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This file describes the necessary functions and interfaces a language module
needs to implement to take advantage of the run time type system. I assume you
have read the run-time section of the Typemaps chapter in the SWIG
Last updated: February 23, 2005
The file we are concerned with here should be named langrun.swg. A good example
of a simple file is the Lib/mzscheme/mzrun.swg file. First, a few requirements
and notes:
1) Every function in this file should be declared static.
2) It should be inserted into the runtime section of the _wrap file from your
config file. The Lib/swigrun.swg file should be included before this file.
That is, you need to have
%runtime "swigrun.swg"
%runtime "langrun.swg"
3) You must also include the swiginit.swg file in the init section of the
wrapper. That is, you should have
%insert(init) "swiginit.swg"
4) From module.cxx, you need to call the SwigType_emit_type_table function, as
well as register types with SwigType_remember or SwigType_remember_clientdata
5) By convention, all functions in this file are of the form
SWIG_Language_Whatever, and #defines are used to rename SWIG API functions to
these function names
6) You need to call void SWIG_InitializeModule(void *clientdata) from your init
7) You need to implement the runtimeCode() and defaultExternalRuntimeFilename()
functions inside module.cxx. runtimeCode should return all the language
specific runtime code as a string, and defaultExternalRuntimeFilename should
return a string for the default name of the external runtime header. This is
usually "swigpyrun.h", where "py" is replaced by the language name. These
two functions are used by the -external-runtime argument.
Required Functions
swig_module_info *SWIG_GetModule(void *clientdata);
void SWIG_SetModule(void *clientdata, swig_module_info *mod);
The SetModule function should store the mod argument into some globally
accessible variable in the target language. The action of these two functions
is to provide a way for multiple modules to share information. The SetModule
function should create a new global var named something like
"swig_runtime_data_type_pointer" SWIG_RUNTIME_VERSION SWIG_TYPE_TABLE_NAME
SWIG_RUNTIME_VERSION is currently defined as "2", and SWIG_TYPE_TABLE_NAME is
defined by the -DSWIG_TYPE_TABLE=mytable option when compiling the wrapper.
Alternatively, if the language supports modules, a module named
"swig_runtime_data" SWIG_RUNTIME_VERSION can be created, and a global variable
named "type_table" SWIG_TYPE_TABLE_NAME can be created inside it. The most
common approach is to store the mod pointer in some global variable in the
target language, but if the language provides an alternative place to store data
then that is good too.
The way the code is set up, SetModule should only be called when GetModule
returns NULL, and if SetModule is called a second time, the behavior is
undefined. Just make sure it doesn't crash in the random chance occurrence that
SetModule is called twice.
There are two options here.
1) The preferred approach is for GetModule and SetModule to not require a
clientdata pointer. If you can at all avoid it, please do so. Here, you would
write swig_module_info *SWIG_Language_GetModule();
void SWIG_Language_SetModule(swig_module_info *mod);
and then add
#define SWIG_GetModule(clientdata) SWIG_Language_GetModule()
#define SWIG_SetModule(cd, ptr) SWIG_Language_SetModule(ptr)
You would then call
2) If GetModule and SetModule need to take a custom pointer (most notably an
environment pointer, see tcl or mzscheme), then you should write
swig_module_info *SWIG_Language_GetModule(void *clientdata)
void SWIG_Language_SetModule(void *clientdata, swig_module_info *mod);
and also define
#define SWIG_GetModule(cd) SWIG_Language_GetModule(cd)
#define SWIG_SetModule(cd, ptr) SWIG_Language_SetModule(cd, ptr)
SWIG_MODULE_CLIENTDATA_TYPE should be defined to whatever the type of
clientdata is.
You would then call SWIG_InitializeModule(clientdata), and clientdata would get
passed to GetModule and SetModule. clientdata will not be stored and will only
be referenced during the InitializeModule call. After InitializeModule returns,
clientdata does not need to be valid any more.
This method is not preferred, because it makes external access to the type
system more complicated. See the Modules chapter of the documentation, and read
the "External access to the run-time" section. Then take a look at
Lib/runtime.swg. Anybody that calls SWIG_TypeQuery needs to pass along the
clientdata pointer, and that is the reason for defining
Standard Functions
These functions are not required and their API is not formalized, but almost all
language modules implement them for consistency across languages. Throughout
this discussion, I will use LangType to represent the underlying language type
(Scheme_Object * in mzscheme, PyObject * in python, etc)
LangObj SWIG_NewPointerObj(void *ptr, swig_type_info *type, int flags);
Create and return a new pointer object that has both ptr and type. For almost
all language modules, flags is used for ownership. If flags==1, then the
created pointer should be registered to be garbage collected.
int SWIG_ConvertPtr(LangType obj, void **result, swig_type_info *type, int flags);
Convert a language wrapped pointer into a void *. The pointer is returned in
result, and the function should return 0 on success, non-zero on error.
A sample ConvertPtr is given here:
swig_cast_info *cast;
if (<obj is a wrapped pointer type>) {
cast = SWIG_TypeCheck(<obj type name>, type);
cast = SWIG_TypeCheckStruct(<obj type structure>, type);
if (cast) {
*result = SWIG_TypeCast(cast, <obj pointer>);
return 0;
return 1;
Either TypeCheck or TypeCheckStruct can be called, depending on how the pointer
is wrapped in langtype. If obj stores the void pointer and the type name, then
the TypeCheck function should be used, while if obj stores the void pointer and
a pointer to the swig_type_info structure, then the TypeCheckStruct function
should be called. The TypeCheckStruct is slightly faster, since it does a
pointer comparison instead of a strcmp.
The flag argument to ConvertPtr is used in some languages for disowning a
pointer. If the wrapped C function is taking ownership of the pointer (that
means, the wrapped C function is responsible for deleting the object), then that
pointer should be removed from the garbage collector. We do that in the
ConvertPtr function. The pointer is still valid in the target language, but
when the target language type is garbage collected, it will not call the
associated destructor. Languages have a special typemap called DISOWN that can be
applied which passes this argument. All the languages have the flags argument
for consistency, and the flags argument can be ignored or used for some other
void *SWIG_MustGetPtr(LangType obj, swig_type_info *type, int flags,
int argnum, const char *func_name) {
void *result;
if (SWIG_ConvertPtr(s, &result, type, flags)) {
generate runtime type error ("Error in func_name, expected a" +
type->str ? type->str : "void *" +
"at argument number" + argnum);
return result;
This function is optional, and the number and type of parameters can be
different, but is useful for typemap purposes:
%typemap(in) SWIGTYPE *, SWIGTYPE &, SWIGTYPE [] {
$1 = ($1_ltype)SWIG_MustGetPtr($input, $descriptor, 0, $argnum, FUNC_NAME);