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<title>SWIG Engineering Manual</title>
<body bgcolor="#ffffff">
<h1>SWIG Engineering Manual</h1>
<b>David Beazley <br>
(Note : This is a work in progress.)
<h2>Table of Contents</h2>
<li><a name="i1" href="#1">1. Introduction</a>
<li><a name="i2" href="#2">2. Programming Languages and Libraries</a>
<li><a name="i3" href="#3">3. The Source Directory and Module Names</a>
<li><a name="i4" href="#4">4. Include Files</a>
<li><a name="i5" href="#5">5. File Structure</a>
<li><a name="i6" href="#6">6. Bottom-Up Design</a>
<li><a name="i7" href="#7">7. Functions</a>
<li><a name="i8" href="#8">8. Naming Conventions</a>
<li><a name="i9" href="#9">9. Visibility</a>
<li><a name="i10" href="#10">10. Miscellaneous Coding Guidelines</a>
<li><a name="i11" href="#11">11. Git Tagging Conventions</a>
<a name="1" href="#i1">
<h2>1. Introduction</h2>
The purpose of this document is to describe various coding conventions
and organizational aspects for SWIG developers. The idea for this
document is largely borrowed from John Ousterhout's Tcl/Tk Engineering
Manual. It is not my intent to overly managerial about matters--rather I'm
hoping to make life a little less chaotic for everyone.
First a little background: SWIG was started in 1995 as a one-person
project and continued in this mode of operation until about 1998.
Most of this development was driven by ideas submitted by early SWIG
users as opposed to being motivated by a grand design. As a result,
the code ended up being a pretty horrible C++ coding disaster. A
mostly working disaster perhaps, but a disaster nonetheless.
With that said, the primary goal of future SWIG development is to
reengineer the original system, fix most of its inherent design flaws,
and to produce what I hope will become a highly extensible and modular
interface compiler framework. To this do this, there are a few
critical areas of work. First, I want to restructure SWIG as a
collection of loosely coupled modules written in either ANSI C or an
scripting language. Second, I want the system to be minimalistic in
its use of data structures and interconnections. The primary reason
for this is that the fewer data structures there are, the less users
will have to remember. This will also make the system more accessible
to non-experts. Finally, I want to reevaluate the whole idea of a
SWIG module is and expand the definition to include just about
anything from parsers, preprocessors, optimizers, interface editors,
and code generators.
The rest of this document outlines a few general rules of how code
should be developed within the SWIG project. These rules are
primarily drawn from my own experience developing software and
observing the practices of other successful projects.
<a name="2" href="#i2">
<h2>2. Programming Languages and Libraries </h2>
All SWIG modules must be written in either ANSI C or one of the
scripting languages for which SWIG can generate an interface (e.g.,
Perl, Python, or Tcl). C++ is currently being used to write
SWIG modules, but it is only being utilized to avoid working with
a lot of pointers to functions. <b>Advanced C++ features like namespaces, templates,
and overloading should not be used.</b>.
Module writers should make every attempt to use only those functions
described in the POSIX.1 standard. This includes most of the
functions contained the Kernighan and Ritchie C programming book. Use
of operating system dependent functionality such as socket libraries
should always be included inside a conditional compilation block so
that it can be omitted on problematic platforms. If you are unsure
about a library call, check the man page or contact Dave.
<a name="3" href="#i3">
<h2>3. The Source Directory and Module Names</h2>
All SWIG modules are contained within the "Source" directory. Within
this directory, each module is placed into its own subdirectory. The
name of this subdirectory should exactly match the name of the module.
For example, if you are creating a module called "Tcl", all of your
files should be placed in a directory "Tcl".
When choosing a module name, please pick a name that is not
currently in use. As a general convention, the first letter of a
module name is capitalized such as "Perl". Alternatives such as
"perl" or "PERL" should be avoided. In certain instances, the first
two letters may be capitalized as in "CParse." The exact usage of
this is somewhat inconsistent and isn't terribly important--just make
sure the first letter is capitalized. Also, module names should not
start with numbers, include underscores or any other special
non-alphanumeric characters.
<a name="5" href="#i5">
<h2>5. File Structure </h2>
Each file in a module should be given a filename that is all lowercase letters
such as "parser.c", not "Parser.c" or "PARSER.c". Please note that filenames
are case-insensitive on Windows so this convention will prevent you from inadvertently
creating two files that differ in case-only.
Each file should include a short abstract and license information
like this:
/* -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
* This file is part of SWIG, which is licensed as a whole under version 3
* (or any later version) of the GNU General Public License. Some additional
* terms also apply to certain portions of SWIG. The full details of the SWIG
* license and copyrights can be found in the LICENSE and COPYRIGHT files
* included with the SWIG source code as distributed by the SWIG developers
* and at
* xxx.c
* This file defines ...
* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- */
#include "swig.h"
/* Declarations */
typedef struct {
int x, y;
} Foo;
/* Private Declarations (used only in this file) */
static int avariable;
/* Functions */
As a general rule, files start to get unmanageable once they exceed
about 2000 lines. Files larger than this should be broken up into
multiple files. Similarly, you should avoid the temptation to create
many small files as this increases compilation time and makes the
directory structure too complicated.
<a name="6" href="#i6">
<h2>6. Bottom-Up Design </h2>
Within each source file, the preferred organization is to use what is
known as "bottom-up" design. Under this scheme, lower-level functions
appear first and the highest level function appears last. The easy
way to remember is that the "main" function of your module should
always appear last in the source file. For example:
/* Simple bottom-up program */
#include &lt;stdio.h&gt;
int foo(int x, int y) {
/* Implement foo */
int bar() {
int main(int argc, char **argv) {
This choice of design is somewhat arbitrary however it has a number of
benefits particular to C. In particular, a bottom-up design generally
eliminates the need to include forward references--resulting in
cleaner code and fewer compilation errors.
<a name="7" href="#i7">
<h2>7. Functions</h2>
All functions should have a function header that gives the function name
and a short description like this:
/* -------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Swig_add_directory()
* Adds a directory to the SWIG search path.
* ------------------------------------------------------------------------- */
Swig_add_directory(DOH *dirname) {
In the function declaration, the return type and any specifiers
(extern or static) should appear on a separate line followed by the
function name and arguments as shown above. The left curly brace
should appear on the same line as the function name.
Function declarations should <b>NOT</b> use the pre-ANSI function
declaration syntax. The ANSI standard has been around long enough for
this to be a non-issue.
<a name="8" href="#i8">
<h2>8. Naming Conventions</h2>
The following conventions are used to name various objects throughout SWIG.
Functions should consist of the module name and the function name separated by an underscore like this:
In general, the module name should match the name of the module
subdirectory and the function name should be in all lowercase with
words separated by underscores.
<h4>Structures and Types</h4>
If your module defines new structures, the structure name should include the name of the
module and the name of the structure appended together like this:
typedef struct SwigScanner {
} SwigScanner;
typedef struct LParseType {
} LParseType;
In this case, both the name of the module and the type should be capitalized. Also, whenever
possible, you should use the "typedef struct Name { ... } Name" form when defining new
data structures.
<h4>Global Variables</h4>
Global variables should be avoided if at all possible. However, if you must use a global
variable, please prepend the module name and use the same naming scheme as for functions.
Constants should be created using #define and should be in all caps like this:
Separate words in a constant should be separated by underscores as with functions.
<h4>Structure members</h4>
Structure members should be in all lower-case and follow the same word-separation convention
as for function names. However, the module name does not have to be included.
For example:
typedef struct SwigScanner {
DOH *text; /* Current token value */
DOH *scanobjs; /* Objects being scanned */
DOH *str; /* Current object being scanned */
char *idstart; /* Optional identifier start characters */
int next_token; /* Next token to be returned */
int start_line; /* Starting line of certain declarations */
int yylen; /* Length of text pushed into text */
DOH *file; /* Current file name */
} SwigScanner;
<h4>Static Functions and Variables </h4>
Static declarations are free to use any naming convention that is appropriate. However, most
existing parts of SWIG use lower-case names and follow the same convention as described for functions.
<a name="9" href="#i9">
<h2>9. Visibility</h2>
Modules should keep the following rules in mind when exposing their internals:
<li>Only publicly accessible functions should be included in the module header file.
<li>All non-static declarations must be prepended with some form of the module name
to avoid potential linker namespace conflicts with other modules.
<li>Modules should not expose global variables or use global variables in their
public interface.
<li>Similarly, modules should discourage the direct manipulation of data contained
within data structures in favor of using function calls instead. For example,
instead of providing a user with a structure like this:
typedef struct Foo {
int line;
} Foo;
It is better to hide the implementation of Foo and provide an
function-call interface like this:
typedef struct Foo Foo;
extern int Foo_getline(Foo *f);
extern void Foo_setline(Foo *f, int line);
Although this results in worse performance, there are many practical
reasons for doing this. The most important reason is that it allows
you to change the internal representation of Foo without breaking all
of the other modules or having to recompile the entire universe after
making your changes.
<a name="10" href="#i10">
<h2>10. Miscellaneous Coding Guidelines</h2>
These are largely covered in the main documentation in the Extending.html file.
<a name="11" href="#i11">
<h2>11. Git Tagging Conventions</h2>
Use <tt>git tag</tt> to declare some set of file revisions as related in some
symbolic way. This eases reference, retrieval and manipulation of these files
later. At the moment (2001/01/16 14:02:53), the conventions are very simple;
let's hope they stay that way!
There are two types of tags, internal (aka personal) and external.
Internal tags are used by SWIG developers primarily, whereas external
tags are used when communicating with people w/ anonymous git access.
<li> Internal tags should start with the developer name and a hyphen.
<li> External tags should start with "rel-".
That's all there is to it. Some example tags:
<li> ttn-pre-xml-patch
<li> ttn-post-xml-patch
<li> ttn-going-on-vacation-so-dutifully-tagging-now
<li> rel-1.3.40
<li> rel-2.0.9
Copyright (C) 1999-2004 SWIG Development Team.