forking from SWIG svn 12570 to generate better common lisp bindings from c++
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14 April 2011

Status of the new CFFI module for Swig:

The CFFI module, when provided with an appropriate .i swig interface file, now generates a combination of
lisp and C code which cleanly wraps a large codebase of C and C++ code.  However there are surely still
quite a few limitations and C++ constructs that are not handled.  Templates for example, have not been
well tested.

Nonetheless, the CFFI module can largely automate the process of wrapping and generating a C++ shared library 
such that it can be accessed from lisp.  

From lisp, via the proxy methods and CLOS objects, one can create new C++ objects, call constructors, 
destructors, methods, static methods, and invoke overloaded methods. Using the CLOS calls cl:defclass and cl:defmethod,
small wrapper functions are created, and a synthesized dispatcher that allows natural calling of overloaded 
constructors by keyword specification is provided. 

Thanks go to Daniel Herring, Ron Garret, Gary Byers, and others on the openmcl-devel list for helping me 
figure out how to construct these dispatch functions and in general use ccl effectively. It is an excellent

Tests/examples of usage:

There are 5 tests in subdirectories of the swig/Examples/cffi directory.  These are traditional "make; make test;" tests.
They are not yet integrated into the SWIG testing system, because I haven't yet figured out how to do that.

For example, the swig/Examples/cffi/overctor directory contains my test for overloaded constructors. In this

me@home:~/swig-cpp-to-cffi-for-common-lisp-enhancements/swig/Examples/cffi/overctor$ ls -1 *

overctor.cpp  -- source file, implementation stubs here print a report of which function was called.
overctor.h    -- header file, declares a class with five constructors, two with the same arity.
overctor.i    -- the swig interface or control file, this is what you feed swig on the command line.  -- the lisp test code that is called by "make test".

System requirements:

Developed and tested only on Clozure Common Lisp (invoked as: ccl). The Makefiles have 'ccl' hardcoded into them. You'll need to change that
if you want to try this module on a different lisp system.

CFFI - you'll need to have CFFI installed already. If you have quicklisp installed, then (ql:quickload "cffi") should do the trick.
If you don't have quicklisp installed, I recommend it.  It will grab any package dependencies and install them for you too.

 * * * * * * * * *

Earlier notes:

April 1, 2011.
Start of Project:

I'm forking the swig code to do some enhancements to the C++ to CFFI bindings for common lisp.

The only file that differs from SWIG svn 12570 is Source/Modules/cffi.cxx.

I've got a generation process that wraps alot of C++ code cleanly now. The defmethod names
aren't the prettiest, but we've avoided all congruency issues, so everything compiles and
loads cleanly on my large test code base from a big C++ project.

The point of posting on github is to allow easy testing and further enhancements to the cffi.cxx.


Starting point for this work is the following "svn info":

Repository Root:
Repository UUID: 626c5289-ae23-0410-ae9c-e8d60b6d4f22
Revision: 12570
Node Kind: directory
Schedule: normal
Last Changed Author: wsfulton
Last Changed Rev: 12570
Last Changed Date: 2011-03-29 18:01:55 -0500 (Tue, 29 Mar 2011)

  * * * * * * * * * *

The email that initiated this project, from one of the SWIG maintainers. I
offered them a small fix for CFFI, and Mr. Fulton pointed out that more love
was needed.

from  William S Fulton 
to  "Jason E. Aten"
date	Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 2:42 PM
subject	Re: [Swig-devel] feature addition for the CFFI module: -structs-as-classes
Hi Jason

The cffi module hasn't been worked on for 4 years and I don't believe it was ever very good. It is one of the modules where the test-suite doesn't really work as far as I know so I won't put in any special effort to maintain it. If you'd like the patches included, I would first of all suggest you remove the -structs-as-classes option and make it the default because this module is in a half developed state, I don't think much attention should be paid to backwards compatibility. Classes and structs should be handled identically, so you're correcting something that should have been put in the first place.

As SWIG has no runtime example anywherer for cffi, yours would be the first. This module is badly in need of runtime tests and the minimum required is a copy of the 'simple' and 'class' examples, so I suggest you turn your example into the 'simple' example. I don't really like to have different examples for each language module, unless testing a specific language module feature. There isn't a single runtime test and I don't accept many patches without a runtime test these days, so you'd need to add one in. The test-suite is documented quite well here: , but if you have any questions please ask. The top level Makefile is currently missing cffi test-suite and example support too, so that needs adding in too unfortunately.