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Why dont C comments nest?
Why don't C comments nest? How am I supposed to comment out code containing comments? Are comments legal inside quoted strings? A: C comments don't nest mostly because PL/I's comments, which C's are borrowed from, don't either. Therefore, it is usually better to ``comment out'' large sections of cod...
2015-01-30, 1185👍, 0💬

Now I am trying to sort an array of structures with qsort ...
Now I'm trying to sort an array of structures with qsort. My comparison function takes pointers to structures, but the compiler complains that the function is of the wrong type for qsort. How can I cast the function pointer to shut off the warning? The conversions must be in the comparison function,...
2015-08-10, 1184👍, 0💬

This program runs perfectly on one machine ...
This program runs perfectly on one machine, but I get weird results on another. Stranger still, adding or removing a debugging printout changes the symptoms... Lots of things could be going wrong; here are a few of the more common things to check: * uninitialized local variables integer overflow, es...
2015-05-27, 1184👍, 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, 1183👍, 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, 1181👍, 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, 1179👍, 0💬

How can I write a generic macro to swap two values?
How can I write a generic macro to swap two values? There is no good answer to this question. If the values are integers, a well-known trick using exclusive-OR could perhaps be used, but it will not work for floating-point values or pointers, or if the two values are the same variable. If the macro ...
2016-02-24, 1178👍, 0💬

Can I use an ifdef in a #define line ...
Can I use an #ifdef in a #define line, to define something two different ways, like this? #define a b \ #ifdef whatever c d #else e f g #endif No. You can't ``run the preprocessor on itself,'' so to speak. What you can do is use one of two completely separate #define lines, depending on the #ifdef s...
2016-02-03, 1178👍, 0💬

Wy compiler is rejecting the simplest possible test programs ...
My compiler is rejecting the simplest possible test programs, with all kinds of syntax errors. It's complaining about the first line of main(int argc, char **argv) { return 0; } Perhaps it is a pre-ANSI compiler, unable to accept function prototypes and the like. If you don't have access to an ANSI ...
2015-12-02, 1178👍, 0💬

How can I handle floating-point exceptions gracefully?
How can I handle floating-point exceptions gracefully? On many systems, you can define a function matherr which will be called when there are certain floating-point errors, such as errors in the math routines in . You may also be able to use signal to catch SIGFPE.
2015-06-21, 1178👍, 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, 1178👍, 0💬

If the assignment operator were ...
If the assignment operator were :=, wouldn't it then be harder to accidentally write things like if(a = b) ? A: Yes, but it would also be just a little bit more cumbersome to type all of the assignment statements which a typical program contains. In any case, it's really too late to be worrying abou...
2015-01-26, 1177👍, 0💬

Why doesnt the call scanf work?
Why doesn't the call scanf("%d", i) work? The arguments you pass to scanf must always be pointers: for each value converted, scanf ``returns'' it by filling in one of the locations you've passed pointers to. To fix the fragment above, change it to scanf("%d", &i) .
2015-11-02, 1176👍, 0💬

Is it legal to pass a null pointer as the first argument to realloc? Why would you want to?
Is it legal to pass a null pointer as the first argument to realloc? Why would you want to? ANSI C sanctions this usage (and the related realloc(..., 0), which frees), although several earlier implementations do not support it, so it may not be fully portable. Passing an initially-null pointer to re...
2016-03-16, 1175👍, 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, 1174👍, 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, 1172👍, 0💬

How can I write a function which takes a variable number of arguments
How can I write a function which takes a variable number of arguments and passes them to some other function (which takes a variable number of arguments)? In general, you cannot. Ideally, you should provide a version of that other function which accepts a va_list pointer. Suppose you want to write a...
2015-06-05, 1171👍, 0💬

Here is a neat trick for checking whether two strings are equal
Q: Here's a neat trick for checking whether two strings are equal: if(!strcmp(s1, s2)) Is this good style? It is not particularly good style, although it is a popular idiom. The test succeeds if the two strings are equal, but the use of ! (``not'') suggests that it tests for inequality. Another opti...
2015-05-15, 1171👍, 0💬

What should malloc0 do? Return a null pointer or a pointer to 0 bytes?
What should malloc0 do? Return a null pointer or a pointer to 0 bytes? The ANSI/ISO Standard says that it may do either; the behavior is implementation-defined Portable code must either take care not to call malloc(0), or be prepared for the possibility of a null return.
2015-12-04, 1170👍, 0💬

Each time I run my program, I get the same sequence of numbers back from rand
Each time I run my program, I get the same sequence of numbers back from rand It's a characteristic of most pseudo-random number generators (and a defined property of the C library rand) that they always start with the same number and go through the same sequence. (Among other things, a bit of predi...
2015-07-29, 1170👍, 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, 1169👍, 0💬

Does the sizeof operator work in preprocessor if directives?
Does the sizeof operator work in preprocessor if directives? No. Preprocessing happens during an earlier phase of compilation, before type names have been parsed. Instead of sizeof, consider using the predefined constants in ANSI's &lt;limits.h>, if applicable, or perhaps a ``configure'' script....
2016-02-03, 1168👍, 0💬

I am sure I've got the trig functions declared correctly, but they are still giving me wrong answers.
I am sure I've got the trig functions declared correctly, but they are still giving me wrong answers. You weren't handing them angles in degrees, were you? C's trig functions (like FORTRAN's and most other languages) accept angles in radians. The conversion from degrees to radians is simple enough: ...
2015-06-29, 1168👍, 0💬

How can I increase the allowable number of simultaneously open files?
I'm getting an error, ``Too many open files''. How can I increase the allowable number of simultaneously open files? A: There are typically at least two resource limitations on the number of simultaneously open files: the number of low-level ``file descriptors'' or ``file handles'' available in the ...
2015-04-03, 1167👍, 0💬

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