terminus terminus - 1 month ago 10
C++ Question

Unmangling the result of std::type_info::name

I'm currently working on some logging code that supposed to - among other things - print information about the calling function. This should be relatively easy, standard C++ has a

type_info
class. This contains the name of the typeid'd class/function/etc. but it's mangled. It's not very useful. I.e.
typeid(std::vector<int>).name()
returns
St6vectorIiSaIiEE
.

Is there a way to produce something useful from this? Like
std::vector<int>
for the above example. If it only works for non-template classes, that's fine too.

The solution should work for gcc, but it would be better if I could port it. It's for logging so it's not so important that it can't be turned off, but it should be helpful for debugging.

Ali Ali
Answer

Given the attention this question / answer receives, and the valuable feedback from GManNickG, I have cleaned up the code a little bit. Two versions are given: one with C++11 features and another one with only C++98 features.

In file type.hpp

#ifndef TYPE_HPP
#define TYPE_HPP

#include <string>
#include <typeinfo>

std::string demangle(const char* name);

template <class T>
std::string type(const T& t) {

    return demangle(typeid(t).name());
}

#endif

In file type.cpp (requires C++11)

#include "type.hpp"
#ifdef __GNUG__
#include <cstdlib>
#include <memory>
#include <cxxabi.h>

std::string demangle(const char* name) {

    int status = -4; // some arbitrary value to eliminate the compiler warning

    // enable c++11 by passing the flag -std=c++11 to g++
    std::unique_ptr<char, void(*)(void*)> res {
        abi::__cxa_demangle(name, NULL, NULL, &status),
        std::free
    };

    return (status==0) ? res.get() : name ;
}

#else

// does nothing if not g++
std::string demangle(const char* name) {
    return name;
}

#endif

Usage:

#include <iostream>
#include "type.hpp"

struct Base { virtual ~Base() {} };

struct Derived : public Base { };

int main() {

    Base* ptr_base = new Derived(); // Please use smart pointers in YOUR code!

    std::cout << "Type of ptr_base: " << type(ptr_base) << std::endl;

    std::cout << "Type of pointee: " << type(*ptr_base) << std::endl;

    delete ptr_base;
}

It prints:

Type of ptr_base: Base*
Type of pointee: Derived

Tested with g++ 4.7.2, g++ 4.9.0 20140302 (experimental), clang++ 3.4 (trunk 184647), clang 3.5 (trunk 202594) on Linux 64 bit and g++ 4.7.2 (Mingw32, Win32 XP SP2).

If you cannot use C++11 features, here is how it can be done in C++98, the file type.cpp is now:

#include "type.hpp"
#ifdef __GNUG__
#include <cstdlib>
#include <memory>
#include <cxxabi.h>

struct handle {
    char* p;
    handle(char* ptr) : p(ptr) { }
    ~handle() { std::free(p); }
};

std::string demangle(const char* name) {

    int status = -4; // some arbitrary value to eliminate the compiler warning

    handle result( abi::__cxa_demangle(name, NULL, NULL, &status) );

    return (status==0) ? result.p : name ;
}

#else

// does nothing if not g++
std::string demangle(const char* name) {
    return name;
}

#endif


(Update from Sep 8, 2013)

The accepted answer (as of Sep 7, 2013), when the call to abi::__cxa_demangle() is successful, returns a pointer to a local, stack allocated array... ouch!
Also note that if you provide a buffer, abi::__cxa_demangle() assumes it to be allocated on the heap. Allocating the buffer on the stack is a bug (from the gnu doc): "If output_buffer is not long enough, it is expanded using realloc." Calling realloc() on a pointer to the stack... ouch! (See also Igor Skochinsky's kind comment.)

You can easily verify both of these bugs: just reduce the buffer size in the accepted answer (as of Sep 7, 2013) from 1024 to something smaller, for example 16, and give it something with a name not longer than 15 (so realloc() is not called). Still, depending on your system and the compiler optimizations, the output will be: garbage / nothing / program crash.
To verify the second bug: set the buffer size to 1 and call it with something whose name is longer than 1 character. When you run it, the program almost assuredly crashes as it attempts to call realloc() with a pointer to the stack.


(The old answer from Dec 27, 2010)

Important changes made to KeithB's code: the buffer has to be either allocated by malloc or specified as NULL. Do NOT allocate it on the stack.

It's wise to check that status as well.

I failed to find HAVE_CXA_DEMANGLE. I check __GNUG__ although that does not guarantee that the code will even compile. Anyone has a better idea?

#include <cxxabi.h>

const string demangle(const char* name) {

    int status = -4;

    char* res = abi::__cxa_demangle(name, NULL, NULL, &status);

    const char* const demangled_name = (status==0)?res:name;

    string ret_val(demangled_name);

    free(res);

    return ret_val;
}