loops loops - 1 month ago 24
C Question

FILE is constant or struct or both

FILE
is


  1. Is a constant? (think from, it is upper-case) (but I read,
    FILE
    is
    struct
    type in
    stdio.h
    )

  2. (or) is a structure? If it is structure why it is upper case?


usr usr
Answer

FILE is an opaque type. It's typically a struct containing the file descriptor, error flags etc. But C standard says nothing about its internals.

Why do you need to know? You are going to use the standard interfaces and don't need to worry about how it's implemented.

The definition of FILE from C11 standard, ยง7.21.1 (N1548 draft):

which is an object type capable of recording all the information needed to control a stream, including its file position indicator, a pointer to its associated buffer (if any), an error indicator that records whether a read/write error has occurred, and an end-of-file indicator that records whether the end of the file has been reached;

and doesn't provide any further information. So, implementations are free to implement it in any way they see fit.

As an example, this is what the glibc implementation has. But - as I said before - it's an implementation detail and as such you can't rely on it:

struct _IO_FILE {
  int _flags;       /* High-order word is _IO_MAGIC; rest is flags. */
#define _IO_file_flags _flags

  /* The following pointers correspond to the C++ streambuf protocol. */
  /* Note:  Tk uses the _IO_read_ptr and _IO_read_end fields directly. */
  char* _IO_read_ptr;   /* Current read pointer */
  char* _IO_read_end;   /* End of get area. */
  char* _IO_read_base;  /* Start of putback+get area. */
  char* _IO_write_base; /* Start of put area. */
  char* _IO_write_ptr;  /* Current put pointer. */
  char* _IO_write_end;  /* End of put area. */
  char* _IO_buf_base;   /* Start of reserve area. */
  char* _IO_buf_end;    /* End of reserve area. */
  /* The following fields are used to support backing up and undo. */
  char *_IO_save_base; /* Pointer to start of non-current get area. */
  char *_IO_backup_base;  /* Pointer to first valid character of backup area */
  char *_IO_save_end; /* Pointer to end of non-current get area. */

  struct _IO_marker *_markers;

  struct _IO_FILE *_chain;

  int _fileno;
#if 0
  int _blksize;
#else
  int _flags2;
#endif
  _IO_off_t _old_offset; /* This used to be _offset but it's too small.  */

#define __HAVE_COLUMN /* temporary */
  /* 1+column number of pbase(); 0 is unknown. */
  unsigned short _cur_column;
  signed char _vtable_offset;
  char _shortbuf[1];

  /*  char* _save_gptr;  char* _save_egptr; */

  _IO_lock_t *_lock;
#ifdef _IO_USE_OLD_IO_FILE
};

struct _IO_FILE_complete
{
  struct _IO_FILE _file;
#endif
#if defined _G_IO_IO_FILE_VERSION && _G_IO_IO_FILE_VERSION == 0x20001
  _IO_off64_t _offset;
# if defined _LIBC || defined _GLIBCPP_USE_WCHAR_T
  /* Wide character stream stuff.  */
  struct _IO_codecvt *_codecvt;
  struct _IO_wide_data *_wide_data;
  struct _IO_FILE *_freeres_list;
  void *_freeres_buf;
# else
  void *__pad1;
  void *__pad2;
  void *__pad3;
  void *__pad4;
# endif
  size_t __pad5;
  int _mode;
  /* Make sure we don't get into trouble again.  */
  char _unused2[15 * sizeof (int) - 4 * sizeof (void *) - sizeof (size_t)];
#endif
};