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       perlxs - XS language reference manual


       XS is an interface description file format used to create an extension interface between
       Perl and C code (or a C library) which one wishes to use with Perl.  The XS interface is
       combined with the library to create a new library which can then be either dynamically
       loaded or statically linked into perl.  The XS interface description is written in the XS
       language and is the core component of the Perl extension interface.

       Before writing XS, read the "CAVEATS" section below.

       An XSUB forms the basic unit of the XS interface.  After compilation by the xsubpp
       compiler, each XSUB amounts to a C function definition which will provide the glue between
       Perl calling conventions and C calling conventions.

       The glue code pulls the arguments from the Perl stack, converts these Perl values to the
       formats expected by a C function, call this C function, transfers the return values of the
       C function back to Perl.  Return values here may be a conventional C return value or any C
       function arguments that may serve as output parameters.  These return values may be passed
       back to Perl either by putting them on the Perl stack, or by modifying the arguments
       supplied from the Perl side.

       The above is a somewhat simplified view of what really happens.  Since Perl allows more
       flexible calling conventions than C, XSUBs may do much more in practice, such as checking
       input parameters for validity, throwing exceptions (or returning undef/empty list) if the
       return value from the C function indicates failure, calling different C functions based on
       numbers and types of the arguments, providing an object-oriented interface, etc.

       Of course, one could write such glue code directly in C.  However, this would be a tedious
       task, especially if one needs to write glue for multiple C functions, and/or one is not
       familiar enough with the Perl stack discipline and other such arcana.  XS comes to the
       rescue here: instead of writing this glue C code in long-hand, one can write a more
       concise short-hand description of what should be done by the glue, and let the XS compiler
       xsubpp handle the rest.

       The XS language allows one to describe the mapping between how the C routine is used, and
       how the corresponding Perl routine is used.  It also allows creation of Perl routines
       which are directly translated to C code and which are not related to a pre-existing C
       function.  In cases when the C interface coincides with the Perl interface, the XSUB
       declaration is almost identical to a declaration of a C function (in K&R style).  In such
       circumstances, there is another tool called "h2xs" that is able to translate an entire C
       header file into a corresponding XS file that will provide glue to the functions/macros
       described in the header file.

       The XS compiler is called xsubpp.  This compiler creates the constructs necessary to let
       an XSUB manipulate Perl values, and creates the glue necessary to let Perl call the XSUB.
       The compiler uses typemaps to determine how to map C function parameters and output values
       to Perl values and back.  The default typemap (which comes with Perl) handles many common
       C types.  A supplementary typemap may also be needed to handle any special structures and
       types for the library being linked. For more information on typemaps, see perlxstypemap.

       A file in XS format starts with a C language section which goes until the first "MODULE ="
       directive.  Other XS directives and XSUB definitions may follow this line.  The "language"
       used in this part of the file is usually referred to as the XS language.  xsubpp
       recognizes and skips POD (see perlpod) in both the C and XS language sections, which
       allows the XS file to contain embedded documentation.

       See perlxstut for a tutorial on the whole extension creation process.

       Note: For some extensions, Dave Beazley's SWIG system may provide a significantly more
       convenient mechanism for creating the extension glue code.  See <> for
       more information.

   On The Road
       Many of the examples which follow will concentrate on creating an interface between Perl
       and the ONC+ RPC bind library functions.  The rpcb_gettime() function is used to
       demonstrate many features of the XS language.  This function has two parameters; the first
       is an input parameter and the second is an output parameter.  The function also returns a
       status value.

               bool_t rpcb_gettime(const char *host, time_t *timep);

       From C this function will be called with the following statements.

            #include <rpc/rpc.h>
            bool_t status;
            time_t timep;
            status = rpcb_gettime( "localhost", &timep );

       If an XSUB is created to offer a direct translation between this function and Perl, then
       this XSUB will be used from Perl with the following code.  The $status and $timep
       variables will contain the output of the function.

            use RPC;
            $status = rpcb_gettime( "localhost", $timep );

       The following XS file shows an XS subroutine, or XSUB, which demonstrates one possible
       interface to the rpcb_gettime() function.  This XSUB represents a direct translation
       between C and Perl and so preserves the interface even from Perl.  This XSUB will be
       invoked from Perl with the usage shown above.  Note that the first three #include
       statements, for "EXTERN.h", "perl.h", and "XSUB.h", will always be present at the
       beginning of an XS file.  This approach and others will be expanded later in this
       document.  A #define for "PERL_NO_GET_CONTEXT" should be present to fetch the interpreter
       context more efficiently, see perlguts for details.

            #define PERL_NO_GET_CONTEXT
            #include "EXTERN.h"
            #include "perl.h"
            #include "XSUB.h"
            #include <rpc/rpc.h>

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPC

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep

       Any extension to Perl, including those containing XSUBs, should have a Perl module to
       serve as the bootstrap which pulls the extension into Perl.  This module will export the
       extension's functions and variables to the Perl program and will cause the extension's
       XSUBs to be linked into Perl.  The following module will be used for most of the examples
       in this document and should be used from Perl with the "use" command as shown earlier.
       Perl modules are explained in more detail later in this document.

            package RPC;

            require Exporter;
            require DynaLoader;
            @ISA = qw(Exporter DynaLoader);
            @EXPORT = qw( rpcb_gettime );

            bootstrap RPC;

       Throughout this document a variety of interfaces to the rpcb_gettime() XSUB will be
       explored.  The XSUBs will take their parameters in different orders or will take different
       numbers of parameters.  In each case the XSUB is an abstraction between Perl and the real
       C rpcb_gettime() function, and the XSUB must always ensure that the real rpcb_gettime()
       function is called with the correct parameters.  This abstraction will allow the
       programmer to create a more Perl-like interface to the C function.

   The Anatomy of an XSUB
       The simplest XSUBs consist of 3 parts: a description of the return value, the name of the
       XSUB routine and the names of its arguments, and a description of types or formats of the

       The following XSUB allows a Perl program to access a C library function called sin().  The
       XSUB will imitate the C function which takes a single argument and returns a single value.

              double x

       Optionally, one can merge the description of types and the list of argument names,
       rewriting this as

            sin(double x)

       This makes this XSUB look similar to an ANSI C declaration.  An optional semicolon is
       allowed after the argument list, as in

            sin(double x);

       Parameters with C pointer types can have different semantic: C functions with similar

            bool string_looks_as_a_number(char *s);
            bool make_char_uppercase(char *c);

       are used in absolutely incompatible manner.  Parameters to these functions could be
       described xsubpp like this:

            char *  s
            char    &c

       Both these XS declarations correspond to the "char*" C type, but they have different
       semantics, see "The & Unary Operator".

       It is convenient to think that the indirection operator "*" should be considered as a part
       of the type and the address operator "&" should be considered part of the variable.  See
       perlxstypemap for more info about handling qualifiers and unary operators in C types.

       The function name and the return type must be placed on separate lines and should be flush

         INCORRECT                        CORRECT

         double sin(x)                    double
           double x                       sin(x)
                                            double x

       The rest of the function description may be indented or left-adjusted. The following
       example shows a function with its body left-adjusted.  Most examples in this document will
       indent the body for better readability.


         double x

       More complicated XSUBs may contain many other sections.  Each section of an XSUB starts
       with the corresponding keyword, such as INIT: or CLEANUP:.  However, the first two lines
       of an XSUB always contain the same data: descriptions of the return type and the names of
       the function and its parameters.  Whatever immediately follows these is considered to be
       an INPUT: section unless explicitly marked with another keyword.  (See "The INPUT:

       An XSUB section continues until another section-start keyword is found.

   The Argument Stack
       The Perl argument stack is used to store the values which are sent as parameters to the
       XSUB and to store the XSUB's return value(s).  In reality all Perl functions (including
       non-XSUB ones) keep their values on this stack all the same time, each limited to its own
       range of positions on the stack.  In this document the first position on that stack which
       belongs to the active function will be referred to as position 0 for that function.

       XSUBs refer to their stack arguments with the macro ST(x), where x refers to a position in
       this XSUB's part of the stack.  Position 0 for that function would be known to the XSUB as
       ST(0).  The XSUB's incoming parameters and outgoing return values always begin at ST(0).
       For many simple cases the xsubpp compiler will generate the code necessary to handle the
       argument stack by embedding code fragments found in the typemaps.  In more complex cases
       the programmer must supply the code.

   The RETVAL Variable
       The RETVAL variable is a special C variable that is declared automatically for you.  The C
       type of RETVAL matches the return type of the C library function.  The xsubpp compiler
       will declare this variable in each XSUB with non-"void" return type.  By default the
       generated C function will use RETVAL to hold the return value of the C library function
       being called.  In simple cases the value of RETVAL will be placed in ST(0) of the argument
       stack where it can be received by Perl as the return value of the XSUB.

       If the XSUB has a return type of "void" then the compiler will not declare a RETVAL
       variable for that function.  When using a PPCODE: section no manipulation of the RETVAL
       variable is required, the section may use direct stack manipulation to place output values
       on the stack.

       If PPCODE: directive is not used, "void" return value should be used only for subroutines
       which do not return a value, even if CODE: directive is used which sets ST(0) explicitly.

       Older versions of this document recommended to use "void" return value in such cases. It
       was discovered that this could lead to segfaults in cases when XSUB was truly "void". This
       practice is now deprecated, and may be not supported at some future version. Use the
       return value "SV *" in such cases. (Currently "xsubpp" contains some heuristic code which
       tries to disambiguate between "truly-void" and "old-practice-declared-as-void" functions.
       Hence your code is at mercy of this heuristics unless you use "SV *" as return value.)

   Returning SVs, AVs and HVs through RETVAL
       When you're using RETVAL to return an "SV *", there's some magic going on behind the
       scenes that should be mentioned. When you're manipulating the argument stack using the
       ST(x) macro, for example, you usually have to pay special attention to reference counts.
       (For more about reference counts, see perlguts.) To make your life easier, the typemap
       file automatically makes "RETVAL" mortal when you're returning an "SV *". Thus, the
       following two XSUBs are more or less equivalent:

                 ST(0) = newSVpv("Hello World",0);

         SV *
                 RETVAL = newSVpv("Hello World",0);

       This is quite useful as it usually improves readability. While this works fine for an "SV
       *", it's unfortunately not as easy to have "AV *" or "HV *" as a return value. You should
       be able to write:

         AV *
                 RETVAL = newAV();
                 /* do something with RETVAL */

       But due to an unfixable bug (fixing it would break lots of existing CPAN modules) in the
       typemap file, the reference count of the "AV *" is not properly decremented. Thus, the
       above XSUB would leak memory whenever it is being called. The same problem exists for "HV
       *", "CV *", and "SVREF" (which indicates a scalar reference, not a general "SV *").  In XS
       code on perls starting with perl 5.16, you can override the typemaps for any of these
       types with a version that has proper handling of refcounts. In your "TYPEMAP" section, do


       to get the repaired variant. For backward compatibility with older versions of perl, you
       can instead decrement the reference count manually when you're returning one of the
       aforementioned types using "sv_2mortal":

         AV *
                 RETVAL = newAV();
                 /* do something with RETVAL */

       Remember that you don't have to do this for an "SV *". The reference documentation for all
       core typemaps can be found in perlxstypemap.

   The MODULE Keyword
       The MODULE keyword is used to start the XS code and to specify the package of the
       functions which are being defined.  All text preceding the first MODULE keyword is
       considered C code and is passed through to the output with POD stripped, but otherwise
       untouched.  Every XS module will have a bootstrap function which is used to hook the XSUBs
       into Perl.  The package name of this bootstrap function will match the value of the last
       MODULE statement in the XS source files.  The value of MODULE should always remain
       constant within the same XS file, though this is not required.

       The following example will start the XS code and will place all functions in a package
       named RPC.

            MODULE = RPC

   The PACKAGE Keyword
       When functions within an XS source file must be separated into packages the PACKAGE
       keyword should be used.  This keyword is used with the MODULE keyword and must follow
       immediately after it when used.

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPC

            [ XS code in package RPC ]

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPCB

            [ XS code in package RPCB ]

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPC

            [ XS code in package RPC ]

       The same package name can be used more than once, allowing for non-contiguous code. This
       is useful if you have a stronger ordering principle than package names.

       Although this keyword is optional and in some cases provides redundant information it
       should always be used.  This keyword will ensure that the XSUBs appear in the desired

   The PREFIX Keyword
       The PREFIX keyword designates prefixes which should be removed from the Perl function
       names.  If the C function is "rpcb_gettime()" and the PREFIX value is "rpcb_" then Perl
       will see this function as "gettime()".

       This keyword should follow the PACKAGE keyword when used.  If PACKAGE is not used then
       PREFIX should follow the MODULE keyword.

            MODULE = RPC  PREFIX = rpc_

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPCB  PREFIX = rpcb_

   The OUTPUT: Keyword
       The OUTPUT: keyword indicates that certain function parameters should be updated (new
       values made visible to Perl) when the XSUB terminates or that certain values should be
       returned to the calling Perl function.  For simple functions which have no CODE: or
       PPCODE: section, such as the sin() function above, the RETVAL variable is automatically
       designated as an output value.  For more complex functions the xsubpp compiler will need
       help to determine which variables are output variables.

       This keyword will normally be used to complement the CODE: keyword.  The RETVAL variable
       is not recognized as an output variable when the CODE: keyword is present.  The OUTPUT:
       keyword is used in this situation to tell the compiler that RETVAL really is an output

       The OUTPUT: keyword can also be used to indicate that function parameters are output
       variables.  This may be necessary when a parameter has been modified within the function
       and the programmer would like the update to be seen by Perl.

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep

       The OUTPUT: keyword will also allow an output parameter to be mapped to a matching piece
       of code rather than to a typemap.

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep
                 timep sv_setnv(ST(1), (double)timep);

       xsubpp emits an automatic "SvSETMAGIC()" for all parameters in the OUTPUT section of the
       XSUB, except RETVAL.  This is the usually desired behavior, as it takes care of properly
       invoking 'set' magic on output parameters (needed for hash or array element parameters
       that must be created if they didn't exist).  If for some reason, this behavior is not
       desired, the OUTPUT section may contain a "SETMAGIC: DISABLE" line to disable it for the
       remainder of the parameters in the OUTPUT section.  Likewise, "SETMAGIC: ENABLE" can be
       used to reenable it for the remainder of the OUTPUT section.  See perlguts for more
       details about 'set' magic.

   The NO_OUTPUT Keyword
       The NO_OUTPUT can be placed as the first token of the XSUB.  This keyword indicates that
       while the C subroutine we provide an interface to has a non-"void" return type, the return
       value of this C subroutine should not be returned from the generated Perl subroutine.

       With this keyword present "The RETVAL Variable" is created, and in the generated call to
       the subroutine this variable is assigned to, but the value of this variable is not going
       to be used in the auto-generated code.

       This keyword makes sense only if "RETVAL" is going to be accessed by the user-supplied
       code.  It is especially useful to make a function interface more Perl-like, especially
       when the C return value is just an error condition indicator.  For example,

         NO_OUTPUT int
         delete_file(char *name)
             if (RETVAL != 0)
                 croak("Error %d while deleting file '%s'", RETVAL, name);

       Here the generated XS function returns nothing on success, and will die() with a
       meaningful error message on error.

   The CODE: Keyword
       This keyword is used in more complicated XSUBs which require special handling for the C
       function.  The RETVAL variable is still declared, but it will not be returned unless it is
       specified in the OUTPUT: section.

       The following XSUB is for a C function which requires special handling of its parameters.
       The Perl usage is given first.

            $status = rpcb_gettime( "localhost", $timep );

       The XSUB follows.

                 char *host
                 time_t timep
                      RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );

   The INIT: Keyword
       The INIT: keyword allows initialization to be inserted into the XSUB before the compiler
       generates the call to the C function.  Unlike the CODE: keyword above, this keyword does
       not affect the way the compiler handles RETVAL.

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep
                 printf("# Host is %s\n", host );

       Another use for the INIT: section is to check for preconditions before making a call to
       the C function:

           long long
               long long a
               long long b
               if (a == 0 && b == 0)
               if (b == 0)
                   croak("lldiv: cannot divide by 0");

   The NO_INIT Keyword
       The NO_INIT keyword is used to indicate that a function parameter is being used only as an
       output value.  The xsubpp compiler will normally generate code to read the values of all
       function parameters from the argument stack and assign them to C variables upon entry to
       the function.  NO_INIT will tell the compiler that some parameters will be used for output
       rather than for input and that they will be handled before the function terminates.

       The following example shows a variation of the rpcb_gettime() function.  This function
       uses the timep variable only as an output variable and does not care about its initial

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep = NO_INIT

   The TYPEMAP: Keyword
       Starting with Perl 5.16, you can embed typemaps into your XS code instead of or in
       addition to typemaps in a separate file.  Multiple such embedded typemaps will be
       processed in order of appearance in the XS code and like local typemap files take
       precedence over the default typemap, the embedded typemaps may overwrite previous
       definitions of TYPEMAP, INPUT, and OUTPUT stanzas.  The syntax for embedded typemaps is

             TYPEMAP: <<HERE
             ... your typemap code here ...

       where the "TYPEMAP" keyword must appear in the first column of a new line.

       Refer to perlxstypemap for details on writing typemaps.

   Initializing Function Parameters
       C function parameters are normally initialized with their values from the argument stack
       (which in turn contains the parameters that were passed to the XSUB from Perl).  The
       typemaps contain the code segments which are used to translate the Perl values to the C
       parameters.  The programmer, however, is allowed to override the typemaps and supply
       alternate (or additional) initialization code.  Initialization code starts with the first
       "=", ";" or "+" on a line in the INPUT: section.  The only exception happens if this ";"
       terminates the line, then this ";" is quietly ignored.

       The following code demonstrates how to supply initialization code for function parameters.
       The initialization code is eval'ed within double quotes by the compiler before it is added
       to the output so anything which should be interpreted literally [mainly "$", "@", or "\\"]
       must be protected with backslashes.  The variables $var, $arg, and $type can be used as in

                 char *host = (char *)SvPV_nolen($arg);
                 time_t &timep = 0;

       This should not be used to supply default values for parameters.  One would normally use
       this when a function parameter must be processed by another library function before it can
       be used.  Default parameters are covered in the next section.

       If the initialization begins with "=", then it is output in the declaration for the input
       variable, replacing the initialization supplied by the typemap.  If the initialization
       begins with ";" or "+", then it is performed after all of the input variables have been
       declared.  In the ";" case the initialization normally supplied by the typemap is not
       performed.  For the "+" case, the declaration for the variable will include the
       initialization from the typemap.  A global variable, %v, is available for the truly rare
       case where information from one initialization is needed in another initialization.

       Here's a truly obscure example:

                 time_t &timep; /* \$v{timep}=@{[$v{timep}=$arg]} */
                 char *host + SvOK($v{timep}) ? SvPV_nolen($arg) : NULL;

       The construct "\$v{timep}=@{[$v{timep}=$arg]}" used in the above example has a two-fold
       purpose: first, when this line is processed by xsubpp, the Perl snippet "$v{timep}=$arg"
       is evaluated.  Second, the text of the evaluated snippet is output into the generated C
       file (inside a C comment)!  During the processing of "char *host" line, $arg will evaluate
       to ST(0), and $v{timep} will evaluate to ST(1).

   Default Parameter Values
       Default values for XSUB arguments can be specified by placing an assignment statement in
       the parameter list.  The default value may be a number, a string or the special string
       "NO_INIT".  Defaults should always be used on the right-most parameters only.

       To allow the XSUB for rpcb_gettime() to have a default host value the parameters to the
       XSUB could be rearranged.  The XSUB will then call the real rpcb_gettime() function with
       the parameters in the correct order.  This XSUB can be called from Perl with either of the
       following statements:

            $status = rpcb_gettime( $timep, $host );

            $status = rpcb_gettime( $timep );

       The XSUB will look like the code which follows.  A CODE: block is used to call the real
       rpcb_gettime() function with the parameters in the correct order for that function.

                 char *host
                 time_t timep = NO_INIT
                      RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );

   The PREINIT: Keyword
       The PREINIT: keyword allows extra variables to be declared immediately before or after the
       declarations of the parameters from the INPUT: section are emitted.

       If a variable is declared inside a CODE: section it will follow any typemap code that is
       emitted for the input parameters.  This may result in the declaration ending up after C
       code, which is C syntax error.  Similar errors may happen with an explicit ";"-type or
       "+"-type initialization of parameters is used (see "Initializing Function Parameters").
       Declaring these variables in an INIT: section will not help.

       In such cases, to force an additional variable to be declared together with declarations
       of other variables, place the declaration into a PREINIT: section.  The PREINIT: keyword
       may be used one or more times within an XSUB.

       The following examples are equivalent, but if the code is using complex typemaps then the
       first example is safer.

                 time_t timep = NO_INIT
                 char *host = "localhost";
                 RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );

       For this particular case an INIT: keyword would generate the same C code as the PREINIT:
       keyword.  Another correct, but error-prone example:

                 time_t timep = NO_INIT
                 char *host = "localhost";
                 RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );

       Another way to declare "host" is to use a C block in the CODE: section:

                 time_t timep = NO_INIT
                   char *host = "localhost";
                   RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );

       The ability to put additional declarations before the typemap entries are processed is
       very handy in the cases when typemap conversions manipulate some global state:

                   MyState st = global_state;
                   MyObject o;
                   reset_to(global_state, st);

       Here we suppose that conversion to "MyObject" in the INPUT: section and from MyObject when
       processing RETVAL will modify a global variable "global_state".  After these conversions
       are performed, we restore the old value of "global_state" (to avoid memory leaks, for

       There is another way to trade clarity for compactness: INPUT sections allow declaration of
       C variables which do not appear in the parameter list of a subroutine.  Thus the above
       code for mutate() can be rewritten as

                 MyState st = global_state;
                 MyObject o;
                 reset_to(global_state, st);

       and the code for rpcb_gettime() can be rewritten as

                 time_t timep = NO_INIT
                 char *host = "localhost";
                 host, &timep

   The SCOPE: Keyword
       The SCOPE: keyword allows scoping to be enabled for a particular XSUB. If enabled, the
       XSUB will invoke ENTER and LEAVE automatically.

       To support potentially complex type mappings, if a typemap entry used by an XSUB contains
       a comment like "/*scope*/" then scoping will be automatically enabled for that XSUB.

       To enable scoping:

           SCOPE: ENABLE

       To disable scoping:

           SCOPE: DISABLE

   The INPUT: Keyword
       The XSUB's parameters are usually evaluated immediately after entering the XSUB.  The
       INPUT: keyword can be used to force those parameters to be evaluated a little later.  The
       INPUT: keyword can be used multiple times within an XSUB and can be used to list one or
       more input variables.  This keyword is used with the PREINIT: keyword.

       The following example shows how the input parameter "timep" can be evaluated late, after a

                 char *host
                 time_t tt;
                 time_t timep
                      RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &tt );
                      timep = tt;

       The next example shows each input parameter evaluated late.

                 time_t tt;
                 char *host
                 char *h;
                 time_t timep
                      h = host;
                      RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( h, &tt );
                      timep = tt;

       Since INPUT sections allow declaration of C variables which do not appear in the parameter
       list of a subroutine, this may be shortened to:

                 time_t tt;
                 char *host;
                 char *h = host;
                 time_t timep;
                 RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( h, &tt );
                 timep = tt;

       (We used our knowledge that input conversion for "char *" is a "simple" one, thus "host"
       is initialized on the declaration line, and our assignment "h = host" is not performed too
       early.  Otherwise one would need to have the assignment "h = host" in a CODE: or INIT:

       In the list of parameters for an XSUB, one can precede parameter names by the
       "IN"/"OUTLIST"/"IN_OUTLIST"/"OUT"/"IN_OUT" keywords.  "IN" keyword is the default, the
       other keywords indicate how the Perl interface should differ from the C interface.

       Parameters preceded by "OUTLIST"/"IN_OUTLIST"/"OUT"/"IN_OUT" keywords are considered to be
       used by the C subroutine via pointers.  "OUTLIST"/"OUT" keywords indicate that the C
       subroutine does not inspect the memory pointed by this parameter, but will write through
       this pointer to provide additional return values.

       Parameters preceded by "OUTLIST" keyword do not appear in the usage signature of the
       generated Perl function.

       Parameters preceded by "IN_OUTLIST"/"IN_OUT"/"OUT" do appear as parameters to the Perl
       function.  With the exception of "OUT"-parameters, these parameters are converted to the
       corresponding C type, then pointers to these data are given as arguments to the C
       function.  It is expected that the C function will write through these pointers.

       The return list of the generated Perl function consists of the C return value from the
       function (unless the XSUB is of "void" return type or "The NO_OUTPUT Keyword" was used)
       followed by all the "OUTLIST" and "IN_OUTLIST" parameters (in the order of appearance).
       On the return from the XSUB the "IN_OUT"/"OUT" Perl parameter will be modified to have the
       values written by the C function.

       For example, an XSUB

         day_month(OUTLIST day, IN unix_time, OUTLIST month)
           int day
           int unix_time
           int month

       should be used from Perl as

         my ($day, $month) = day_month(time);

       The C signature of the corresponding function should be

         void day_month(int *day, int unix_time, int *month);

       The "IN"/"OUTLIST"/"IN_OUTLIST"/"IN_OUT"/"OUT" keywords can be mixed with ANSI-style
       declarations, as in

         day_month(OUTLIST int day, int unix_time, OUTLIST int month)

       (here the optional "IN" keyword is omitted).

       The "IN_OUT" parameters are identical with parameters introduced with "The & Unary
       Operator" and put into the "OUTPUT:" section (see "The OUTPUT: Keyword").  The
       "IN_OUTLIST" parameters are very similar, the only difference being that the value C
       function writes through the pointer would not modify the Perl parameter, but is put in the
       output list.

       The "OUTLIST"/"OUT" parameter differ from "IN_OUTLIST"/"IN_OUT" parameters only by the
       initial value of the Perl parameter not being read (and not being given to the C function
       - which gets some garbage instead).  For example, the same C function as above can be
       interfaced with as

         void day_month(OUT int day, int unix_time, OUT int month);


         day_month(day, unix_time, month)
             int &day = NO_INIT
             int  unix_time
             int &month = NO_INIT

       However, the generated Perl function is called in very C-ish style:

         my ($day, $month);
         day_month($day, time, $month);

   The "length(NAME)" Keyword
       If one of the input arguments to the C function is the length of a string argument "NAME",
       one can substitute the name of the length-argument by "length(NAME)" in the XSUB
       declaration.  This argument must be omitted when the generated Perl function is called.

         dump_chars(char *s, short l)
           short n = 0;
           while (n < l) {
               printf("s[%d] = \"\\%#03o\"\n", n, (int)s[n]);

         MODULE = x            PACKAGE = x

         void dump_chars(char *s, short length(s))

       should be called as "dump_chars($string)".

       This directive is supported with ANSI-type function declarations only.

   Variable-length Parameter Lists
       XSUBs can have variable-length parameter lists by specifying an ellipsis "(...)" in the
       parameter list.  This use of the ellipsis is similar to that found in ANSI C.  The
       programmer is able to determine the number of arguments passed to the XSUB by examining
       the "items" variable which the xsubpp compiler supplies for all XSUBs.  By using this
       mechanism one can create an XSUB which accepts a list of parameters of unknown length.

       The host parameter for the rpcb_gettime() XSUB can be optional so the ellipsis can be used
       to indicate that the XSUB will take a variable number of parameters.  Perl should be able
       to call this XSUB with either of the following statements.

            $status = rpcb_gettime( $timep, $host );

            $status = rpcb_gettime( $timep );

       The XS code, with ellipsis, follows.

            rpcb_gettime(timep, ...)
                 time_t timep = NO_INIT
                 char *host = "localhost";
                 if( items > 1 )
                      host = (char *)SvPV_nolen(ST(1));
                 RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );

   The C_ARGS: Keyword
       The C_ARGS: keyword allows creating of XSUBS which have different calling sequence from
       Perl than from C, without a need to write CODE: or PPCODE: section.  The contents of the
       C_ARGS: paragraph is put as the argument to the called C function without any change.

       For example, suppose that a C function is declared as

           symbolic nth_derivative(int n, symbolic function, int flags);

       and that the default flags are kept in a global C variable "default_flags".  Suppose that
       you want to create an interface which is called as

           $second_deriv = $function->nth_derivative(2);

       To do this, declare the XSUB as

           nth_derivative(function, n)
               symbolic        function
               int             n
               n, function, default_flags

   The PPCODE: Keyword
       The PPCODE: keyword is an alternate form of the CODE: keyword and is used to tell the
       xsubpp compiler that the programmer is supplying the code to control the argument stack
       for the XSUBs return values.  Occasionally one will want an XSUB to return a list of
       values rather than a single value.  In these cases one must use PPCODE: and then
       explicitly push the list of values on the stack.  The PPCODE: and CODE: keywords should
       not be used together within the same XSUB.

       The actual difference between PPCODE: and CODE: sections is in the initialization of "SP"
       macro (which stands for the current Perl stack pointer), and in the handling of data on
       the stack when returning from an XSUB.  In CODE: sections SP preserves the value which was
       on entry to the XSUB: SP is on the function pointer (which follows the last parameter).
       In PPCODE: sections SP is moved backward to the beginning of the parameter list, which
       allows "PUSH*()" macros to place output values in the place Perl expects them to be when
       the XSUB returns back to Perl.

       The generated trailer for a CODE: section ensures that the number of return values Perl
       will see is either 0 or 1 (depending on the "void"ness of the return value of the C
       function, and heuristics mentioned in "The RETVAL Variable").  The trailer generated for a
       PPCODE: section is based on the number of return values and on the number of times "SP"
       was updated by "[X]PUSH*()" macros.

       Note that macros ST(i), "XST_m*()" and "XSRETURN*()" work equally well in CODE: sections
       and PPCODE: sections.

       The following XSUB will call the C rpcb_gettime() function and will return its two output
       values, timep and status, to Perl as a single list.

                 char *host
                 time_t  timep;
                 bool_t  status;
                 status = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );
                 EXTEND(SP, 2);

       Notice that the programmer must supply the C code necessary to have the real
       rpcb_gettime() function called and to have the return values properly placed on the
       argument stack.

       The "void" return type for this function tells the xsubpp compiler that the RETVAL
       variable is not needed or used and that it should not be created.  In most scenarios the
       void return type should be used with the PPCODE: directive.

       The EXTEND() macro is used to make room on the argument stack for 2 return values.  The
       PPCODE: directive causes the xsubpp compiler to create a stack pointer available as "SP",
       and it is this pointer which is being used in the EXTEND() macro.  The values are then
       pushed onto the stack with the PUSHs() macro.

       Now the rpcb_gettime() function can be used from Perl with the following statement.

            ($status, $timep) = rpcb_gettime("localhost");

       When handling output parameters with a PPCODE section, be sure to handle 'set' magic
       properly.  See perlguts for details about 'set' magic.

   Returning Undef And Empty Lists
       Occasionally the programmer will want to return simply "undef" or an empty list if a
       function fails rather than a separate status value.  The rpcb_gettime() function offers
       just this situation.  If the function succeeds we would like to have it return the time
       and if it fails we would like to have undef returned.  In the following Perl code the
       value of $timep will either be undef or it will be a valid time.

            $timep = rpcb_gettime( "localhost" );

       The following XSUB uses the "SV *" return type as a mnemonic only, and uses a CODE: block
       to indicate to the compiler that the programmer has supplied all the necessary code.  The
       sv_newmortal() call will initialize the return value to undef, making that the default
       return value.

            SV *
                 char *  host
                 time_t  timep;
                 bool_t x;
                 ST(0) = sv_newmortal();
                 if( rpcb_gettime( host, &timep ) )
                      sv_setnv( ST(0), (double)timep);

       The next example demonstrates how one would place an explicit undef in the return value,
       should the need arise.

            SV *
                 char *  host
                 time_t  timep;
                 bool_t x;
                 if( rpcb_gettime( host, &timep ) ){
                      ST(0) = sv_newmortal();
                      sv_setnv( ST(0), (double)timep);
                      ST(0) = &PL_sv_undef;

       To return an empty list one must use a PPCODE: block and then not push return values on
       the stack.

                 char *host
                 time_t  timep;
                 if( rpcb_gettime( host, &timep ) )
                     /* Nothing pushed on stack, so an empty
                      * list is implicitly returned. */

       Some people may be inclined to include an explicit "return" in the above XSUB, rather than
       letting control fall through to the end.  In those situations "XSRETURN_EMPTY" should be
       used, instead.  This will ensure that the XSUB stack is properly adjusted.  Consult
       perlapi for other "XSRETURN" macros.

       Since "XSRETURN_*" macros can be used with CODE blocks as well, one can rewrite this
       example as:

                 char *host
                 time_t  timep;
                 RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );
                 if (RETVAL == 0)

       In fact, one can put this check into a POSTCALL: section as well.  Together with PREINIT:
       simplifications, this leads to:

                 char *host
                 time_t  timep;
                 if (RETVAL == 0)

   The REQUIRE: Keyword
       The REQUIRE: keyword is used to indicate the minimum version of the xsubpp compiler needed
       to compile the XS module.  An XS module which contains the following statement will
       compile with only xsubpp version 1.922 or greater:

               REQUIRE: 1.922

   The CLEANUP: Keyword
       This keyword can be used when an XSUB requires special cleanup procedures before it
       terminates.  When the CLEANUP: keyword is used it must follow any CODE:, or OUTPUT: blocks
       which are present in the XSUB.  The code specified for the cleanup block will be added as
       the last statements in the XSUB.

   The POSTCALL: Keyword
       This keyword can be used when an XSUB requires special procedures executed after the C
       subroutine call is performed.  When the POSTCALL: keyword is used it must precede OUTPUT:
       and CLEANUP: blocks which are present in the XSUB.

       See examples in "The NO_OUTPUT Keyword" and "Returning Undef And Empty Lists".

       The POSTCALL: block does not make a lot of sense when the C subroutine call is supplied by
       user by providing either CODE: or PPCODE: section.

   The BOOT: Keyword
       The BOOT: keyword is used to add code to the extension's bootstrap function.  The
       bootstrap function is generated by the xsubpp compiler and normally holds the statements
       necessary to register any XSUBs with Perl.  With the BOOT: keyword the programmer can tell
       the compiler to add extra statements to the bootstrap function.

       This keyword may be used any time after the first MODULE keyword and should appear on a
       line by itself.  The first blank line after the keyword will terminate the code block.

            # The following message will be printed when the
            # bootstrap function executes.
            printf("Hello from the bootstrap!\n");

   The VERSIONCHECK: Keyword
       The VERSIONCHECK: keyword corresponds to xsubpp's "-versioncheck" and "-noversioncheck"
       options.  This keyword overrides the command line options.  Version checking is enabled by
       default.  When version checking is enabled the XS module will attempt to verify that its
       version matches the version of the PM module.

       To enable version checking:


       To disable version checking:


       Note that if the version of the PM module is an NV (a floating point number), it will be
       stringified with a possible loss of precision (currently chopping to nine decimal places)
       so that it may not match the version of the XS module anymore. Quoting the $VERSION
       declaration to make it a string is recommended if long version numbers are used.

   The PROTOTYPES: Keyword
       The PROTOTYPES: keyword corresponds to xsubpp's "-prototypes" and "-noprototypes" options.
       This keyword overrides the command line options.  Prototypes are disabled by default.
       When prototypes are enabled, XSUBs will be given Perl prototypes.  This keyword may be
       used multiple times in an XS module to enable and disable prototypes for different parts
       of the module.  Note that xsubpp will nag you if you don't explicitly enable or disable
       prototypes, with:

           Please specify prototyping behavior for Foo.xs (see perlxs manual)

       To enable prototypes:


       To disable prototypes:


   The PROTOTYPE: Keyword
       This keyword is similar to the PROTOTYPES: keyword above but can be used to force xsubpp
       to use a specific prototype for the XSUB.  This keyword overrides all other prototype
       options and keywords but affects only the current XSUB.  Consult "Prototypes" in perlsub
       for information about Perl prototypes.

           rpcb_gettime(timep, ...)
                 time_t timep = NO_INIT
               PROTOTYPE: $;$
                 char *host = "localhost";
                         if( items > 1 )
                              host = (char *)SvPV_nolen(ST(1));
                         RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( host, &timep );

       If the prototypes are enabled, you can disable it locally for a given XSUB as in the
       following example:

               PROTOTYPE: DISABLE

   The ALIAS: Keyword
       The ALIAS: keyword allows an XSUB to have two or more unique Perl names and to know which
       of those names was used when it was invoked.  The Perl names may be fully-qualified with
       package names.  Each alias is given an index.  The compiler will setup a variable called
       "ix" which contain the index of the alias which was used.  When the XSUB is called with
       its declared name "ix" will be 0.

       The following example will create aliases "FOO::gettime()" and "BAR::getit()" for this

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep
                   FOO::gettime = 1
                   BAR::getit = 2
                 printf("# ix = %d\n", ix );

   The OVERLOAD: Keyword
       Instead of writing an overloaded interface using pure Perl, you can also use the OVERLOAD
       keyword to define additional Perl names for your functions (like the ALIAS: keyword
       above).  However, the overloaded functions must be defined in such a way as to accept the
       number of parameters supplied by perl's overload system.  For most overload methods, it
       will be three parameters; for the "nomethod" function it will be four.  However, the
       bitwise operators "&", "|", "^", and "~" may be called with three or five arguments (see

       If any function has the OVERLOAD: keyword, several additional lines will be defined in the
       c file generated by xsubpp in order to register with the overload magic.

       Since blessed objects are actually stored as RV's, it is useful to use the typemap
       features to preprocess parameters and extract the actual SV stored within the blessed RV.
       See the sample for T_PTROBJ_SPECIAL below.

       To use the OVERLOAD: keyword, create an XS function which takes three input parameters (or
       use the C-style '...' definition) like this:

           SV *
           cmp (lobj, robj, swap)
           My_Module_obj    lobj
           My_Module_obj    robj
           IV               swap
           OVERLOAD: cmp <=>
           { /* function defined here */}

       In this case, the function will overload both of the three way comparison operators.  For
       all overload operations using non-alpha characters, you must type the parameter without
       quoting, separating multiple overloads with whitespace.  Note that "" (the stringify
       overload) should be entered as \"\" (i.e. escaped).

       Since, as mentioned above, bitwise operators may take extra arguments, you may want to use
       something like "(lobj, robj, swap, ...)" (with literal "...") as your parameter list.

   The FALLBACK: Keyword
       In addition to the OVERLOAD keyword, if you need to control how Perl autogenerates missing
       overloaded operators, you can set the FALLBACK keyword in the module header section, like

           MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPC

           FALLBACK: TRUE

       where FALLBACK can take any of the three values TRUE, FALSE, or UNDEF.  If you do not set
       any FALLBACK value when using OVERLOAD, it defaults to UNDEF.  FALLBACK is not used except
       when one or more functions using OVERLOAD have been defined.  Please see "fallback" in
       overload for more details.

   The INTERFACE: Keyword
       This keyword declares the current XSUB as a keeper of the given calling signature.  If
       some text follows this keyword, it is considered as a list of functions which have this
       signature, and should be attached to the current XSUB.

       For example, if you have 4 C functions multiply(), divide(), add(), subtract() all having
       the signature:

           symbolic f(symbolic, symbolic);

       you can make them all to use the same XSUB using this:

           interface_s_ss(arg1, arg2)
               symbolic        arg1
               symbolic        arg2
               multiply divide
               add subtract

       (This is the complete XSUB code for 4 Perl functions!)  Four generated Perl function share
       names with corresponding C functions.

       The advantage of this approach comparing to ALIAS: keyword is that there is no need to
       code a switch statement, each Perl function (which shares the same XSUB) knows which C
       function it should call.  Additionally, one can attach an extra function remainder() at
       runtime by using

           CV *mycv = newXSproto("Symbolic::remainder",
                                 XS_Symbolic_interface_s_ss, __FILE__, "$$");
           XSINTERFACE_FUNC_SET(mycv, remainder);

       say, from another XSUB.  (This example supposes that there was no INTERFACE_MACRO:
       section, otherwise one needs to use something else instead of "XSINTERFACE_FUNC_SET", see
       the next section.)

       This keyword allows one to define an INTERFACE using a different way to extract a function
       pointer from an XSUB.  The text which follows this keyword should give the name of macros
       which would extract/set a function pointer.  The extractor macro is given return type,
       "CV*", and "XSANY.any_dptr" for this "CV*".  The setter macro is given cv, and the
       function pointer.

       The default value is "XSINTERFACE_FUNC" and "XSINTERFACE_FUNC_SET".  An INTERFACE keyword
       with an empty list of functions can be omitted if INTERFACE_MACRO keyword is used.

       Suppose that in the previous example functions pointers for multiply(), divide(), add(),
       subtract() are kept in a global C array "fp[]" with offsets being "multiply_off",
       "divide_off", "add_off", "subtract_off".  Then one can use

           #define XSINTERFACE_FUNC_BYOFFSET(ret,cv,f) \
           #define XSINTERFACE_FUNC_BYOFFSET_set(cv,f) \
               CvXSUBANY(cv).any_i32 = CAT2( f, _off )

       in C section,

           interface_s_ss(arg1, arg2)
               symbolic        arg1
               symbolic        arg2
               multiply divide
               add subtract

       in XSUB section.

   The INCLUDE: Keyword
       This keyword can be used to pull other files into the XS module.  The other files may have
       XS code.  INCLUDE: can also be used to run a command to generate the XS code to be pulled
       into the module.

       The file Rpcb1.xsh contains our "rpcb_gettime()" function:

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep

       The XS module can use INCLUDE: to pull that file into it.

           INCLUDE: Rpcb1.xsh

       If the parameters to the INCLUDE: keyword are followed by a pipe ("|") then the compiler
       will interpret the parameters as a command. This feature is mildly deprecated in favour of
       the "INCLUDE_COMMAND:" directive, as documented below.

           INCLUDE: cat Rpcb1.xsh |

       Do not use this to run perl: "INCLUDE: perl |" will run the perl that happens to be the
       first in your path and not necessarily the same perl that is used to run "xsubpp". See
       "The INCLUDE_COMMAND: Keyword".

       Runs the supplied command and includes its output into the current XS document.
       "INCLUDE_COMMAND" assigns special meaning to the $^X token in that it runs the same perl
       interpreter that is running "xsubpp":

           INCLUDE_COMMAND: cat Rpcb1.xsh

           INCLUDE_COMMAND: $^X -e ...

   The CASE: Keyword
       The CASE: keyword allows an XSUB to have multiple distinct parts with each part acting as
       a virtual XSUB.  CASE: is greedy and if it is used then all other XS keywords must be
       contained within a CASE:.  This means nothing may precede the first CASE: in the XSUB and
       anything following the last CASE: is included in that case.

       A CASE: might switch via a parameter of the XSUB, via the "ix" ALIAS: variable (see "The
       ALIAS: Keyword"), or maybe via the "items" variable (see "Variable-length Parameter
       Lists").  The last CASE: becomes the default case if it is not associated with a
       conditional.  The following example shows CASE switched via "ix" with a function
       "rpcb_gettime()" having an alias "x_gettime()".  When the function is called as
       "rpcb_gettime()" its parameters are the usual "(char *host, time_t *timep)", but when the
       function is called as "x_gettime()" its parameters are reversed, "(time_t *timep, char

             CASE: ix == 1
                 x_gettime = 1
                 # 'a' is timep, 'b' is host
                 char *b
                 time_t a = NO_INIT
                      RETVAL = rpcb_gettime( b, &a );
                 # 'a' is host, 'b' is timep
                 char *a
                 time_t &b = NO_INIT

       That function can be called with either of the following statements.  Note the different
       argument lists.

               $status = rpcb_gettime( $host, $timep );

               $status = x_gettime( $timep, $host );

       The EXPORT_XSUB_SYMBOLS: keyword is likely something you will never need.  In perl
       versions earlier than 5.16.0, this keyword does nothing. Starting with 5.16, XSUB symbols
       are no longer exported by default. That is, they are "static" functions. If you include


       in your XS code, the XSUBs following this line will not be declared "static".  You can
       later disable this with


       which, again, is the default that you should probably never change.  You cannot use this
       keyword on versions of perl before 5.16 to make XSUBs "static".

   The & Unary Operator
       The "&" unary operator in the INPUT: section is used to tell xsubpp that it should convert
       a Perl value to/from C using the C type to the left of "&", but provide a pointer to this
       value when the C function is called.

       This is useful to avoid a CODE: block for a C function which takes a parameter by
       reference.  Typically, the parameter should be not a pointer type (an "int" or "long" but
       not an "int*" or "long*").

       The following XSUB will generate incorrect C code.  The xsubpp compiler will turn this
       into code which calls "rpcb_gettime()" with parameters "(char *host, time_t timep)", but
       the real "rpcb_gettime()" wants the "timep" parameter to be of type "time_t*" rather than

                 char *host
                 time_t timep

       That problem is corrected by using the "&" operator.  The xsubpp compiler will now turn
       this into code which calls "rpcb_gettime()" correctly with parameters "(char *host, time_t
       *timep)".  It does this by carrying the "&" through, so the function call looks like
       "rpcb_gettime(host, &timep)".

                 char *host
                 time_t &timep

   Inserting POD, Comments and C Preprocessor Directives
       C preprocessor directives are allowed within BOOT:, PREINIT: INIT:, CODE:, PPCODE:,
       POSTCALL:, and CLEANUP: blocks, as well as outside the functions.  Comments are allowed
       anywhere after the MODULE keyword.  The compiler will pass the preprocessor directives
       through untouched and will remove the commented lines. POD documentation is allowed at any
       point, both in the C and XS language sections. POD must be terminated with a "=cut"
       command; "xsubpp" will exit with an error if it does not. It is very unlikely that human
       generated C code will be mistaken for POD, as most indenting styles result in whitespace
       in front of any line starting with "=". Machine generated XS files may fall into this trap
       unless care is taken to ensure that a space breaks the sequence "\n=".

       Comments can be added to XSUBs by placing a "#" as the first non-whitespace of a line.
       Care should be taken to avoid making the comment look like a C preprocessor directive,
       lest it be interpreted as such.  The simplest way to prevent this is to put whitespace in
       front of the "#".

       If you use preprocessor directives to choose one of two versions of a function, use

           #if ... version1
           #else /* ... version2  */

       and not

           #if ... version1
           #if ... version2

       because otherwise xsubpp will believe that you made a duplicate definition of the
       function.  Also, put a blank line before the #else/#endif so it will not be seen as part
       of the function body.

   Using XS With C++
       If an XSUB name contains "::", it is considered to be a C++ method.  The generated Perl
       function will assume that its first argument is an object pointer.  The object pointer
       will be stored in a variable called THIS.  The object should have been created by C++ with
       the new() function and should be blessed by Perl with the sv_setref_pv() macro.  The
       blessing of the object by Perl can be handled by a typemap.  An example typemap is shown
       at the end of this section.

       If the return type of the XSUB includes "static", the method is considered to be a static
       method.  It will call the C++ function using the class::method() syntax.  If the method is
       not static the function will be called using the THIS->method() syntax.

       The next examples will use the following C++ class.

            class color {
                 int blue();
                 void set_blue( int );

                 int c_blue;

       The XSUBs for the blue() and set_blue() methods are defined with the class name but the
       parameter for the object (THIS, or "self") is implicit and is not listed.


            color::set_blue( val )
                 int val

       Both Perl functions will expect an object as the first parameter.  In the generated C++
       code the object is called "THIS", and the method call will be performed on this object.
       So in the C++ code the blue() and set_blue() methods will be called as this:

            RETVAL = THIS->blue();

            THIS->set_blue( val );

       You could also write a single get/set method using an optional argument:

            color::blue( val = NO_INIT )
                int val
                PROTOTYPE $;$
                    if (items > 1)
                        THIS->set_blue( val );
                    RETVAL = THIS->blue();

       If the function's name is DESTROY then the C++ "delete" function will be called and "THIS"
       will be given as its parameter.  The generated C++ code for


       will look like this:

            color *THIS = ...;  // Initialized as in typemap

            delete THIS;

       If the function's name is new then the C++ "new" function will be called to create a
       dynamic C++ object.  The XSUB will expect the class name, which will be kept in a variable
       called "CLASS", to be given as the first argument.

            color *

       The generated C++ code will call "new".

            RETVAL = new color();

       The following is an example of a typemap that could be used for this C++ example.

           color *  O_OBJECT

           # The Perl object is blessed into 'CLASS', which should be a
           # char* having the name of the package for the blessing.
               sv_setref_pv( $arg, CLASS, (void*)$var );

               if( sv_isobject($arg) && (SvTYPE(SvRV($arg)) == SVt_PVMG) )
                   $var = ($type)SvIV((SV*)SvRV( $arg ));
                   warn("${Package}::$func_name() -- " .
                       "$var is not a blessed SV reference");

   Interface Strategy
       When designing an interface between Perl and a C library a straight translation from C to
       XS (such as created by "h2xs -x") is often sufficient.  However, sometimes the interface
       will look very C-like and occasionally nonintuitive, especially when the C function
       modifies one of its parameters, or returns failure inband (as in "negative return values
       mean failure").  In cases where the programmer wishes to create a more Perl-like interface
       the following strategy may help to identify the more critical parts of the interface.

       Identify the C functions with input/output or output parameters.  The XSUBs for these
       functions may be able to return lists to Perl.

       Identify the C functions which use some inband info as an indication of failure.  They may
       be candidates to return undef or an empty list in case of failure.  If the failure may be
       detected without a call to the C function, you may want to use an INIT: section to report
       the failure.  For failures detectable after the C function returns one may want to use a
       POSTCALL: section to process the failure.  In more complicated cases use CODE: or PPCODE:

       If many functions use the same failure indication based on the return value, you may want
       to create a special typedef to handle this situation.  Put

         typedef int negative_is_failure;

       near the beginning of XS file, and create an OUTPUT typemap entry for
       "negative_is_failure" which converts negative values to "undef", or maybe croak()s.  After
       this the return value of type "negative_is_failure" will create more Perl-like interface.

       Identify which values are used by only the C and XSUB functions themselves, say, when a
       parameter to a function should be a contents of a global variable.  If Perl does not need
       to access the contents of the value then it may not be necessary to provide a translation
       for that value from C to Perl.

       Identify the pointers in the C function parameter lists and return values.  Some pointers
       may be used to implement input/output or output parameters, they can be handled in XS with
       the "&" unary operator, and, possibly, using the NO_INIT keyword.  Some others will
       require handling of types like "int *", and one needs to decide what a useful Perl
       translation will do in such a case.  When the semantic is clear, it is advisable to put
       the translation into a typemap file.

       Identify the structures used by the C functions.  In many cases it may be helpful to use
       the T_PTROBJ typemap for these structures so they can be manipulated by Perl as blessed
       objects.  (This is handled automatically by "h2xs -x".)

       If the same C type is used in several different contexts which require different
       translations, "typedef" several new types mapped to this C type, and create separate
       typemap entries for these new types.  Use these types in declarations of return type and
       parameters to XSUBs.

   Perl Objects And C Structures
       When dealing with C structures one should select either T_PTROBJ or T_PTRREF for the XS
       type.  Both types are designed to handle pointers to complex objects.  The T_PTRREF type
       will allow the Perl object to be unblessed while the T_PTROBJ type requires that the
       object be blessed.  By using T_PTROBJ one can achieve a form of type-checking because the
       XSUB will attempt to verify that the Perl object is of the expected type.

       The following XS code shows the getnetconfigent() function which is used with ONC+ TIRPC.
       The getnetconfigent() function will return a pointer to a C structure and has the C
       prototype shown below.  The example will demonstrate how the C pointer will become a Perl
       reference.  Perl will consider this reference to be a pointer to a blessed object and will
       attempt to call a destructor for the object.  A destructor will be provided in the XS
       source to free the memory used by getnetconfigent().  Destructors in XS can be created by
       specifying an XSUB function whose name ends with the word DESTROY.  XS destructors can be
       used to free memory which may have been malloc'd by another XSUB.

            struct netconfig *getnetconfigent(const char *netid);

       A "typedef" will be created for "struct netconfig".  The Perl object will be blessed in a
       class matching the name of the C type, with the tag "Ptr" appended, and the name should
       not have embedded spaces if it will be a Perl package name.  The destructor will be placed
       in a class corresponding to the class of the object and the PREFIX keyword will be used to
       trim the name to the word DESTROY as Perl will expect.

            typedef struct netconfig Netconfig;

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPC

            Netconfig *
                 char *netid

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = NetconfigPtr  PREFIX = rpcb_

                 Netconfig *netconf
                 printf("Now in NetconfigPtr::DESTROY\n");
                 free( netconf );

       This example requires the following typemap entry.  Consult perlxstypemap for more
       information about adding new typemaps for an extension.

            Netconfig *  T_PTROBJ

       This example will be used with the following Perl statements.

            use RPC;
            $netconf = getnetconfigent("udp");

       When Perl destroys the object referenced by $netconf it will send the object to the
       supplied XSUB DESTROY function.  Perl cannot determine, and does not care, that this
       object is a C struct and not a Perl object.  In this sense, there is no difference between
       the object created by the getnetconfigent() XSUB and an object created by a normal Perl

   Safely Storing Static Data in XS
       Starting with Perl 5.8, a macro framework has been defined to allow static data to be
       safely stored in XS modules that will be accessed from a multi-threaded Perl.

       Although primarily designed for use with multi-threaded Perl, the macros have been
       designed so that they will work with non-threaded Perl as well.

       It is therefore strongly recommended that these macros be used by all XS modules that make
       use of static data.

       The easiest way to get a template set of macros to use is by specifying the "-g"
       ("--global") option with h2xs (see h2xs).

       Below is an example module that makes use of the macros.

           #define PERL_NO_GET_CONTEXT
           #include "EXTERN.h"
           #include "perl.h"
           #include "XSUB.h"

           /* Global Data */

           #define MY_CXT_KEY "BlindMice::_guts" XS_VERSION

           typedef struct {
               int count;
               char name[3][100];
           } my_cxt_t;


           MODULE = BlindMice           PACKAGE = BlindMice

               MY_CXT.count = 0;
               strcpy([0], "None");
               strcpy([1], "None");
               strcpy([2], "None");

           newMouse(char * name)
                 if (MY_CXT.count >= 3) {
                     warn("Already have 3 blind mice");
                     RETVAL = 0;
                 else {
                     RETVAL = ++ MY_CXT.count;
                     strcpy([MY_CXT.count - 1], name);

           char *
                 int index
                 if (index > MY_CXT.count)
                   croak("There are only 3 blind mice.");
                   RETVAL =[index - 1];



            This macro is used to define a unique key to refer to the static data for an XS
            module. The suggested naming scheme, as used by h2xs, is to use a string that
            consists of the module name, the string "::_guts" and the module version number.

                #define MY_CXT_KEY "MyModule::_guts" XS_VERSION

       typedef my_cxt_t
            This struct typedef must always be called "my_cxt_t". The other "CXT*" macros assume
            the existence of the "my_cxt_t" typedef name.

            Declare a typedef named "my_cxt_t" that is a structure that contains all the data
            that needs to be interpreter-local.

                typedef struct {
                    int some_value;
                } my_cxt_t;

            Always place the START_MY_CXT macro directly after the declaration of "my_cxt_t".

            The MY_CXT_INIT macro initializes storage for the "my_cxt_t" struct.

            It must be called exactly once, typically in a BOOT: section. If you are maintaining
            multiple interpreters, it should be called once in each interpreter instance, except
            for interpreters cloned from existing ones.  (But see "MY_CXT_CLONE" below.)

            Use the dMY_CXT macro (a declaration) in all the functions that access MY_CXT.

            Use the MY_CXT macro to access members of the "my_cxt_t" struct. For example, if
            "my_cxt_t" is

                typedef struct {
                    int index;
                } my_cxt_t;

            then use this to access the "index" member

                MY_CXT.index = 2;

            "dMY_CXT" may be quite expensive to calculate, and to avoid the overhead of invoking
            it in each function it is possible to pass the declaration onto other functions using
            the "aMY_CXT"/"pMY_CXT" macros, eg

                void sub1() {
                    MY_CXT.index = 1;

                void sub2(pMY_CXT) {
                    MY_CXT.index = 2;

            Analogously to "pTHX", there are equivalent forms for when the macro is the first or
            last in multiple arguments, where an underscore represents a comma, i.e.  "_aMY_CXT",
            "aMY_CXT_", "_pMY_CXT" and "pMY_CXT_".

            By default, when a new interpreter is created as a copy of an existing one (eg via
            "threads->create()"), both interpreters share the same physical my_cxt_t structure.
            Calling "MY_CXT_CLONE" (typically via the package's "CLONE()" function), causes a
            byte-for-byte copy of the structure to be taken, and any future dMY_CXT will cause
            the copy to be accessed instead.

            These are versions of the macros which take an explicit interpreter as an argument.

       Note that these macros will only work together within the same source file; that is, a
       dMY_CTX in one source file will access a different structure than a dMY_CTX in another
       source file.

   Thread-aware system interfaces
       Starting from Perl 5.8, in C/C++ level Perl knows how to wrap system/library interfaces
       that have thread-aware versions (e.g. getpwent_r()) into frontend macros (e.g. getpwent())
       that correctly handle the multithreaded interaction with the Perl interpreter.  This will
       happen transparently, the only thing you need to do is to instantiate a Perl interpreter.

       This wrapping happens always when compiling Perl core source (PERL_CORE is defined) or the
       Perl core extensions (PERL_EXT is defined).  When compiling XS code outside of the Perl
       core, the wrapping does not take place before Perl 5.28.  Starting in that release you can

        #define PERL_REENTRANT

       in your code to enable the wrapping.  It is advisable to do so if you are using such
       functions, as intermixing the "_r"-forms (as Perl compiled for multithreaded operation
       will do) and the "_r"-less forms is neither well-defined (inconsistent results, data
       corruption, or even crashes become more likely), nor is it very portable.  Unfortunately,
       not all systems have all the "_r" forms, but using this "#define" gives you whatever
       protection that Perl is aware is available on each system.


       File "RPC.xs": Interface to some ONC+ RPC bind library functions.

            #define PERL_NO_GET_CONTEXT
            #include "EXTERN.h"
            #include "perl.h"
            #include "XSUB.h"

            #include <rpc/rpc.h>

            typedef struct netconfig Netconfig;

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = RPC

            SV *
                 char *host
                 time_t  timep;
                 ST(0) = sv_newmortal();
                 if( rpcb_gettime( host, &timep ) )
                      sv_setnv( ST(0), (double)timep );

            Netconfig *
                 char *netid

            MODULE = RPC  PACKAGE = NetconfigPtr  PREFIX = rpcb_

                 Netconfig *netconf
                 free( netconf );

       File "typemap": Custom typemap for RPC.xs. (cf. perlxstypemap)

            Netconfig *  T_PTROBJ

       File "": Perl module for the RPC extension.

            package RPC;

            require Exporter;
            require DynaLoader;
            @ISA = qw(Exporter DynaLoader);
            @EXPORT = qw(rpcb_gettime getnetconfigent);

            bootstrap RPC;

       File "": Perl test program for the RPC extension.

            use RPC;

            $netconf = getnetconfigent();
            $a = rpcb_gettime();
            print "time = $a\n";
            print "netconf = $netconf\n";

            $netconf = getnetconfigent("tcp");
            $a = rpcb_gettime("poplar");
            print "time = $a\n";
            print "netconf = $netconf\n";


       XS code has full access to system calls including C library functions.  It thus has the
       capability of interfering with things that the Perl core or other modules have set up,
       such as signal handlers or file handles.  It could mess with the memory, or any number of
       harmful things.  Don't.

       Some modules have an event loop, waiting for user-input.  It is highly unlikely that two
       such modules would work adequately together in a single Perl application.

       In general, the perl interpreter views itself as the center of the universe as far as the
       Perl program goes.  XS code is viewed as a help-mate, to accomplish things that perl
       doesn't do, or doesn't do fast enough, but always subservient to perl.  The closer XS code
       adheres to this model, the less likely conflicts will occur.

       One area where there has been conflict is in regards to C locales.  (See perllocale.)
       perl, with one exception and unless told otherwise, sets up the underlying locale the
       program is running in to the locale passed into it from the environment.  This is an
       important difference from a generic C language program, where the underlying locale is the
       "C" locale unless the program changes it.  As of v5.20, this underlying locale is
       completely hidden from pure Perl code outside the lexical scope of "use locale" except for
       a couple of function calls in the POSIX module which of necessity use it.  But the
       underlying locale, with that one exception is exposed to XS code, affecting all C library
       routines whose behavior is locale-dependent.  Your XS code better not assume that the
       underlying locale is "C".  The exception is the "LC_NUMERIC" locale category, and the
       reason it is an exception is that experience has shown that it can be problematic for XS
       code, whereas we have not had reports of problems with the other locale categories.  And
       the reason for this one category being problematic is that the character used as a decimal
       point can vary.  Many European languages use a comma, whereas English, and hence Perl are
       expecting a dot (U+002E: FULL STOP).  Many modules can handle only the radix character
       being a dot, and so perl attempts to make it so.  Up through Perl v5.20, the attempt was
       merely to set "LC_NUMERIC" upon startup to the "C" locale.  Any setlocale() otherwise
       would change it; this caused some failures.  Therefore, starting in v5.22, perl tries to
       keep "LC_NUMERIC" always set to "C" for XS code.

       To summarize, here's what to expect and how to handle locales in XS code:

       Non-locale-aware XS code
           Keep in mind that even if you think your code is not locale-aware, it may call a
           library function that is.  Hopefully the man page for such a function will indicate
           that dependency, but the documentation is imperfect.

           The current locale is exposed to XS code except possibly "LC_NUMERIC" (explained in
           the next paragraph).  There have not been reports of problems with the other
           categories.  Perl initializes things on start-up so that the current locale is the one
           which is indicated by the user's environment in effect at that time.  See
           "ENVIRONMENT" in perllocale.

           However, up through v5.20, Perl initialized things on start-up so that "LC_NUMERIC"
           was set to the "C" locale.  But if any code anywhere changed it, it would stay
           changed.  This means that your module can't count on "LC_NUMERIC" being something in
           particular, and you can't expect floating point numbers (including version strings) to
           have dots in them.  If you don't allow for a non-dot, your code could break if anyone
           anywhere changed the locale.  For this reason, v5.22 changed the behavior so that Perl
           tries to keep "LC_NUMERIC" in the "C" locale except around the operations internally
           where it should be something else.  Misbehaving XS code will always be able to change
           the locale anyway, but the most common instance of this is checked for and handled.

       Locale-aware XS code
           If the locale from the user's environment is desired, there should be no need for XS
           code to set the locale except for "LC_NUMERIC", as perl has already set the others up.
           XS code should avoid changing the locale, as it can adversely affect other, unrelated,
           code and may not be thread-safe.  To minimize problems, the macros
           perlapi, and "RESTORE_LC_NUMERIC" in perlapi should be used to affect any needed

           But, starting with Perl v5.28, locales are thread-safe on platforms that support this
           functionality.  Windows has this starting with Visual Studio 2005.  Many other modern
           platforms support the thread-safe POSIX 2008 functions.  The C "#define"
           "USE_THREAD_SAFE_LOCALE" will be defined iff this build is using these.  From Perl-
           space, the read-only variable "${SAFE_LOCALES}" is 1 if either the build is not
           threaded, or if "USE_THREAD_SAFE_LOCALE" is defined; otherwise it is 0.

           The way this works under-the-hood is that every thread has a choice of using a locale
           specific to it (this is the Windows and POSIX 2008 functionality), or the global
           locale that is accessible to all threads (this is the functionality that has always
           been there).  The implementations for Windows and POSIX are completely different.  On
           Windows, the runtime can be set up so that the standard setlocale(3) function either
           only knows about the global locale or the locale for this thread.  On POSIX,
           "setlocale" always deals with the global locale, and other functions have been created
           to handle per-thread locales.  Perl makes this transparent to perl-space code.  It
           continues to use "POSIX::setlocale()", and the interpreter translates that into the
           per-thread functions.

           All other locale-senstive functions automatically use the per-thread locale, if that
           is turned on, and failing that, the global locale.  Thus calls to "setlocale" are
           ineffective on POSIX systems for the current thread if that thread is using a per-
           thread locale.  If perl is compiled for single-thread operation, it does not use the
           per-thread functions, so "setlocale" does work as expected.

           If you have loaded the "POSIX" module you can use the methods given in perlcall to
           call "POSIX::setlocale" to safely change or query the locale (on systems where it is
           safe to do so), or you can use the new 5.28 function "Perl_setlocale" in perlapi
           instead, which is a drop-in replacement for the system setlocale(3), and handles
           single-threaded and multi-threaded applications transparently.

           There are some locale-related library calls that still aren't thread-safe because they
           return data in a buffer global to all threads.  In the past, these didn't matter as
           locales weren't thread-safe at all.  But now you have to be aware of them in case your
           module is called in a multi-threaded application.  The known ones are

            gcvt() [POSIX.1-2001 only (function removed in POSIX.1-2008)]
            wcrtomb() if its final argument is NULL
            wcsrtombs() if its final argument is NULL

           Some of these shouldn't really be called in a Perl application, and for others there
           are thread-safe versions of these already implemented:


           The "_r" forms are automatically used, starting in Perl 5.28, if you compile your
           code, with

            #define PERL_REENTRANT

           See also "Perl_langinfo" in perlapi.  You can use the methods given in perlcall, to
           get the best available locale-safe versions of these


           And note, that some items returned by "Localeconv" are available through
           "Perl_langinfo" in perlapi.

           The others shouldn't be used in a threaded application.

           Some modules may call a non-perl library that is locale-aware.  This is fine as long
           as it doesn't try to query or change the locale using the system "setlocale".  But if
           these do call the system "setlocale", those calls may be ineffective.  Instead,
           "Perl_setlocale" works in all circumstances.  Plain setlocale is ineffective on multi-
           threaded POSIX 2008 systems.  It operates only on the global locale, whereas each
           thread has its own locale, paying no attention to the global one.  Since converting
           these non-Perl libraries to "Perl_setlocale" is out of the question, there is a new
           function in v5.28 "switch_to_global_locale" that will switch the thread it is called
           from so that any system "setlocale" calls will have their desired effect.  The
           function "sync_locale" must be called before returning to perl.

           This thread can change the locale all it wants and it won't affect any other thread,
           except any that also have been switched to the global locale.  This means that a
           multi-threaded application can have a single thread using an alien library without a
           problem; but no more than a single thread can be so-occupied.  Bad results likely will

           In perls without multi-thread locale support, some alien libraries, such as "Gtk"
           change locales.  This can cause problems for the Perl core and other modules.  For
           these, before control is returned to perl, starting in v5.20.1, calling the function
           sync_locale() from XS should be sufficient to avoid most of these problems.  Prior to
           this, you need a pure Perl statement that does this:

            POSIX::setlocale(LC_ALL, POSIX::setlocale(LC_ALL));

           or use the methods given in perlcall.


       This document covers features supported by "ExtUtils::ParseXS" (also known as "xsubpp")


       Originally written by Dean Roehrich <>.

       Maintained since 1996 by The Perl Porters <>.