for use in autoconf-like header-searches and similar configuration tests.

  8. Modified 'AbortWhenCalledAfterBuild' to dump the entire stack (info frame!). This should make it easier to determine the location of the troubling declaration.

Changes for version 3.1.13

  1. Merged PR #43. Fixed bug loading adjunct Tcl sources.

  2. Fixes in documentation and generated code of package "critcl::enum". Bumped to version 1.0.1.

  3. Fixes in documentation of package "critcl::bitmap".

  4. New package "critcl::emap". In essence a variant or cross of "critcl::bitmap" with behaviour like "critcl::enum".

  5. Merged PR #49. Fixed documentation typo.

  6. Merged PR #46. Fixed documentation typo.

  7. Merged PR #47. Fixes to test results to match the accumulated code changes. Also made portable across Tcl versions (varying error syntax).

  8. New predefined argument- and result-type "wideint" mapping to Tcl_WideInt.

  9. New predefined argument-type "bytes" mapping to tuple of byte-array data and length. Note: The existing "bytearray" type (and its aliases) was left untouched, to keep backward compatibility.

  10. Modified the internal interface between the Tcl shim and C function underneath "critcl::cproc" with respect to the handling of optional arguments. An optional argument "X" now induces the use of two C arguments, "X" and "has_X". The new argument "has_X" is of boolean (int) type. It is set to true when X is set, and set to false when X has the default value. C code which cares about knowing if the argument is default or not is now able to check that quickly, without having to code the default value inside. NOTE: This change is visible in the output of the advanced commands "argcnames", "argcsignature", "argvardecls", and "argconversion".

  11. Fixed issue #50 and documented the availability of variable "interp" (type Tcl_Interp*) within "critcl::cinit" C code fragments. Note that while the old, undocumented name of the variable, "ip", is still usable, it is deprecated. It will be fully removed in two releases, i.e. for release 3.1.15. The variable name was changed to be consistent with other code environments.

  12. Fixed issue #51. Disabled the generation of #line directives for "critcl::config lines 0" coming from template files, or code generated with them before the final value of this setting was known.

  13. Fixed issue with handling of namespaced package names in "critcl::iassoc". Equivalent to a bug in "critcl::class" fixed for critcl 3.1.1, critcl::class 1.0.1. Note: "literals", "enum", "emap", and "bitmap" do not require a fix as they are all built on top of "iassoc".

Changes for version 3.1.12

  1. Fixed issue 42. Clear ::errorInfo immediately after startup to prevent leakage of irrelevant (caught) errors into our script and confusing the usage code.

  2. Fixed issue 40. Keep the order of libraries, and allow duplicates. Both are things which are occasionally required for proper linking.

  3. Extended the utility package critcl::literals to declare a cproc result-type for a pool.

    Further fixed the generated header to handle multiple inclusion.

    Bumped version to 1.1.

  4. Fixed issue with utility package critcl::bitmap.

    Fixed the generated header to handle multiple inclusion.

    Bumped version to 1.0.1.

  5. Created new utility package critcl::enum for the quick and easy setup and use of mappings between C values and Tcl strings. Built on top of critcl::literals.

  6. Added examples demonstrating the use of the utility packages critcl::literals, critcl::bitmap, and critcl::enum

Changes for version 3.1.11

  1. Fixed issue #37, via pull request #38, with thanks to Jos DeCoster. Information was stored into the v::delproc and v::clientdata arrays using a different key than when retrieving the same information, thus failing the latter.

  2. New convenience command critcl::include for easy inclusion of headers and other C files.

  3. New command critcl::make to generate a local header of other C files for use by other parts of a package through inclusion.

  4. New utility package critcl::literals for quick and easy setup of and access to pools of fixed Tcl_Obj* strings. Built on top of critcl::iassoc.

  5. New utility package critcl::bitmap for quick and easy setup and use of mappings between C bitsets and Tcl lists whose string elements represent that set. Built on top of critcl::iassoc.

Changes for version 3.1.10

  1. Fixed code version numbering forgotten with 3.1.9.

  2. Fixed issue #35. In package mode (-pkg) the object cache directory is unique to the process, thus we do not need content-hashing to generate unique file names. A simple counter is sufficient and much faster.

    Note that mode "compile & run" is not as blessed and still uses content-hasing with md5 to ensure unique file names in its per-user object cache.

  3. Fixed issue where the ccommand forgot to use its body as input for the UUID generation. Thus ignoring changes to it in mode compile & run, and not rebuilding a library for changed sources. Bug and fix reported by Peter Spjuth.

Changes for version 3.1.9

  1. Fixed issue #27. Added missing platform definitions for various alternate linux and OS X targets.

  2. Fixed issue #28. Added missing -mXX flags for linking at the linux-{32,64}-* targets.

  3. Fixed issue #29. Replaced the use of raw "cheaders" information in the processing of "cdefines" with the proper include directives derived from it.

  4. Fixed the issue behind rejected pull request #30 by Andrew Shadura. Dynamically extract the stubs variable declarations from the Tcl header files and generate matching variable definitions for use in the package code. The generated code will now be always consistent with the headers, even when critcl's own copy of them is replaced by system headers.

  5. Fixed issue #31. Accepted patch by Andrew Shadura, with changes (comments), for easier integration of critcl with OS package systems, replacing critcl's copies of Tcl headers with their own.

  6. Fixed issue #32. Merged pull request by Andrew Shadura. Various typos in documentation and comments.

  7. Fixed issue #34. Handle files starting with a dot better.

Changes for version 3.1.8

  1. Fixed issue with package indices generated for Tcl 8.4. Join the list of commands with semi-colon, not newline.

  2. Fixed issue #26 which brought up use-cases I had forgotten to consider while fixing bug #21 (see critcl 3.1.6).

Changes for version 3.1.7

  1. Fixed issue #24. Extract and unconditionally display compiler warnings found in the build log. Prevents users from missing warnings which, while not causing the build to fail, may still indicate problems.

  2. New feature. Output hook. All non-messaging user output is now routed through the command critcl::print, and users are allowed to override it when using the critcl application-as-package.

  3. New feature, by Ashok P. Nadkarni. Platform configurations can inherit values from configurations defined before them.

Changes for version 3.1.6

  1. Fixed issue #21. While the multi-definition of the stub-table pointer variables was ok with for all the C linkers seen so far C++ linkers did not like this at all. Reworked the code to ensure that this set of variables is generated only once, in the wrapper around all the pieces to assemble.

  2. Fixed issue #22, the handling of the command identifier arguments of critcl::ccommand, critcl::cproc, and critcl::cdata. We now properly allow any Tcl identifier and generate proper internal C identifiers from them.

    As part of this the signature of command critcl::name2c changed. The command now delivers a list of four values instead of three. The new value was added at the end.

    Further adapted the implementation of package critcl::class, a user of critcl::name2c. This package is now at version 1.0.6 and requires critcl 3.1.6

    Lastly fixed the mis-handling of option -cname in critcl::ccommand, and critcl::cproc.

  3. Fixed issue #23.

Changes for version 3.1.5

  1. Fixed issue #19. Made the regular expression extracting the MSVC version number more general to make it work on german language systems. This may have to be revisited in the future, for other Windows locales.

  2. Fixed issue #20. Made option -tea work on windows, at least in a unix emulation environment like msys/mingw.

Changes for version 3.1.4

  1. Bugfix in package critcl::class. Generate a dummy field in the class structure if the class has no class variables. Without this change the structure would be empty, and a number of compilers are not able to handle such a type.

  2. Fixed a typo which broke the win64 configuration.

  3. Fixed issue #16, a typo in the documentation of command critcl::class.

Changes for version 3.1.3

  1. Enhancement. In detail:

  2. Added new argument type "pstring", for "Pascal String", a counted string, i.e. a combination of string pointer and string length.

  3. Added new methods critcl::argtypesupport and ::critcl::argsupport to define and use additional supporting code for an argument type, here used by "pstring" above to define the necessary structure.

  4. Semi-bugfixes in the packages critcl::class and critcl::iassoc. Pragmas for the AS meta data scanner to ensure that the template files are made part of the package. Versions bumped to 1.0.4 and 1.0.1 respectively.

Changes for version 3.1.2

  1. Enhancement. In detail:

  2. Extended critcl::cproc to be able to handle optional arguments, in a limited way. This is automatically available to critcl::class cproc-based methods as well.

  3. Bugfix in lassign emulation for Tcl 8.4. Properly set unused variables to the empty string. Bumped version of emulation package lassign84 to 1.0.1.

Changes for version 3.1.1

  1. Bugfixes all around. In detail:

  2. Fixed the generation of wrong#args errors for critcl::cproc and derived code (critcl::class cproc-based methods). Use NULL if there are no arguments, and take the offset into account.

  3. Fixed the handling of package names by critcl::class. Forgot that they may contain namespace separators. Bumped to version 1.0.1.

  4. Extended a critcl::class generated error message in instance creation for clarity. Bumped to version 1.0.2.

Changes for version 3.1

  1. Added a new higher-level package critcl::iassoc.

    This package simplifies the creation of code associating data with an interpreter via Tcl's Tcl_(Get|Set)AssocData() APIs. The user can concentrate on his data while all the necessary boilerplate C code to support this is generated by the package.

    This package uses several of the new features which were added to the core critcl package, see below.

  2. Added the higher-level package critcl::class.

    This package simplifies the creation of C level objects with class and instance commands. The user can write a class definition with class- and instance-variables and -methods similar to a TclOO class, with all the necessary boilerplate C code to support this generated by the package.

    This package uses several of the new features which were added to the core critcl package, see below.

  3. Extended the API for handling TEApot metadata. Added the command critcl::meta? to query the stored information. Main use currently envisioned is retrieval of the current package's name by utility commands, for use in constructed names. This particular information is always available due to the static scan of the package file on execution of the first critcl command.

    The new packages critcl::iassoc and critcl::class (see above) are users of this command.

  4. Extended the API with a command, critcl::name2c, exposing the process of converting a Tcl name into base name, namespace, and C namespace. This enables higher-level code generators to generate the same type of C identifiers as critcl itself.

    The new package critcl::class (see above) is a user of this command.

  5. Extended the API with a command, critcl::source, executing critcl commands found in a separate file in the context of the current file. This enables easier management of larger bodies of code as it allows the user to split such up into easier to digest smaller chunks without causing the generation of multiple packages.

  6. Related to the previous item, extended the API with commands to divert collection of generated C code into memory. This makes it easier to use the commands for embedded C code in higher-level code generators.

    See the section Advanced: Diversions for details of the provided commands.

    The new package critcl::class (see above) is a user of these facilities.

  7. Extended the API with commands helping developers with the generation of proper C #line directives. This allows higher-level code generators to generate and insert their own directives, ensuring that compile errors in their code are properly attributed.

    See the section Advanced: Location management for details of the provided commands.

    The new packages critcl::iassoc and critcl::class (see above) are users of these facilities.

  8. Extended the API with commands giving users the ability to define custom argument and result types for ::critcl::cproc.

    See the section Advanced: Extending cproc for details of the provided commands.

Changes for version 3.0.7

  1. Fixed the code generated by critcl::c++command. The emitted code handed a non-static string table to Tcl_GetIndexFromObj, in violation of the contract, which requires the table to have a fixed address. This was a memory smash waiting to happen. Thanks to Brian Griffin for alrerting us to the general problem.

Changes for version 3.0.6

  1. Fixed github issue 10. The critcl application now delivers a proper exit code (1) on build failure, instead of always indicating success (status 0).

  2. Fixed github issue 13. Handling of bufferoverflowU.lib for release builds was inconsistent with handling for debug builds. It is now identically handled (conditional) by both cases.

  3. Documentation cleanup, mainly in the installation guide, and the README.md shown by github

Changes for version 3.0.5

  1. Fixed bug in the new code for #line pragmas triggered when specifying C code without leading whitespace.

  2. Extended the documentation to have manpages for the license, source retrieval, installer, and developer's guides.

Changes for version 3.0.4

  1. Fixed generation of the package's initname when the incoming code is read from stdin and has no proper path.

  2. Fixed github issue 11. Now using /LIBPATH instead of -L on Windows (libinclude configuration setting).

  3. Extended critcl to handle -l:path format of -l options. GNU ld 2.22+ handles this by searching for the path as is. Good when specifying static libraries, as plain -l looks for shared libraries in preference over static. critcl handles it now, as older GNU ld's do not understand it, nor the various vendor-specific linkers.

  4. Fixed github issue #12. Critcl now determines the version of MSVC in use and uses it to switch between various link debug options. Simplified the handling of bufferoverflowU.lib also, making use of the same mechanism and collapsing the two configurations sections we had back into one.

  5. Reworked the insertion of #line pragmas into the generated C code to avoid limitations on the line number argument imposed by various compilers, and be more accurate.

  6. Modified argument processing. Option -libdir now also implies -L for its argument.

  7. Extended handling of option -show (critcl::showconfig) to list the path of the configuration file the data is coming from. Good for debugging configuration processing.

  8. Extended the build script with targets to regenerate the embedded documentation, and diagrams, and to generate a release.

Changes for version 3.0.3

  1. Fixed github issues 5 and 8, for the example build.tcl scripts. Working around a missing variable ::errorInfo. It should always be present, however there seem to be revisions of Tcl around which violate this assumption.

Changes for version 3.0.2

  1. Fixed issue in compile-and-run mode where commands put into the auto_index are not found by Tcl's [unknown] command.

  2. Fixed an array key mismatch breaking usage of client data and delete function for procedure. Reported by Jos DeCoster, with patch.

  3. Implemented a command line option -L, an equivalent of option -I, just for library search paths.

  4. Fixed github issues 5 and 8. Working around a missing variable ::errorInfo. It should always be present, however there seem to be revisions of Tcl around which violate this assumption.

Changes for version 3.0.1

  1. Bugfixes all around. In detail:

  2. Fixed recording of Tcl version requirements. Keep package name and version together, unbreaking generated meta data and generated package load command.

  3. Fixed the build scripts: When installing, or wrapping for TEA, generate any missing directories

  4. Modified the build scripts to properly exit the application when the window of their GUI is closed through the (X) button.

  5. Removed an 8.5-ism (open wb) which had slipped into the main build script.

  6. Modified the example build scripts to separate the output for the different examples (and packages) by adding empty lines.

  7. stack::c example bugfix: Include API declarations for use in the companion files.

  8. Extended the documentation: Noted the need for a working installation of a C compiler.

  9. Extended the Windows target definitions and code to handle the manifest files used by modern MS development environments. Note that this code handles both possibilities, environment using manifests, and (old(er)) environments without.

  10. Extended the Windows 64bit target definitions and code to auto-detect the need for the helper library "bufferoverflowU.lib" and reconfigure the compile and link commands appropriately. We assume that the library must be linked when present. This should be no harm if the library is present, yet not needed. Just superfluous. We search for the library in the paths specified by the environment variable LIB.

Changes for version 3

  1. The command critcl::platform was deprecated in version 2.1, superceded by critcl::targetplatform, yet kept for compatibility. Now it has been removed.

  2. The command critcl::compiled was kept with in version 2.1 with semantics in contradiction to its, for compatibility. This contradiction has been removed, changing the visible semantics of the command to be in line with its name.

  3. The change to version 3 became necessary because of the two incompatible visible changes above.

  4. Extended the application package with code handling a new option -tea. Specifying this option invokes a special mode where critcl generates a TEA package, i.e. wraps the input into a directory hierarchy and support files which provide it TEA-lookalike buildsystem.

    This new option, and -pkg, exclude each other. If both are specified the last used option takes precedence.

    The generated package directory hierarchy is mostly self-contained, but not fully. It requires not only a working installation of Tcl, but also working installations of the packages md5 and cmdline. Both of these are provided by the Tcllib bundle. Not required, but recommended to have installed are any of the packages which can accelerate md5's operation, i.e. cryptkit, tcllibc, or Trf.

  5. Extended the critcl package with a new command critcl::scan taking the path to a ".critcl" file, statically scanning it, and returning license, version, a list of its companion files, list of imported APIs, and list of developer-specified custom configuration options. This data is the foundation for the TEA wrapping described above.

    Note that this is a static scan. While the other build modes can (must) execute the ".critcl" file and make platform-specific decisions regarding the assembled C code, companion files, etc. the TEA wrap mode is not in a position to make platform-specific decisions. It has to wrap everything which might conceivably be needed when actually building. Hence the static scan. This has however its own set of problems, namely the inability to figure out any dynamic construction of companion file paths, at least on its own. Thus:

  6. Extended the API used by critcl-based packages with the command critcl::owns. While this command is ignored by the regular build modes the static scanner described above takes its arguments as the names of companion files which have to be wrapped into the TEA package and could not be figured by the scanner otherwise, like because of dynamic paths to critcl::tsources, critcl::csources, getting sourced directly, or simply being adjunct datafiles.

  7. Extended the API used by critcl-based packages with the command critcl::api for the management of stubs tables, be it their use, and/or declaration and export.

    Please see section Stubs Table Management of the critcl package documentation for details.

  8. Extended the API used by critcl-based packages with the command critcl::userconfig for the management of developer-specified custom configuration options, be it their use and/or declaration.

    Please see section Custom Build Configuration of the critcl package documentation for details.

  9. Extended the API used by critcl-based packages with the commands critcl::description, critcl::summary, critcl::subject, critcl::meta, and critcl::buildrequirement for the declaration of TEApot meta data for/about the package.

    Please see section Package Meta Data of the critcl package documentation for details.

Changes for version 2.1

  1. Fixed bug where critcl::tsources interpreted relative paths as relative to the current working directory instead of relative to the ".critcl" file using the command, as all other commands of this type do.

  2. Fixed internals, preventing information collected for multiple ".critcl" files to leak between them. Notably, critcl::tk is not a global configuration option anymore.

  3. Fixed the command critcl::license to be a null-operation in mode "compile & run", instead of throwing an error.

  4. Fixed the critcl application's interference with the "compile & run" result cache in -pkg mode by having it use a wholly separate (and by default transient) directory for that mode.

  5. Fixed bug where changes to a ".critcl" file did not result in a rebuild for mode "compile & run". All relevant API commands now ensure UUID changes.

  6. Fixed bug in the backend handling of critcl::debug where the companion c-sources of a ".critcl" file were not compiled with debug options, although the ".critcl" file was.

  7. Fixed bug in critcl::debug which prevented recognition of mode "all" when it was not the first argument to the command.

  8. Fixed bug in "preload.c" preventing its compilation on non-windows platforms.

  9. Fixed long-standing bug in the handling of namespace qualifiers in the command name argument of critcl::cproc and critcl::ccommand. It is now possible to specify a fully qualified command name without issues.

  10. Extended/reworked critcl::tsources to be the canonical way of declaring ".tcl" companion files even for mode "compile & run".

  11. Extended/reworked critcl::tsources to allow the use of a ".critcl" file as its own Tcl companion file.

  12. Extended critcl::framework to internally check for OS X build target, and to ignore the declaration if its not.

  13. Extended critcl::failed to be callable more than once in a ".critcl" file. The first call forces the build, if it was not done already, to get the result. Further calls return the cached result of the first call.

  14. Extended the handling of environment variable CC in the code determining the compiler to use to deal with (i.e. remove) paths to the compiler, compiler file extensions, and compiler options specified after the compiler itself, leaving only the bare name of the compiler.

  15. Extended the code handling the search for preloaded libraries to print the paths it searched, making debugging of a search failure easier.

  16. A new command critcl::tcl can be used to declare the version of Tcl minimally needed to build and run the ".critcl" file and package. Defaults to 8.4 if not declared. Extended critcl to have the stubs and headers for all of Tcl 8.4, 8.5, and 8.6.

  17. A new command critcl::load forces the build and load of a ".critcl" file. This is the official way for overriding critcl's default lazy-build-&-load-on-demand scheme for mode "compile & run".

    Note that after using critcl::load / critcl::failed in a ".critcl" file it is not possible to use critcl commands in that file anymore. Doing so will throw an error.

  18. Extended the generation of '#line' pragmas to use info frame (if available) to provide the C compiler with exact line numbers into the ".critcl" file for the reporting of warnings and errors.

  19. Extended critcl::check with logging to help with debugging build-time checks of the environment, plus an additional optional argument to provide labeling.

  20. Added a new command critcl::checklink which not only tries to check the environment via compiling the code, but also its linkability.

  21. Added a new command critcl::msg for messaging, like command critcl::error is for error reporting. Likewise this is a hook a user of the package is allowed to override. The default implementation, used by mode compile & run does nothing. The implementation for mode generate package prints the message to stdout.

    Envisioned use is for the reporting of results determined by critcl::check and critcl::checklink during building, to help with debugging when something goes wrong with a check.

  22. Exposed the argument processing internals of critcl::proc for use by advanced users. The new commands are

    1. critcl::argnames

    2. critcl::argcnames

    3. critcl::argcsignature

    4. critcl::argvardecls

    5. critcl::argconversion

    Please see section Advanced Embedded C Code of the critcl package documentation for details.

  23. Extended the critcl package to intercept package provide and record the file -> package name mapping. Plus other internal changes now allow the use of namespaced package names while still using proper path names and init function.

  24. Dropped the unused commands critcl::optimize and critcl::include.

  25. Dropped -lib mode from the critcl application.

  26. Dropped remnants of support for Tcl 8.3 and before.

Authors

Jean Claude Wippler, Steve Landers, Andreas Kupries

Bugs, Ideas, Feedback

This document, and the package it describes, will undoubtedly contain bugs and other problems. Please report them at https://github.com/andreas-kupries/critcl/issues. Ideas for enhancements you may have for either package, application, and/or the documentation are also very welcome and should be reported at https://github.com/andreas-kupries/critcl/issues as well.

Keywords

C code, Embedded C Code, code generator, compile & run, compiler, dynamic code generation, dynamic compilation, generate package, linker, on demand compilation, on-the-fly compilation

Category

Glueing/Embedded C code