ctypes

Combinators for binding to C libraries without writing any C
IN THIS PACKAGE
Module type Ctypes_types . TYPE

Values representing C types

type 'a typ

The type of values representing C types. There are two types associated with each typ value: the C type used to store and pass values, and the corresponding OCaml type. The type parameter indicates the OCaml type, so a value of type t typ is used to read and write OCaml values of type t. There are various uses of typ values, including

  • constructing function types for binding native functions using Foreign.foreign
  • constructing pointers for reading and writing locations in C-managed storage using ptr
  • describing the fields of structured types built with structure and union.

The void type

val void : unit typ

Value representing the C void type. Void values appear in OCaml as the unit type, so using void in an argument or result type specification produces a function which accepts or returns unit.

Dereferencing a pointer to void is an error, as in C, and will raise IncompleteType.

Scalar types

The scalar types consist of the Arithmetic types and the Pointer types.

Arithmetic types

The arithmetic types consist of the signed and unsigned integer types (including character types) and the floating types. There are values representing both exact-width integer types (of 8, 16, 32 and 64 bits) and types whose size depend on the platform (signed and unsigned short, int, long, long long).

val char : char typ

Value representing the C type char.

Signed integer types
val schar : int typ

Value representing the C type signed char.

val short : int typ

Value representing the C type (signed) short.

val int : int typ

Value representing the C type (signed) int.

val long : Signed.long typ

Value representing the C type (signed) long.

val llong : Signed.llong typ

Value representing the C type (signed) long long.

val nativeint : nativeint typ

Value representing the C type (signed) int.

val int8_t : int typ

Value representing an 8-bit signed integer C type.

val int16_t : int typ

Value representing a 16-bit signed integer C type.

val int32_t : int32 typ

Value representing a 32-bit signed integer C type.

val int64_t : int64 typ

Value representing a 64-bit signed integer C type.

module Intptr : Signed.S
val intptr_t : Intptr.t typ

Value representing the C type intptr_t.

module Ptrdiff : Signed.S
val ptrdiff_t : Ptrdiff.t typ

Value representing the C type ptrdiff_t.

val camlint : int typ

Value representing an integer type with the same storage requirements as an OCaml int.

Unsigned integer types
val uchar : Unsigned.uchar typ

Value representing the C type unsigned char.

val bool : bool typ

Value representing the C type bool.

val uint8_t : Unsigned.uint8 typ

Value representing an 8-bit unsigned integer C type.

val uint16_t : Unsigned.uint16 typ

Value representing a 16-bit unsigned integer C type.

val uint32_t : Unsigned.uint32 typ

Value representing a 32-bit unsigned integer C type.

val uint64_t : Unsigned.uint64 typ

Value representing a 64-bit unsigned integer C type.

val size_t : Unsigned.size_t typ

Value representing the C type size_t, an alias for one of the unsigned integer types. The actual size and alignment requirements for size_t vary between platforms.

val ushort : Unsigned.ushort typ

Value representing the C type unsigned short.

val sint : Signed.sint typ

Value representing the C type int.

val uint : Unsigned.uint typ

Value representing the C type unsigned int.

val ulong : Unsigned.ulong typ

Value representing the C type unsigned long.

val ullong : Unsigned.ullong typ

Value representing the C type unsigned long long.

val uintptr_t : Uintptr.t typ

Value representing the C type uintptr_t.

Floating types
val float : float typ

Value representing the C single-precision float type.

val double : float typ

Value representing the C type double.

val ldouble : LDouble.t typ

Value representing the C type long double.

Complex types
val complex32 : Complex.t typ

Value representing the C99 single-precision float complex type.

val complex64 : Complex.t typ

Value representing the C99 double-precision double complex type.

val complexld : ComplexL.t typ

Value representing the C99 long-double-precision long double complex type.

Pointer types
C-compatible pointers
val ptr : 'a typ -> 'a Ctypes_static.ptr typ

Construct a pointer type from an existing type (called the reference type).

val ptr_opt : 'a typ -> 'a Ctypes_static.ptr option typ

Construct a pointer type from an existing type (called the reference type). This behaves like ptr, except that null pointers appear in OCaml as None.

val string : string typ

A high-level representation of the string type.

On the C side this behaves like char *; on the OCaml side values read and written using string are simply native OCaml strings.

To avoid problems with the garbage collector, values passed using string are copied into immovable C-managed storage before being passed to C.

When the memory is not owned by the C code, -- i.e. when creating or initializing a struct in OCaml before passing it to C -- then the string view isn't a good choice, because there's no way to manage the lifetime of the C copy of the generated OCaml string.

val string_opt : string option typ

A high-level representation of the string type. This behaves like string, except that null pointers appear in OCaml as None.

OCaml pointers
val ocaml_string : string Ctypes_static.ocaml typ

Value representing the directly mapped storage of an OCaml string.

val ocaml_bytes : bytes Ctypes_static.ocaml typ

Value representing the directly mapped storage of an OCaml byte array.

Array types

C array types
val array : int -> 'a typ -> 'a Ctypes_static.carray typ

Construct a sized array type from a length and an existing type (called the element type).

Bigarray types
val bigarray : < element : 'a ; layout : Bigarray_compat.c_layout ; ba_repr : 'b ; dims : 'dims ; bigarray : 'bigarray ; carray : _ > Ctypes_static.bigarray_class -> 'dims -> ( 'a, 'b ) Bigarray_compat.kind -> 'bigarray typ

Construct a sized C-layout bigarray type representation from a bigarray class, the dimensions, and the Bigarray_compat.kind.

val fortran_bigarray : < element : 'a ; layout : Bigarray_compat.fortran_layout ; ba_repr : 'b ; dims : 'dims ; bigarray : 'bigarray ; carray : _ > Ctypes_static.bigarray_class -> 'dims -> ( 'a, 'b ) Bigarray_compat.kind -> 'bigarray typ

Construct a sized Fortran-layout bigarray type representation from a bigarray class, the dimensions, and the Bigarray_compat.kind.

val typ_of_bigarray_kind : ( 'a, 'b ) Bigarray_compat.kind -> 'a typ

typ_of_bigarray_kind k is the type corresponding to the Bigarray kind k.

Struct and union types

type ('a, 't) field
val structure : string -> 's Ctypes_static.structure typ

Construct a new structure type. The type value returned is incomplete and can be updated using field until it is passed to seal, at which point the set of fields is fixed.

The type ('_s structure typ) of the expression returned by the call structure tag includes a weak type variable, which can be explicitly instantiated to ensure that the OCaml values representing different C structure types have incompatible types. Typical usage is as follows:

type tagname

let tagname : tagname structure typ = structure "tagname"

val union : string -> 's Ctypes_static.union typ

Construct a new union type. This behaves analogously to structure; fields are added with field.

val field : 't typ -> string -> 'a typ -> ( 'a, ( 's, [< `Struct | `Union ] ) Ctypes_static.structured as 't ) field

field ty label ty' adds a field of type ty' with label label to the structure or union type ty and returns a field value that can be used to read and write the field in structure or union instances (e.g. using getf and setf).

Attempting to add a field to a union type that has been sealed with seal is an error, and will raise ModifyingSealedType.

val seal : ( _, [< `Struct | `Union ] ) Ctypes_static.structured typ -> unit

seal t completes the struct or union type t so that no further fields can be added. Struct and union types must be sealed before they can be used in a way that involves their size or alignment; see the documentation for IncompleteType for further details.

View types

val view : ?format_typ:( ( Format.formatter -> unit ) -> Format.formatter -> unit ) -> ?format:( Format.formatter -> 'b -> unit ) -> read:( 'a -> 'b ) -> write:( 'b -> 'a ) -> 'a typ -> 'b typ

view ~read:r ~write:w t creates a C type representation t' which behaves like t except that values read using t' are subsequently transformed using the function r and values written using t' are first transformed using the function w.

For example, given suitable definitions of string_of_char_ptr and char_ptr_of_string, the type representation

view ~read:string_of_char_ptr ~write:char_ptr_of_string (ptr char)

can be used to pass OCaml strings directly to and from bound C functions, or to read and write string members in structs and arrays. (In fact, the string type representation is defined in exactly this way.)

The optional argument format_typ is used by the Ctypes.format_typ and string_of_typ functions to print the type at the top level and elsewhere. If format_typ is not supplied the printer for t is used instead.

The optional argument format is used by the Ctypes.format and string_of functions to print the values. If format_val is not supplied the printer for t is used instead.

val typedef : 'a typ -> string -> 'a typ

typedef t name creates a C type representation t' which is equivalent to t except its name is printed as name.

This is useful when generating C stubs involving "anonymous" types, for example: typedef struct { int f } typedef_name;

Abstract types

val abstract : name:string -> size:int -> alignment:int -> 'a Ctypes_static.abstract typ

Create an abstract type specification from the size and alignment requirements for the type.

Injection of concrete types

val lift_typ : 'a Ctypes_static.typ -> 'a typ

lift_typ t turns a concrete type representation into an abstract type representation.

For example, retrieving struct layout from C involves working with an abstract representation of types which do not support operations such as sizeof. The lift_typ function makes it possible to use concrete type representations wherever such abstract type representations are needed.

Function types

Abstract interface to C function type descriptions

type 'a fn = 'a Ctypes_static.fn

The type of values representing C function types. A value of type t fn can be used to bind to C functions and to describe type of OCaml functions passed to C.

val (@->) : 'a typ -> 'b fn -> ( 'a -> 'b ) fn

Construct a function type from a type and an existing function type. This corresponds to prepending a parameter to a C function parameter list. For example,

int @-> ptr void @-> returning float

describes a function type that accepts two arguments -- an integer and a pointer to void -- and returns a float.

val returning : 'a typ -> 'a fn

Give the return type of a C function. Note that returning is intended to be used together with (@->); see the documentation for (@->) for an example.

type 'a static_funptr = 'a Ctypes_static.static_funptr

Function pointer types

The type of values representing C function pointer types.

val static_funptr : 'a fn -> 'a Ctypes_static.static_funptr typ

Construct a function pointer type from an existing function type (called the reference type).