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This page is kind of a handbook for writing c and c++ programs. References to practical issues are assigned to this page.


  1. In a function, never pass the arguments by value, always pass them by reference

Single file ANSI C project template

Here's a basic template for a single-file project: [c,Y]

/*Template for a ANSI C standard program file*/

/*Place the headers here*/
#include <stdio.h>
#include <math.h>

/*Place the Macros here*/
#define OK_         1

/*Place the Casts here*/
typedef double REAL_T; 

/*Place the subroutines declaration here*/
REAL_T deg(REAL_T x);

/*Main routine*/
int main(int argc, char* argv[])
   return 1;
REAL_T deg(REAL_T x){
        return x/fabs(x)*floor(fabs(x));

Mixing C and C++ code

In order to mix C routines within a C++ structure simply make sure that the C routines are written in standard ANSI C and that they're all in a separate file. Then include extern "C" syntax. Here's an example:


#include <sstream>
#include <string>
#include <math.h>
extern "C"{
        #include <fes.h>

Using namespaces

Whenever one whishes to use C++ STL standard libraries then one has to use the std:: namespace. Or it can be declared in the beginning of the routine or of the code:


#include <vector>
#include <string>
#include <sstream>
int main()
    std::string str;

or [cpp,Y]

#include <vector>
#include <string>
#include <sstream>

using namespace std;

int main()
    string str;

Variables in C and C++

There are several built-in types of variables: [c,Y]

  char c; //byte size character [0x0-FFx0]
  short int sn; //byte sized integer [0-255]
  int n; //word(2bytes) sized integer [0-16556]
  long ln; // 4 byte sized integer
  float x; // single precision real number
  double dx; // double precision real number

Memory structure and pointers

In C coding, a variable is in fact the combination of two elements: its value and its pointer:

  • The value is a memory register where the variable value is stored.
  • The pointer is another memory register containing the memory address of the variable value.

Thus the pointer points to the variable value. [c,Y]

  char* c_p; //pointer to characters
  short int* sn_p; //pointer to short integers
  int* n_p; //pointer to integers
  long* ln_p; // pointer to long integers
  float* x_p; // pointer to single precision real numbers
  double* dx_p; // pointer to double precision real numbers

Allocate arrays

In C, pointers allow to allocate arrays (blocks of memory) of a given variable single type... Here's an example of allocating a memory block: [c,Y]

double* vector_p;    //Allocates the memory register of the pointer, and fills it with dumb address
vector_p = (double*) malloc( sizeof(double)*(N + 2*p) ) // Allocates a block of memory and assigns
                                                //its memory address to vector_p.

Cast of types of variables

Casts are a very useful feature of C programming language. They allow to define custom types of variables. They are defined at the beginning of the code. When well used, casts allow easy portability from single to double precision computing. Here are a few examples:


typedef float REAL_SCALAR_T;
/*typedef double REAL_SCALAR_T;*/

REAL_SCALAR_T x = 3.1416;

The above code defines single precision scalar and vector variables types.


typedef int INT_SCALAR_T;
/*typedef long INT_SCALAR_T;*/


The above code defines single precision integer and integer vector variables types.


Structures are composites of several types of variables. A typical syntax example would be:

 struct s_myexample{
    char a;
    int b;	
    float* ptr_p;
 char ext = s_myexample.a;

Combining structures with casts is much more useful: [c,Y]

typedef struct s_myexample{
      char a;
      int b;
      s_myexample_t* myotherexample_p;


The C or C++ compiler comes with preprocessing capabilities. Hence macros are allowed, but use them with care. Here are a few examples for syntax purposes. Preferrably, define at head of the code. [c,Y]

#define OK_        1
#define BAD_      -1
#define DATA_      1
#define INPUT_     2

IO string manipulations

To perform simple output to the console: [cpp,Y]

std::cout << "ERROR: Too many parameters included in command line!\n" << std::endl;

Building the project

Building a single file project

g++ -c -o example.o -Iincludepath example.cpp
g++ -o example.exe -Llibpath example.o alibrary.a

The first line compiles example.cpp and outputs the object example.o. The second line links the object file agains a library (static or shared).

Building a several files project

INC="-Iincludepath1 -Iincludepath2 -Iincludepath3"
LIB="-Llibpath1 -Llibpath2"
SRC="file1.cpp file2.cpp file3.cpp"
OBJ="file1.o file2.o file3.o lib1.a lib2.a"

$CC -c $INC $SRC
$CC -o example.exe $LIB $OBJ

The first line compiles and returns the object files. The second line links against the libraries (static or shared).

Creating a makefile for the project

Usually, the IDE takes care of the making of the project. However when porting to other environments such as *NIX platforms then one may want to consider to create a makefile.