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Why doesnt C have nested functions?
Why doesnt C have nested functions? It's not trivial to implement nested functions such that they have the proper access to local variables in the containing function(s), so they were deliberately left out of C as a simplification. (gcc does allow them, as an extension.) For many potential uses of n...
2015-01-14, 904👍, 0💬

Can I use base-2 constants (something like 0b101010)? Is there a printf format for binary?
Can I use base-2 constants (something like 0b101010)? Is there a printf format for binary? No, on both counts, although there are various preprocessor tricks you can try. You can convert base-2 string representations to integers with strtol. If you need to print numbers out in base 2, .
2015-02-13, 901👍, 0💬

Why isnt any of this standardized in C? Any real program has to do some of these things.
Why isnt any of this standardized in C? Any real program has to do some of these things. Actually, some standardization has occurred along the way. In the beginning, C did not have a standard library at all; programmers always had to ``roll their own'' utility routines. After several abortive attemp...
2015-02-27, 900👍, 0💬

How can I split up a string into whitespace-separated fields?
How can I split up a string into whitespace-separated fields? How can I duplicate the process by which main() is handed argc and argv? The only Standard function available for this kind of ``tokenizing'' is strtok, although it can be tricky to use and it may not do everything you want it to. (For in...
2015-08-17, 893👍, 0💬

Why can I only seem to malloc 640K or so?. .....
I've got 8 meg of memory in my PC. Why can I only seem to malloc 640K or so?. Under the segmented architecture of PC compatibles, it can be difficult to use more than 640K with any degree of transparency, especially under MS-DOS.
2016-04-12, 892👍, 0💬

Is exit(status) truly equivalent to returning the same status from main?
Is exit(status) truly equivalent to returning the same status from main? Yes and no. The Standard says that a return from the initial call to main is equivalent to calling exit. However, a return from main cannot be expected to work if data local to main might be needed during cleanup; A few very ol...
2015-03-09, 891👍, 0💬

Is there a way to switch on strings?
Is there a way to switch on strings? Not directly. Sometimes, it's appropriate to use a separate function to map strings to integer codes, and then switch on those: #define CODE_APPLE 1 #define CODE_ORANGE 2 #define CODE_NONE 0 switch(classifyfunc(string)) { case CODE_APPLE: ... case CODE_ORANGE: .....
2015-02-04, 891👍, 0💬

fopen isnt letting me open files like "$HOME/.profile" and "~/.myrcfile".
fopen isn't letting me open files like "$HOME/.profile" and "~/.myrcfile". Under Unix, at least, environment variables like $HOME, along with the home-directory notation involving the ~ character, are expanded by the shell, and there's no mechanism to perform these expansions automatically when you ...
2015-04-06, 888👍, 0💬

People claim that optimizing compilers are good and that we no longer have to write things in assembler for speed
People claim that optimizing compilers are good and that we no longer have to write things in assembler for speed, but my compiler can't even replace i/=2 with a shift. A: Was i signed or unsigned? If it was signed, a shift is not equivalent (hint: think about the result if i is negative and odd), s...
2015-02-06, 886👍, 0💬

Are pointers really faster than arrays?
Are pointers really faster than arrays? How much do function calls slow things down? Is ++i faster than i = i + 1? Precise answers to these and many similar questions depend of course on the processor and compiler in use. If you simply must know, you'll have to time test programs carefully. (Often t...
2015-02-09, 885👍, 0💬

How do I get an accurate error status return from system on MS-DOS?
How do I get an accurate error status return from system on MS-DOS? You can't; COMMAND.COM doesn't tend to provide one. If you don't need COMMAND.COM's services (i.e. if you're just trying to invoke a simple program, without I/O redirection and such) try one of the spawn routines, instead.
2015-03-16, 884👍, 0💬

Is C a great language, or what?
Is C a great language, or what? Where else could you write something like a+++++b ? A: Well, you can't meaningfully write it in C, either. The rule for lexical analysis is that at each point during a straightforward left-to-right scan, the longest possible token is determined, without regard to whet...
2015-01-26, 884👍, 0💬

How can I invoke another program (a standalone executable, or an operating system command) from within a C program?
How can I invoke another program (a standalone executable, or an operating system command) from within a C program? Use the library function system, which does exactly that. Some systems also provide a family of spawn routines which accomplish approximately the same thing. system is more ``portable'...
2015-03-18, 882👍, 0💬

Was 2000 a leap year?
Was 2000 a leap year? Q: Is (year % 4 == 0) an accurate test for leap years? (Was 2000 a leap year?) A: No, it's not accurate (and yes, 2000 was a leap year). The actual rules for the present Gregorian calendar are that leap years occur every four years, but not every 100 years, except that they do ...
2015-01-05, 881👍, 0💬

I am allocating structures which contain pointers to other dynamically ....
I'm allocating structures which contain pointers to other dynamically-allocated objects. When I free a structure, do I also have to free each subsidiary pointer? Yes. malloc knows nothing about structure declarations or about the contents of allocated memory; it especially does not know whether allo...
2016-03-31, 879👍, 0💬

Are the outer parentheses in return statements really optional?
Are the outer parentheses in return statements really optional? Yes. Long ago, in the early days of C, they were required, and just enough people learned C then, and wrote code which is still in circulation, that the notion that they might still be required is widespread. (As it happens, parentheses...
2015-02-02, 879👍, 0💬

How can I write data files which can be read on other machines with different word size, byte order, or floating point formats?
How can I write data files which can be read on other machines with different word size, byte order, or floating point formats? The most portable solution is to use text files (usually ASCII), written with fprintf and read with fscanf or the like. (Similar advice also applies to network protocols.) ...
2015-02-23, 878👍, 0💬

What is hashing?
What is hashing? Hashing is the process of mapping strings to integers, usually in a relatively small range. A ``hash function'' maps a string (or some other data structure) to a bounded number (the ``hash bucket'') which can more easily be used as an index in an array, or for performing repeated co...
2015-01-07, 878👍, 0💬

How can I find the day of the week given the date?
How can I find the day of the week given the date? Here are three methods: 1. Use mktime or localtime # . Here is a code fragment which computes the day of the week for February 29, 2000: #include &lt;stdio.h> #include &lt;time.h> char *wday[] = {"Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "...
2015-01-07, 878👍, 0💬

How can I read a directory in a C program?
How can I read a directory in a C program? See if you can use the opendir and readdir functions, which are part of the POSIX standard and are available on most Unix variants. Implementations also exist for MS-DOS, VMS, and other systems. (MS-DOS also has FINDFIRST and FINDNEXT routines which do esse...
2015-04-01, 877👍, 0💬

How can I read in an object file and jump to locations in it?
How can I read in an object file and jump to locations in it? You want a dynamic linker or loader. It may be possible to malloc some space and read in object files, but you have to know an awful lot about object file formats, relocation, etc., and this approach can't work if code and data reside in ...
2015-03-09, 874👍, 0💬

I need a sort of an approximate strcmp routine ...
I need a sort of an approximate strcmp routine ... Q: I need a sort of an ``approximate'' strcmp routine, for comparing two strings for close, but not necessarily exact, equality. A:Some nice information and algorithms having to do with approximate string matching, as well as a useful bibliography, ...
2015-01-09, 873👍, 0💬

How can I find out how much memory is available?
How can I find out how much memory is available? Your operating system may provide a routine which returns this information, but it's quite system-dependent. (Also, the number may vary over time.) If you're trying to predict whether you'll be able to allocate a certain amount of memory, just try it-...
2015-03-30, 872👍, 0💬

How can I implement a variable field width with printf?
How can I implement a variable field width with printf? That is, instead of something like %8d, I want the width to be specified at run time. printf("%*d", width, x) will do just what you want. The asterisk in the format specifier indicates that an int value from the argument list will be used for t...
2015-11-04, 871👍, 0💬

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