perlcall



PERLCALL(1)            Perl Programmers Reference Guide            PERLCALL(1)




NAME

       perlcall - Perl calling conventions from C


DESCRIPTION

       The purpose of this document is to show you how to call Perl subrou-
       tines directly from C, i.e., how to write callbacks.

       Apart from discussing the C interface provided by Perl for writing
       callbacks the document uses a series of examples to show how the inter-
       face actually works in practice.  In addition some techniques for cod-
       ing callbacks are covered.

       Examples where callbacks are necessary include

       * An Error Handler
            You have created an XSUB interface to an application’s C API.

            A fairly common feature in applications is to allow you to define
            a C function that will be called whenever something nasty occurs.
            What we would like is to be able to specify a Perl subroutine that
            will be called instead.

       * An Event Driven Program
            The classic example of where callbacks are used is when writing an
            event driven program like for an X windows application.  In this
            case you register functions to be called whenever specific events
            occur, e.g., a mouse button is pressed, the cursor moves into a
            window or a menu item is selected.

       Although the techniques described here are applicable when embedding
       Perl in a C program, this is not the primary goal of this document.
       There are other details that must be considered and are specific to
       embedding Perl. For details on embedding Perl in C refer to perlembed.

       Before you launch yourself head first into the rest of this document,
       it would be a good idea to have read the following two documents - per-
       lxs and perlguts.


THE CALL_ FUNCTIONS

       Although this stuff is easier to explain using examples, you first need
       be aware of a few important definitions.

       Perl has a number of C functions that allow you to call Perl subrou-
       tines.  They are

           I32 call_sv(SV* sv, I32 flags) ;
           I32 call_pv(char *subname, I32 flags) ;
           I32 call_method(char *methname, I32 flags) ;
           I32 call_argv(char *subname, I32 flags, register char **argv) ;

       The key function is call_sv.  All the other functions are fairly simple
       wrappers which make it easier to call Perl subroutines in special
       cases. At the end of the day they will all call call_sv to invoke the
       Perl subroutine.

       All the call_* functions have a "flags" parameter which is used to pass
       a bit mask of options to Perl.  This bit mask operates identically for
       each of the functions.  The settings available in the bit mask are dis-
       cussed in "FLAG VALUES".

       Each of the functions will now be discussed in turn.

       call_sv
            call_sv takes two parameters, the first, "sv", is an SV*.  This
            allows you to specify the Perl subroutine to be called either as a
            C string (which has first been converted to an SV) or a reference
            to a subroutine. The section, Using call_sv, shows how you can
            make use of call_sv.

       call_pv
            The function, call_pv, is similar to call_sv except it expects its
            first parameter to be a C char* which identifies the Perl subrou-
            tine you want to call, e.g., "call_pv("fred", 0)".  If the subrou-
            tine you want to call is in another package, just include the
            package name in the string, e.g., "pkg::fred".

       call_method
            The function call_method is used to call a method from a Perl
            class.  The parameter "methname" corresponds to the name of the
            method to be called.  Note that the class that the method belongs
            to is passed on the Perl stack rather than in the parameter list.
            This class can be either the name of the class (for a static
            method) or a reference to an object (for a virtual method).  See
            perlobj for more information on static and virtual methods and
            "Using call_method" for an example of using call_method.

       call_argv
            call_argv calls the Perl subroutine specified by the C string
            stored in the "subname" parameter. It also takes the usual "flags"
            parameter.  The final parameter, "argv", consists of a NULL termi-
            nated list of C strings to be passed as parameters to the Perl
            subroutine.  See Using call_argv.

       All the functions return an integer. This is a count of the number of
       items returned by the Perl subroutine. The actual items returned by the
       subroutine are stored on the Perl stack.

       As a general rule you should always check the return value from these
       functions.  Even if you are expecting only a particular number of val-
       ues to be returned from the Perl subroutine, there is nothing to stop
       someone from doing something unexpected--don’t say you haven’t been
       warned.


FLAG VALUES

       The "flags" parameter in all the call_* functions is a bit mask which
       can consist of any combination of the symbols defined below, OR’ed
       together.

       G_VOID

       Calls the Perl subroutine in a void context.

       This flag has 2 effects:

       1.   It indicates to the subroutine being called that it is executing
            in a void context (if it executes wantarray the result will be the
            undefined value).

       2.   It ensures that nothing is actually returned from the subroutine.

       The value returned by the call_* function indicates how many items have
       been returned by the Perl subroutine - in this case it will be 0.

       G_SCALAR

       Calls the Perl subroutine in a scalar context.  This is the default
       context flag setting for all the call_* functions.

       This flag has 2 effects:

       1.   It indicates to the subroutine being called that it is executing
            in a scalar context (if it executes wantarray the result will be
            false).

       2.   It ensures that only a scalar is actually returned from the sub-
            routine.  The subroutine can, of course,  ignore the wantarray and
            return a list anyway. If so, then only the last element of the
            list will be returned.

       The value returned by the call_* function indicates how many items have
       been returned by the Perl subroutine - in this case it will be either 0
       or 1.

       If 0, then you have specified the G_DISCARD flag.

       If 1, then the item actually returned by the Perl subroutine will be
       stored on the Perl stack - the section Returning a Scalar shows how to
       access this value on the stack.  Remember that regardless of how many
       items the Perl subroutine returns, only the last one will be accessible
       from the stack - think of the case where only one value is returned as
       being a list with only one element.  Any other items that were returned
       will not exist by the time control returns from the call_* function.
       The section Returning a list in a scalar context shows an example of
       this behavior.

       G_ARRAY

       Calls the Perl subroutine in a list context.

       As with G_SCALAR, this flag has 2 effects:

       1.   It indicates to the subroutine being called that it is executing
            in a list context (if it executes wantarray the result will be
            true).

       2.   It ensures that all items returned from the subroutine will be
            accessible when control returns from the call_* function.

       The value returned by the call_* function indicates how many items have
       been returned by the Perl subroutine.

       If 0, then you have specified the G_DISCARD flag.

       If not 0, then it will be a count of the number of items returned by
       the subroutine. These items will be stored on the Perl stack.  The sec-
       tion Returning a list of values gives an example of using the G_ARRAY
       flag and the mechanics of accessing the returned items from the Perl
       stack.

       G_DISCARD

       By default, the call_* functions place the items returned from by the
       Perl subroutine on the stack.  If you are not interested in these
       items, then setting this flag will make Perl get rid of them automati-
       cally for you.  Note that it is still possible to indicate a context to
       the Perl subroutine by using either G_SCALAR or G_ARRAY.

       If you do not set this flag then it is very important that you make
       sure that any temporaries (i.e., parameters passed to the Perl subrou-
       tine and values returned from the subroutine) are disposed of yourself.
       The section Returning a Scalar gives details of how to dispose of these
       temporaries explicitly and the section Using Perl to dispose of tempo-
       raries discusses the specific circumstances where you can ignore the
       problem and let Perl deal with it for you.

       G_NOARGS

       Whenever a Perl subroutine is called using one of the call_* functions,
       it is assumed by default that parameters are to be passed to the sub-
       routine.  If you are not passing any parameters to the Perl subroutine,
       you can save a bit of time by setting this flag.  It has the effect of
       not creating the @_ array for the Perl subroutine.

       Although the functionality provided by this flag may seem straightfor-
       ward, it should be used only if there is a good reason to do so.  The
       reason for being cautious is that even if you have specified the
       G_NOARGS flag, it is still possible for the Perl subroutine that has
       been called to think that you have passed it parameters.

       In fact, what can happen is that the Perl subroutine you have called
       can access the @_ array from a previous Perl subroutine.  This will
       occur when the code that is executing the call_* function has itself
       been called from another Perl subroutine. The code below illustrates
       this

           sub fred
             { print "@_\n"  }

           sub joe
             { &fred }

           &joe(1,2,3) ;

       This will print

           1 2 3

       What has happened is that "fred" accesses the @_ array which belongs to
       "joe".

       G_EVAL

       It is possible for the Perl subroutine you are calling to terminate
       abnormally, e.g., by calling die explicitly or by not actually exist-
       ing.  By default, when either of these events occurs, the process will
       terminate immediately.  If you want to trap this type of event, specify
       the G_EVAL flag.  It will put an eval { } around the subroutine call.

       Whenever control returns from the call_* function you need to check the
       $@ variable as you would in a normal Perl script.

       The value returned from the call_* function is dependent on what other
       flags have been specified and whether an error has occurred.  Here are
       all the different cases that can occur:

       ·    If the call_* function returns normally, then the value returned
            is as specified in the previous sections.

       ·    If G_DISCARD is specified, the return value will always be 0.

       ·    If G_ARRAY is specified and an error has occurred, the return
            value will always be 0.

       ·    If G_SCALAR is specified and an error has occurred, the return
            value will be 1 and the value on the top of the stack will be
            undef. This means that if you have already detected the error by
            checking $@ and you want the program to continue, you must remem-
            ber to pop the undef from the stack.

       See Using G_EVAL for details on using G_EVAL.

       G_KEEPERR

       You may have noticed that using the G_EVAL flag described above will
       always clear the $@ variable and set it to a string describing the
       error iff there was an error in the called code.  This unqualified
       resetting of $@ can be problematic in the reliable identification of
       errors using the "eval {}" mechanism, because the possibility exists
       that perl will call other code (end of block processing code, for exam-
       ple) between the time the error causes $@ to be set within "eval {}",
       and the subsequent statement which checks for the value of $@ gets exe-
       cuted in the user’s script.

       This scenario will mostly be applicable to code that is meant to be
       called from within destructors, asynchronous callbacks, signal han-
       dlers, "__DIE__" or "__WARN__" hooks, and "tie" functions.  In such
       situations, you will not want to clear $@ at all, but simply to append
       any new errors to any existing value of $@.

       The G_KEEPERR flag is meant to be used in conjunction with G_EVAL in
       call_* functions that are used to implement such code.  This flag has
       no effect when G_EVAL is not used.

       When G_KEEPERR is used, any errors in the called code will be prefixed
       with the string "\t(in cleanup)", and appended to the current value of
       $@.  an error will not be appended if that same error string is already
       at the end of $@.

       In addition, a warning is generated using the appended string. This can
       be disabled using "no warnings ’misc’".

       The G_KEEPERR flag was introduced in Perl version 5.002.

       See Using G_KEEPERR for an example of a situation that warrants the use
       of this flag.

       Determining the Context

       As mentioned above, you can determine the context of the currently exe-
       cuting subroutine in Perl with wantarray.  The equivalent test can be
       made in C by using the "GIMME_V" macro, which returns "G_ARRAY" if you
       have been called in a list context, "G_SCALAR" if in a scalar context,
       or "G_VOID" if in a void context (i.e. the return value will not be
       used).  An older version of this macro is called "GIMME"; in a void
       context it returns "G_SCALAR" instead of "G_VOID".  An example of using
       the "GIMME_V" macro is shown in section Using GIMME_V.


KNOWN PROBLEMS

       This section outlines all known problems that exist in the call_* func-
       tions.

       1.   If you are intending to make use of both the G_EVAL and G_SCALAR
            flags in your code, use a version of Perl greater than 5.000.
            There is a bug in version 5.000 of Perl which means that the com-
            bination of these two flags will not work as described in the sec-
            tion FLAG VALUES.

            Specifically, if the two flags are used when calling a subroutine
            and that subroutine does not call die, the value returned by
            call_* will be wrong.

       2.   In Perl 5.000 and 5.001 there is a problem with using call_* if
            the Perl sub you are calling attempts to trap a die.

            The symptom of this problem is that the called Perl sub will con-
            tinue to completion, but whenever it attempts to pass control back
            to the XSUB, the program will immediately terminate.

            For example, say you want to call this Perl sub

                sub fred
                {
                    eval { die "Fatal Error" ; }
                    print "Trapped error: $@\n"
                        if $@ ;
                }

            via this XSUB

                void
                Call_fred()
                    CODE:
                    PUSHMARK(SP) ;
                    call_pv("fred", G_DISCARD│G_NOARGS) ;
                    fprintf(stderr, "back in Call_fred\n") ;

            When "Call_fred" is executed it will print

                Trapped error: Fatal Error

            As control never returns to "Call_fred", the "back in Call_fred"
            string will not get printed.

            To work around this problem, you can either upgrade to Perl 5.002
            or higher, or use the G_EVAL flag with call_* as shown below

                void
                Call_fred()
                    CODE:
                    PUSHMARK(SP) ;
                    call_pv("fred", G_EVAL│G_DISCARD│G_NOARGS) ;
                    fprintf(stderr, "back in Call_fred\n") ;


EXAMPLES

       Enough of the definition talk, let’s have a few examples.

       Perl provides many macros to assist in accessing the Perl stack.  Wher-
       ever possible, these macros should always be used when interfacing to
       Perl internals.  We hope this should make the code less vulnerable to
       any changes made to Perl in the future.

       Another point worth noting is that in the first series of examples I
       have made use of only the call_pv function.  This has been done to keep
       the code simpler and ease you into the topic.  Wherever possible, if
       the choice is between using call_pv and call_sv, you should always try
       to use call_sv.  See Using call_sv for details.

       No Parameters, Nothing returned

       This first trivial example will call a Perl subroutine, PrintUID, to
       print out the UID of the process.

           sub PrintUID
           {
               print "UID is $<\n" ;
           }

       and here is a C function to call it

           static void
           call_PrintUID()
           {
               dSP ;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               call_pv("PrintUID", G_DISCARD│G_NOARGS) ;
           }

       Simple, eh.

       A few points to note about this example.

       1.   Ignore "dSP" and "PUSHMARK(SP)" for now. They will be discussed in
            the next example.

       2.   We aren’t passing any parameters to PrintUID so G_NOARGS can be
            specified.

       3.   We aren’t interested in anything returned from PrintUID, so G_DIS-
            CARD is specified. Even if PrintUID was changed to return some
            value(s), having specified G_DISCARD will mean that they will be
            wiped by the time control returns from call_pv.

       4.   As call_pv is being used, the Perl subroutine is specified as a C
            string. In this case the subroutine name has been ’hard-wired’
            into the code.

       5.   Because we specified G_DISCARD, it is not necessary to check the
            value returned from call_pv. It will always be 0.

       Passing Parameters

       Now let’s make a slightly more complex example. This time we want to
       call a Perl subroutine, "LeftString", which will take 2 parameters--a
       string ($s) and an integer ($n).  The subroutine will simply print the
       first $n characters of the string.

       So the Perl subroutine would look like this

           sub LeftString
           {
               my($s, $n) = @_ ;
               print substr($s, 0, $n), "\n" ;
           }

       The C function required to call LeftString would look like this.

           static void
           call_LeftString(a, b)
           char * a ;
           int b ;
           {
               dSP ;

               ENTER ;
               SAVETMPS ;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSVpv(a, 0)));
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(b)));
               PUTBACK ;

               call_pv("LeftString", G_DISCARD);

               FREETMPS ;
               LEAVE ;
           }

       Here are a few notes on the C function call_LeftString.

       1.   Parameters are passed to the Perl subroutine using the Perl stack.
            This is the purpose of the code beginning with the line "dSP" and
            ending with the line "PUTBACK".  The "dSP" declares a local copy
            of the stack pointer.  This local copy should always be accessed
            as "SP".

       2.   If you are going to put something onto the Perl stack, you need to
            know where to put it. This is the purpose of the macro "dSP"--it
            declares and initializes a local copy of the Perl stack pointer.

            All the other macros which will be used in this example require
            you to have used this macro.

            The exception to this rule is if you are calling a Perl subroutine
            directly from an XSUB function. In this case it is not necessary
            to use the "dSP" macro explicitly--it will be declared for you
            automatically.

       3.   Any parameters to be pushed onto the stack should be bracketed by
            the "PUSHMARK" and "PUTBACK" macros.  The purpose of these two
            macros, in this context, is to count the number of parameters you
            are pushing automatically.  Then whenever Perl is creating the @_
            array for the subroutine, it knows how big to make it.

            The "PUSHMARK" macro tells Perl to make a mental note of the cur-
            rent stack pointer. Even if you aren’t passing any parameters
            (like the example shown in the section No Parameters, Nothing
            returned) you must still call the "PUSHMARK" macro before you can
            call any of the call_* functions--Perl still needs to know that
            there are no parameters.

            The "PUTBACK" macro sets the global copy of the stack pointer to
            be the same as our local copy. If we didn’t do this call_pv
            wouldn’t know where the two parameters we pushed were--remember
            that up to now all the stack pointer manipulation we have done is
            with our local copy, not the global copy.

       4.   Next, we come to XPUSHs. This is where the parameters actually get
            pushed onto the stack. In this case we are pushing a string and an
            integer.

            See "XSUBs and the Argument Stack" in perlguts for details on how
            the XPUSH macros work.

       5.   Because we created temporary values (by means of sv_2mortal()
            calls) we will have to tidy up the Perl stack and dispose of mor-
            tal SVs.

            This is the purpose of

                ENTER ;
                SAVETMPS ;

            at the start of the function, and

                FREETMPS ;
                LEAVE ;

            at the end. The "ENTER"/"SAVETMPS" pair creates a boundary for any
            temporaries we create.  This means that the temporaries we get rid
            of will be limited to those which were created after these calls.

            The "FREETMPS"/"LEAVE" pair will get rid of any values returned by
            the Perl subroutine (see next example), plus it will also dump the
            mortal SVs we have created.  Having "ENTER"/"SAVETMPS" at the
            beginning of the code makes sure that no other mortals are
            destroyed.

            Think of these macros as working a bit like using "{" and "}" in
            Perl to limit the scope of local variables.

            See the section Using Perl to dispose of temporaries for details
            of an alternative to using these macros.

       6.   Finally, LeftString can now be called via the call_pv function.
            The only flag specified this time is G_DISCARD. Because we are
            passing 2 parameters to the Perl subroutine this time, we have not
            specified G_NOARGS.

       Returning a Scalar

       Now for an example of dealing with the items returned from a Perl sub-
       routine.

       Here is a Perl subroutine, Adder, that takes 2 integer parameters and
       simply returns their sum.

           sub Adder
           {
               my($a, $b) = @_ ;
               $a + $b ;
           }

       Because we are now concerned with the return value from Adder, the C
       function required to call it is now a bit more complex.

           static void
           call_Adder(a, b)
           int a ;
           int b ;
           {
               dSP ;
               int count ;

               ENTER ;
               SAVETMPS;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(a)));
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(b)));
               PUTBACK ;

               count = call_pv("Adder", G_SCALAR);

               SPAGAIN ;

               if (count != 1)
                   croak("Big trouble\n") ;

               printf ("The sum of %d and %d is %d\n", a, b, POPi) ;

               PUTBACK ;
               FREETMPS ;
               LEAVE ;
           }

       Points to note this time are

       1.   The only flag specified this time was G_SCALAR. That means the @_
            array will be created and that the value returned by Adder will
            still exist after the call to call_pv.

       2.   The purpose of the macro "SPAGAIN" is to refresh the local copy of
            the stack pointer. This is necessary because it is possible that
            the memory allocated to the Perl stack has been reallocated whilst
            in the call_pv call.

            If you are making use of the Perl stack pointer in your code you
            must always refresh the local copy using SPAGAIN whenever you make
            use of the call_* functions or any other Perl internal function.

       3.   Although only a single value was expected to be returned from
            Adder, it is still good practice to check the return code from
            call_pv anyway.

            Expecting a single value is not quite the same as knowing that
            there will be one. If someone modified Adder to return a list and
            we didn’t check for that possibility and take appropriate action
            the Perl stack would end up in an inconsistent state. That is
            something you really don’t want to happen ever.

       4.   The "POPi" macro is used here to pop the return value from the
            stack.  In this case we wanted an integer, so "POPi" was used.

            Here is the complete list of POP macros available, along with the
            types they return.

                POPs        SV
                POPp        pointer
                POPn        double
                POPi        integer
                POPl        long

       5.   The final "PUTBACK" is used to leave the Perl stack in a consis-
            tent state before exiting the function.  This is necessary because
            when we popped the return value from the stack with "POPi" it
            updated only our local copy of the stack pointer.  Remember, "PUT-
            BACK" sets the global stack pointer to be the same as our local
            copy.

       Returning a list of values

       Now, let’s extend the previous example to return both the sum of the
       parameters and the difference.

       Here is the Perl subroutine

           sub AddSubtract
           {
              my($a, $b) = @_ ;
              ($a+$b, $a-$b) ;
           }

       and this is the C function

           static void
           call_AddSubtract(a, b)
           int a ;
           int b ;
           {
               dSP ;
               int count ;

               ENTER ;
               SAVETMPS;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(a)));
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(b)));
               PUTBACK ;

               count = call_pv("AddSubtract", G_ARRAY);

               SPAGAIN ;

               if (count != 2)
                   croak("Big trouble\n") ;

               printf ("%d - %d = %d\n", a, b, POPi) ;
               printf ("%d + %d = %d\n", a, b, POPi) ;

               PUTBACK ;
               FREETMPS ;
               LEAVE ;
           }

       If call_AddSubtract is called like this

           call_AddSubtract(7, 4) ;

       then here is the output

           7 - 4 = 3
           7 + 4 = 11

       Notes

       1.   We wanted list context, so G_ARRAY was used.

       2.   Not surprisingly "POPi" is used twice this time because we were
            retrieving 2 values from the stack. The important thing to note is
            that when using the "POP*" macros they come off the stack in
            reverse order.

       Returning a list in a scalar context

       Say the Perl subroutine in the previous section was called in a scalar
       context, like this

           static void
           call_AddSubScalar(a, b)
           int a ;
           int b ;
           {
               dSP ;
               int count ;
               int i ;

               ENTER ;
               SAVETMPS;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(a)));
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(b)));
               PUTBACK ;

               count = call_pv("AddSubtract", G_SCALAR);

               SPAGAIN ;

               printf ("Items Returned = %d\n", count) ;

               for (i = 1 ; i <= count ; ++i)
                   printf ("Value %d = %d\n", i, POPi) ;

               PUTBACK ;
               FREETMPS ;
               LEAVE ;
           }

       The other modification made is that call_AddSubScalar will print the
       number of items returned from the Perl subroutine and their value (for
       simplicity it assumes that they are integer).  So if call_AddSubScalar
       is called

           call_AddSubScalar(7, 4) ;

       then the output will be

           Items Returned = 1
           Value 1 = 3

       In this case the main point to note is that only the last item in the
       list is returned from the subroutine, AddSubtract actually made it back
       to call_AddSubScalar.

       Returning Data from Perl via the parameter list

       It is also possible to return values directly via the parameter list -
       whether it is actually desirable to do it is another matter entirely.

       The Perl subroutine, Inc, below takes 2 parameters and increments each
       directly.

           sub Inc
           {
               ++ $_[0] ;
               ++ $_[1] ;
           }

       and here is a C function to call it.

           static void
           call_Inc(a, b)
           int a ;
           int b ;
           {
               dSP ;
               int count ;
               SV * sva ;
               SV * svb ;

               ENTER ;
               SAVETMPS;

               sva = sv_2mortal(newSViv(a)) ;
               svb = sv_2mortal(newSViv(b)) ;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sva);
               XPUSHs(svb);
               PUTBACK ;

               count = call_pv("Inc", G_DISCARD);

               if (count != 0)
                   croak ("call_Inc: expected 0 values from ’Inc’, got %d\n",
                          count) ;

               printf ("%d + 1 = %d\n", a, SvIV(sva)) ;
               printf ("%d + 1 = %d\n", b, SvIV(svb)) ;

               FREETMPS ;
               LEAVE ;
           }

       To be able to access the two parameters that were pushed onto the stack
       after they return from call_pv it is necessary to make a note of their
       addresses--thus the two variables "sva" and "svb".

       The reason this is necessary is that the area of the Perl stack which
       held them will very likely have been overwritten by something else by
       the time control returns from call_pv.

       Using G_EVAL

       Now an example using G_EVAL. Below is a Perl subroutine which computes
       the difference of its 2 parameters. If this would result in a negative
       result, the subroutine calls die.

           sub Subtract
           {
               my ($a, $b) = @_ ;

               die "death can be fatal\n" if $a < $b ;

               $a - $b ;
           }

       and some C to call it

           static void
           call_Subtract(a, b)
           int a ;
           int b ;
           {
               dSP ;
               int count ;

               ENTER ;
               SAVETMPS;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(a)));
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(b)));
               PUTBACK ;

               count = call_pv("Subtract", G_EVAL│G_SCALAR);

               SPAGAIN ;

               /* Check the eval first */
               if (SvTRUE(ERRSV))
               {
                   STRLEN n_a;
                   printf ("Uh oh - %s\n", SvPV(ERRSV, n_a)) ;
                   POPs ;
               }
               else
               {
                   if (count != 1)
                      croak("call_Subtract: wanted 1 value from ’Subtract’, got %d\n",
                               count) ;

                   printf ("%d - %d = %d\n", a, b, POPi) ;
               }

               PUTBACK ;
               FREETMPS ;
               LEAVE ;
           }

       If call_Subtract is called thus

           call_Subtract(4, 5)

       the following will be printed

           Uh oh - death can be fatal

       Notes

       1.   We want to be able to catch the die so we have used the G_EVAL
            flag.  Not specifying this flag would mean that the program would
            terminate immediately at the die statement in the subroutine Sub-
            tract.

       2.   The code

                if (SvTRUE(ERRSV))
                {
                    STRLEN n_a;
                    printf ("Uh oh - %s\n", SvPV(ERRSV, n_a)) ;
                    POPs ;
                }

            is the direct equivalent of this bit of Perl

                print "Uh oh - $@\n" if $@ ;

            "PL_errgv" is a perl global of type "GV *" that points to the sym-
            bol table entry containing the error.  "ERRSV" therefore refers to
            the C equivalent of $@.

       3.   Note that the stack is popped using "POPs" in the block where
            "SvTRUE(ERRSV)" is true.  This is necessary because whenever a
            call_* function invoked with G_EVAL│G_SCALAR returns an error, the
            top of the stack holds the value undef. Because we want the pro-
            gram to continue after detecting this error, it is essential that
            the stack is tidied up by removing the undef.

       Using G_KEEPERR

       Consider this rather facetious example, where we have used an XS ver-
       sion of the call_Subtract example above inside a destructor:

           package Foo;
           sub new { bless {}, $_[0] }
           sub Subtract {
               my($a,$b) = @_;
               die "death can be fatal" if $a < $b ;
               $a - $b;
           }
           sub DESTROY { call_Subtract(5, 4); }
           sub foo { die "foo dies"; }

           package main;
           eval { Foo->new->foo };
           print "Saw: $@" if $@;             # should be, but isn’t

       This example will fail to recognize that an error occurred inside the
       "eval {}".  Here’s why: the call_Subtract code got executed while perl
       was cleaning up temporaries when exiting the eval block, and because
       call_Subtract is implemented with call_pv using the G_EVAL flag, it
       promptly reset $@.  This results in the failure of the outermost test
       for $@, and thereby the failure of the error trap.

       Appending the G_KEEPERR flag, so that the call_pv call in call_Subtract
       reads:

               count = call_pv("Subtract", G_EVAL│G_SCALAR│G_KEEPERR);

       will preserve the error and restore reliable error handling.

       Using call_sv

       In all the previous examples I have ’hard-wired’ the name of the Perl
       subroutine to be called from C.  Most of the time though, it is more
       convenient to be able to specify the name of the Perl subroutine from
       within the Perl script.

       Consider the Perl code below

           sub fred
           {
               print "Hello there\n" ;
           }

           CallSubPV("fred") ;

       Here is a snippet of XSUB which defines CallSubPV.

           void
           CallSubPV(name)
               char *  name
               CODE:
               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               call_pv(name, G_DISCARD│G_NOARGS) ;

       That is fine as far as it goes. The thing is, the Perl subroutine can
       be specified as only a string.  For Perl 4 this was adequate, but Perl
       5 allows references to subroutines and anonymous subroutines.  This is
       where call_sv is useful.

       The code below for CallSubSV is identical to CallSubPV except that the
       "name" parameter is now defined as an SV* and we use call_sv instead of
       call_pv.

           void
           CallSubSV(name)
               SV *    name
               CODE:
               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               call_sv(name, G_DISCARD│G_NOARGS) ;

       Because we are using an SV to call fred the following can all be used

           CallSubSV("fred") ;
           CallSubSV(\&fred) ;
           $ref = \&fred ;
           CallSubSV($ref) ;
           CallSubSV( sub { print "Hello there\n" } ) ;

       As you can see, call_sv gives you much greater flexibility in how you
       can specify the Perl subroutine.

       You should note that if it is necessary to store the SV ("name" in the
       example above) which corresponds to the Perl subroutine so that it can
       be used later in the program, it not enough just to store a copy of the
       pointer to the SV. Say the code above had been like this

           static SV * rememberSub ;

           void
           SaveSub1(name)
               SV *    name
               CODE:
               rememberSub = name ;

           void
           CallSavedSub1()
               CODE:
               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               call_sv(rememberSub, G_DISCARD│G_NOARGS) ;

       The reason this is wrong is that by the time you come to use the
       pointer "rememberSub" in "CallSavedSub1", it may or may not still refer
       to the Perl subroutine that was recorded in "SaveSub1".  This is par-
       ticularly true for these cases

           SaveSub1(\&fred) ;
           CallSavedSub1() ;

           SaveSub1( sub { print "Hello there\n" } ) ;
           CallSavedSub1() ;

       By the time each of the "SaveSub1" statements above have been executed,
       the SV*s which corresponded to the parameters will no longer exist.
       Expect an error message from Perl of the form

           Can’t use an undefined value as a subroutine reference at ...

       for each of the "CallSavedSub1" lines.

       Similarly, with this code

           $ref = \&fred ;
           SaveSub1($ref) ;
           $ref = 47 ;
           CallSavedSub1() ;

       you can expect one of these messages (which you actually get is depen-
       dent on the version of Perl you are using)

           Not a CODE reference at ...
           Undefined subroutine &main::47 called ...

       The variable $ref may have referred to the subroutine "fred" whenever
       the call to "SaveSub1" was made but by the time "CallSavedSub1" gets
       called it now holds the number 47. Because we saved only a pointer to
       the original SV in "SaveSub1", any changes to $ref will be tracked by
       the pointer "rememberSub". This means that whenever "CallSavedSub1"
       gets called, it will attempt to execute the code which is referenced by
       the SV* "rememberSub".  In this case though, it now refers to the inte-
       ger 47, so expect Perl to complain loudly.

       A similar but more subtle problem is illustrated with this code

           $ref = \&fred ;
           SaveSub1($ref) ;
           $ref = \&joe ;
           CallSavedSub1() ;

       This time whenever "CallSavedSub1" get called it will execute the Perl
       subroutine "joe" (assuming it exists) rather than "fred" as was origi-
       nally requested in the call to "SaveSub1".

       To get around these problems it is necessary to take a full copy of the
       SV.  The code below shows "SaveSub2" modified to do that

           static SV * keepSub = (SV*)NULL ;

           void
           SaveSub2(name)
               SV *    name
               CODE:
               /* Take a copy of the callback */
               if (keepSub == (SV*)NULL)
                   /* First time, so create a new SV */
                   keepSub = newSVsv(name) ;
               else
                   /* Been here before, so overwrite */
                   SvSetSV(keepSub, name) ;

           void
           CallSavedSub2()
               CODE:
               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               call_sv(keepSub, G_DISCARD│G_NOARGS) ;

       To avoid creating a new SV every time "SaveSub2" is called, the func-
       tion first checks to see if it has been called before.  If not, then
       space for a new SV is allocated and the reference to the Perl subrou-
       tine, "name" is copied to the variable "keepSub" in one operation using
       "newSVsv".  Thereafter, whenever "SaveSub2" is called the existing SV,
       "keepSub", is overwritten with the new value using "SvSetSV".

       Using call_argv

       Here is a Perl subroutine which prints whatever parameters are passed
       to it.

           sub PrintList
           {
               my(@list) = @_ ;

               foreach (@list) { print "$_\n" }
           }

       and here is an example of call_argv which will call PrintList.

           static char * words[] = {"alpha", "beta", "gamma", "delta", NULL} ;

           static void
           call_PrintList()
           {
               dSP ;

               call_argv("PrintList", G_DISCARD, words) ;
           }

       Note that it is not necessary to call "PUSHMARK" in this instance.
       This is because call_argv will do it for you.

       Using call_method

       Consider the following Perl code

           {
               package Mine ;

               sub new
               {
                   my($type) = shift ;
                   bless [@_]
               }

               sub Display
               {
                   my ($self, $index) = @_ ;
                   print "$index: $$self[$index]\n" ;
               }

               sub PrintID
               {
                   my($class) = @_ ;
                   print "This is Class $class version 1.0\n" ;
               }
           }

       It implements just a very simple class to manage an array.  Apart from
       the constructor, "new", it declares methods, one static and one vir-
       tual. The static method, "PrintID", prints out simply the class name
       and a version number. The virtual method, "Display", prints out a sin-
       gle element of the array.  Here is an all Perl example of using it.

           $a = new Mine (’red’, ’green’, ’blue’) ;
           $a->Display(1) ;
           PrintID Mine;

       will print

           1: green
           This is Class Mine version 1.0

       Calling a Perl method from C is fairly straightforward. The following
       things are required

       ·    a reference to the object for a virtual method or the name of the
            class for a static method.

       ·    the name of the method.

       ·    any other parameters specific to the method.

       Here is a simple XSUB which illustrates the mechanics of calling both
       the "PrintID" and "Display" methods from C.

           void
           call_Method(ref, method, index)
               SV *    ref
               char *  method
               int             index
               CODE:
               PUSHMARK(SP);
               XPUSHs(ref);
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(index))) ;
               PUTBACK;

               call_method(method, G_DISCARD) ;

           void
           call_PrintID(class, method)
               char *  class
               char *  method
               CODE:
               PUSHMARK(SP);
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSVpv(class, 0))) ;
               PUTBACK;

               call_method(method, G_DISCARD) ;

       So the methods "PrintID" and "Display" can be invoked like this

           $a = new Mine (’red’, ’green’, ’blue’) ;
           call_Method($a, ’Display’, 1) ;
           call_PrintID(’Mine’, ’PrintID’) ;

       The only thing to note is that in both the static and virtual methods,
       the method name is not passed via the stack--it is used as the first
       parameter to call_method.

       Using GIMME_V

       Here is a trivial XSUB which prints the context in which it is cur-
       rently executing.

           void
           PrintContext()
               CODE:
               I32 gimme = GIMME_V;
               if (gimme == G_VOID)
                   printf ("Context is Void\n") ;
               else if (gimme == G_SCALAR)
                   printf ("Context is Scalar\n") ;
               else
                   printf ("Context is Array\n") ;

       and here is some Perl to test it

           PrintContext ;
           $a = PrintContext ;
           @a = PrintContext ;

       The output from that will be

           Context is Void
           Context is Scalar
           Context is Array

       Using Perl to dispose of temporaries

       In the examples given to date, any temporaries created in the callback
       (i.e., parameters passed on the stack to the call_* function or values
       returned via the stack) have been freed by one of these methods

       ·    specifying the G_DISCARD flag with call_*.

       ·    explicitly disposed of using the "ENTER"/"SAVETMPS" -
            "FREETMPS"/"LEAVE" pairing.

       There is another method which can be used, namely letting Perl do it
       for you automatically whenever it regains control after the callback
       has terminated.  This is done by simply not using the

           ENTER ;
           SAVETMPS ;
           ...
           FREETMPS ;
           LEAVE ;

       sequence in the callback (and not, of course, specifying the G_DISCARD
       flag).

       If you are going to use this method you have to be aware of a possible
       memory leak which can arise under very specific circumstances.  To
       explain these circumstances you need to know a bit about the flow of
       control between Perl and the callback routine.

       The examples given at the start of the document (an error handler and
       an event driven program) are typical of the two main sorts of flow con-
       trol that you are likely to encounter with callbacks.  There is a very
       important distinction between them, so pay attention.

       In the first example, an error handler, the flow of control could be as
       follows.  You have created an interface to an external library.  Con-
       trol can reach the external library like this

           perl --> XSUB --> external library

       Whilst control is in the library, an error condition occurs. You have
       previously set up a Perl callback to handle this situation, so it will
       get executed. Once the callback has finished, control will drop back to
       Perl again.  Here is what the flow of control will be like in that sit-
       uation

           perl --> XSUB --> external library
                             ...
                             error occurs
                             ...
                             external library --> call_* --> perl
                                                                 │
           perl <-- XSUB <-- external library <-- call_* <----+

       After processing of the error using call_* is completed, control
       reverts back to Perl more or less immediately.

       In the diagram, the further right you go the more deeply nested the
       scope is.  It is only when control is back with perl on the extreme
       left of the diagram that you will have dropped back to the enclosing
       scope and any temporaries you have left hanging around will be freed.

       In the second example, an event driven program, the flow of control
       will be more like this

           perl --> XSUB --> event handler
                             ...
                             event handler --> call_* --> perl
                                                              │
                             event handler <-- call_* <----+
                             ...
                             event handler --> call_* --> perl
                                                              │
                             event handler <-- call_* <----+
                             ...
                             event handler --> call_* --> perl
                                                              │
                             event handler <-- call_* <----+

       In this case the flow of control can consist of only the repeated
       sequence

           event handler --> call_* --> perl

       for practically the complete duration of the program.  This means that
       control may never drop back to the surrounding scope in Perl at the
       extreme left.

       So what is the big problem? Well, if you are expecting Perl to tidy up
       those temporaries for you, you might be in for a long wait.  For Perl
       to dispose of your temporaries, control must drop back to the enclosing
       scope at some stage.  In the event driven scenario that may never hap-
       pen.  This means that as time goes on, your program will create more
       and more temporaries, none of which will ever be freed. As each of
       these temporaries consumes some memory your program will eventually
       consume all the available memory in your system--kapow!

       So here is the bottom line--if you are sure that control will revert
       back to the enclosing Perl scope fairly quickly after the end of your
       callback, then it isn’t absolutely necessary to dispose explicitly of
       any temporaries you may have created. Mind you, if you are at all
       uncertain about what to do, it doesn’t do any harm to tidy up anyway.

       Strategies for storing Callback Context Information

       Potentially one of the trickiest problems to overcome when designing a
       callback interface can be figuring out how to store the mapping between
       the C callback function and the Perl equivalent.

       To help understand why this can be a real problem first consider how a
       callback is set up in an all C environment.  Typically a C API will
       provide a function to register a callback.  This will expect a pointer
       to a function as one of its parameters.  Below is a call to a hypothet-
       ical function "register_fatal" which registers the C function to get
       called when a fatal error occurs.

           register_fatal(cb1) ;

       The single parameter "cb1" is a pointer to a function, so you must have
       defined "cb1" in your code, say something like this

           static void
           cb1()
           {
               printf ("Fatal Error\n") ;
               exit(1) ;
           }

       Now change that to call a Perl subroutine instead

           static SV * callback = (SV*)NULL;

           static void
           cb1()
           {
               dSP ;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;

               /* Call the Perl sub to process the callback */
               call_sv(callback, G_DISCARD) ;
           }

           void
           register_fatal(fn)
               SV *    fn
               CODE:
               /* Remember the Perl sub */
               if (callback == (SV*)NULL)
                   callback = newSVsv(fn) ;
               else
                   SvSetSV(callback, fn) ;

               /* register the callback with the external library */
               register_fatal(cb1) ;

       where the Perl equivalent of "register_fatal" and the callback it reg-
       isters, "pcb1", might look like this

           # Register the sub pcb1
           register_fatal(\&pcb1) ;

           sub pcb1
           {
               die "I’m dying...\n" ;
           }

       The mapping between the C callback and the Perl equivalent is stored in
       the global variable "callback".

       This will be adequate if you ever need to have only one callback regis-
       tered at any time. An example could be an error handler like the code
       sketched out above. Remember though, repeated calls to "register_fatal"
       will replace the previously registered callback function with the new
       one.

       Say for example you want to interface to a library which allows asyn-
       chronous file i/o.  In this case you may be able to register a callback
       whenever a read operation has completed. To be of any use we want to be
       able to call separate Perl subroutines for each file that is opened.
       As it stands, the error handler example above would not be adequate as
       it allows only a single callback to be defined at any time. What we
       require is a means of storing the mapping between the opened file and
       the Perl subroutine we want to be called for that file.

       Say the i/o library has a function "asynch_read" which associates a C
       function "ProcessRead" with a file handle "fh"--this assumes that it
       has also provided some routine to open the file and so obtain the file
       handle.

           asynch_read(fh, ProcessRead)

       This may expect the C ProcessRead function of this form

           void
           ProcessRead(fh, buffer)
           int fh ;
           char *      buffer ;
           {
                ...
           }

       To provide a Perl interface to this library we need to be able to map
       between the "fh" parameter and the Perl subroutine we want called.  A
       hash is a convenient mechanism for storing this mapping.  The code
       below shows a possible implementation

           static HV * Mapping = (HV*)NULL ;

           void
           asynch_read(fh, callback)
               int     fh
               SV *    callback
               CODE:
               /* If the hash doesn’t already exist, create it */
               if (Mapping == (HV*)NULL)
                   Mapping = newHV() ;

               /* Save the fh -> callback mapping */
               hv_store(Mapping, (char*)&fh, sizeof(fh), newSVsv(callback), 0) ;

               /* Register with the C Library */
               asynch_read(fh, asynch_read_if) ;

       and "asynch_read_if" could look like this

           static void
           asynch_read_if(fh, buffer)
           int fh ;
           char *      buffer ;
           {
               dSP ;
               SV ** sv ;

               /* Get the callback associated with fh */
               sv =  hv_fetch(Mapping, (char*)&fh , sizeof(fh), FALSE) ;
               if (sv == (SV**)NULL)
                   croak("Internal error...\n") ;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(fh))) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSVpv(buffer, 0))) ;
               PUTBACK ;

               /* Call the Perl sub */
               call_sv(*sv, G_DISCARD) ;
           }

       For completeness, here is "asynch_close".  This shows how to remove the
       entry from the hash "Mapping".

           void
           asynch_close(fh)
               int     fh
               CODE:
               /* Remove the entry from the hash */
               (void) hv_delete(Mapping, (char*)&fh, sizeof(fh), G_DISCARD) ;

               /* Now call the real asynch_close */
               asynch_close(fh) ;

       So the Perl interface would look like this

           sub callback1
           {
               my($handle, $buffer) = @_ ;
           }

           # Register the Perl callback
           asynch_read($fh, \&callback1) ;

           asynch_close($fh) ;

       The mapping between the C callback and Perl is stored in the global
       hash "Mapping" this time. Using a hash has the distinct advantage that
       it allows an unlimited number of callbacks to be registered.

       What if the interface provided by the C callback doesn’t contain a
       parameter which allows the file handle to Perl subroutine mapping?  Say
       in the asynchronous i/o package, the callback function gets passed only
       the "buffer" parameter like this

           void
           ProcessRead(buffer)
           char *      buffer ;
           {
               ...
           }

       Without the file handle there is no straightforward way to map from the
       C callback to the Perl subroutine.

       In this case a possible way around this problem is to predefine a
       series of C functions to act as the interface to Perl, thus

           #define MAX_CB              3
           #define NULL_HANDLE -1
           typedef void (*FnMap)() ;

           struct MapStruct {
               FnMap    Function ;
               SV *     PerlSub ;
               int      Handle ;
             } ;

           static void  fn1() ;
           static void  fn2() ;
           static void  fn3() ;

           static struct MapStruct Map [MAX_CB] =
               {
                   { fn1, NULL, NULL_HANDLE },
                   { fn2, NULL, NULL_HANDLE },
                   { fn3, NULL, NULL_HANDLE }
               } ;

           static void
           Pcb(index, buffer)
           int index ;
           char * buffer ;
           {
               dSP ;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSVpv(buffer, 0))) ;
               PUTBACK ;

               /* Call the Perl sub */
               call_sv(Map[index].PerlSub, G_DISCARD) ;
           }

           static void
           fn1(buffer)
           char * buffer ;
           {
               Pcb(0, buffer) ;
           }

           static void
           fn2(buffer)
           char * buffer ;
           {
               Pcb(1, buffer) ;
           }

           static void
           fn3(buffer)
           char * buffer ;
           {
               Pcb(2, buffer) ;
           }

           void
           array_asynch_read(fh, callback)
               int             fh
               SV *    callback
               CODE:
               int index ;
               int null_index = MAX_CB ;

               /* Find the same handle or an empty entry */
               for (index = 0 ; index < MAX_CB ; ++index)
               {
                   if (Map[index].Handle == fh)
                       break ;

                   if (Map[index].Handle == NULL_HANDLE)
                       null_index = index ;
               }

               if (index == MAX_CB && null_index == MAX_CB)
                   croak ("Too many callback functions registered\n") ;

               if (index == MAX_CB)
                   index = null_index ;

               /* Save the file handle */
               Map[index].Handle = fh ;

               /* Remember the Perl sub */
               if (Map[index].PerlSub == (SV*)NULL)
                   Map[index].PerlSub = newSVsv(callback) ;
               else
                   SvSetSV(Map[index].PerlSub, callback) ;

               asynch_read(fh, Map[index].Function) ;

           void
           array_asynch_close(fh)
               int     fh
               CODE:
               int index ;

               /* Find the file handle */
               for (index = 0; index < MAX_CB ; ++ index)
                   if (Map[index].Handle == fh)
                       break ;

               if (index == MAX_CB)
                   croak ("could not close fh %d\n", fh) ;

               Map[index].Handle = NULL_HANDLE ;
               SvREFCNT_dec(Map[index].PerlSub) ;
               Map[index].PerlSub = (SV*)NULL ;

               asynch_close(fh) ;

       In this case the functions "fn1", "fn2", and "fn3" are used to remember
       the Perl subroutine to be called. Each of the functions holds a sepa-
       rate hard-wired index which is used in the function "Pcb" to access the
       "Map" array and actually call the Perl subroutine.

       There are some obvious disadvantages with this technique.

       Firstly, the code is considerably more complex than with the previous
       example.

       Secondly, there is a hard-wired limit (in this case 3) to the number of
       callbacks that can exist simultaneously. The only way to increase the
       limit is by modifying the code to add more functions and then recompil-
       ing.  None the less, as long as the number of functions is chosen with
       some care, it is still a workable solution and in some cases is the
       only one available.

       To summarize, here are a number of possible methods for you to consider
       for storing the mapping between C and the Perl callback

       1. Ignore the problem - Allow only 1 callback
            For a lot of situations, like interfacing to an error handler,
            this may be a perfectly adequate solution.

       2. Create a sequence of callbacks - hard wired limit
            If it is impossible to tell from the parameters passed back from
            the C callback what the context is, then you may need to create a
            sequence of C callback interface functions, and store pointers to
            each in an array.

       3. Use a parameter to map to the Perl callback
            A hash is an ideal mechanism to store the mapping between C and
            Perl.

       Alternate Stack Manipulation

       Although I have made use of only the "POP*" macros to access values
       returned from Perl subroutines, it is also possible to bypass these
       macros and read the stack using the "ST" macro (See perlxs for a full
       description of the "ST" macro).

       Most of the time the "POP*" macros should be adequate, the main problem
       with them is that they force you to process the returned values in
       sequence. This may not be the most suitable way to process the values
       in some cases. What we want is to be able to access the stack in a ran-
       dom order. The "ST" macro as used when coding an XSUB is ideal for this
       purpose.

       The code below is the example given in the section Returning a list of
       values recoded to use "ST" instead of "POP*".

           static void
           call_AddSubtract2(a, b)
           int a ;
           int b ;
           {
               dSP ;
               I32 ax ;
               int count ;

               ENTER ;
               SAVETMPS;

               PUSHMARK(SP) ;
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(a)));
               XPUSHs(sv_2mortal(newSViv(b)));
               PUTBACK ;

               count = call_pv("AddSubtract", G_ARRAY);

               SPAGAIN ;
               SP -= count ;
               ax = (SP - PL_stack_base) + 1 ;

               if (count != 2)
                   croak("Big trouble\n") ;

               printf ("%d + %d = %d\n", a, b, SvIV(ST(0))) ;
               printf ("%d - %d = %d\n", a, b, SvIV(ST(1))) ;

               PUTBACK ;
               FREETMPS ;
               LEAVE ;
           }

       Notes

       1.   Notice that it was necessary to define the variable "ax".  This is
            because the "ST" macro expects it to exist.  If we were in an XSUB
            it would not be necessary to define "ax" as it is already defined
            for you.

       2.   The code

                    SPAGAIN ;
                    SP -= count ;
                    ax = (SP - PL_stack_base) + 1 ;

            sets the stack up so that we can use the "ST" macro.

       3.   Unlike the original coding of this example, the returned values
            are not accessed in reverse order.  So ST(0) refers to the first
            value returned by the Perl subroutine and "ST(count-1)" refers to
            the last.

       Creating and calling an anonymous subroutine in C

       As we’ve already shown, "call_sv" can be used to invoke an anonymous
       subroutine.  However, our example showed a Perl script invoking an XSUB
       to perform this operation.  Let’s see how it can be done inside our C
       code:

        ...

        SV *cvrv = eval_pv("sub { print ’You will not find me cluttering any namespace!’ }", TRUE);

        ...

        call_sv(cvrv, G_VOID│G_NOARGS);

       "eval_pv" is used to compile the anonymous subroutine, which will be
       the return value as well (read more about "eval_pv" in "eval_pv" in
       perlapi).  Once this code reference is in hand, it can be mixed in with
       all the previous examples we’ve shown.


SEE ALSO

       perlxs, perlguts, perlembed


AUTHOR

       Paul Marquess

       Special thanks to the following people who assisted in the creation of
       the document.

       Jeff Okamoto, Tim Bunce, Nick Gianniotis, Steve Kelem, Gurusamy Sarathy
       and Larry Wall.


DATE

       Version 1.3, 14th Apr 1997



perl v5.8.6                       2004-11-05                       PERLCALL(1)

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