portable bitfields

This is a discussion on portable bitfields within the C++ Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; I want to make some portable bitfield for writing to a file, however from what I've read they are very ...

  1. #1
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1,691

    portable bitfields

    I want to make some portable bitfield for writing to a file, however from what I've read they are very unprotable and have no address. So I was thinking that maybe seperate structers for each bitfield type would fix that problem.
    Code:
    struct sMyVar {
       unsigned field :4;
    };
    
    sMyVar myVar;
    So would a pointer to myVar unltimitaly point to my half byte? Also, would writting 2 of them to a file end of being a complete byte, or a two bytes, half of each of which are blank?
    A class that doesn't overload all operators just isn't finished yet. -- SmugCeePlusPlusWeenie
    A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God. -- Alan J. Perlis

  2. #2
    and the hat of int overfl Salem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The edge of the known universe
    Posts
    32,851
    The problem is, if you try to write myVar to a file, you're going to get all the invisible padding bits as well. Any operation you try on the whole structure will always get all the padding as well.

    Also, there isn't a sure way of knowing what underlying data type the compiler chooses to store bit-fields in. So sizeof(myVar) might be sizeof(char) or sizeof(long).

    Also, there is no way to know (or control) how the bit-fields are arranged. For example, your :4 field might be stored in an unsigned long with a mask of 0xF0000000 or a mask of 0x0000000F.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.
    I support http://www.ukip.org/ as the first necessary step to a free Europe.

  3. #3
    Kernel hacker
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Farncombe, Surrey, England
    Posts
    15,677
    Most compilers will make a 4-bit field take up one byte, where four bits are undefined (not necessarily zero). A second 4-bit field next to it will take up another byte with four unused bits.

    If you want to store 4-bit fields in a file, then you're best of making multiple 4-bit fields into a single structure (2, 4 or 8 for example). I don't think you can make arrays of bitfields - maybe you can - it would certainly make it easier.

    Alternatively, just pack by hand into a 8, 16 or 32-bit integer using shifts - that will have the benefit of being more likely to be portable too - particularly if you expect this code to work on both little-endian and big-endian machines.

    --
    Mats

Popular pages Recent additions subscribe to a feed

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 16
    Last Post: 05-14-2009, 03:48 PM
  2. making it portable.....?
    By ShadeS_07 in forum C Programming
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 12-24-2008, 09:38 AM
  3. C - Portable?
    By vb.bajpai in forum C Programming
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-15-2007, 10:09 AM
  4. which Portable mp3 player?
    By Raihana in forum A Brief History of Cprogramming.com
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 01-09-2004, 07:58 AM
  5. Portable nonbusy hold?
    By Imperito in forum C Programming
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-06-2002, 12:48 PM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21