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C99 cross-platform header-only library oriented towards improving the coding experience.
Brought to you by @zpl-zak, @inlife, and contributors


We have created the library to simplify the development process under C/C++ language, which offers a commonly used set of features that C developers often re-invent themselves. Apart from helper methods that replace/extend the C standard library, this toolkit also consists of modules that are very helpful in broad areas of expertise. The most notable is the JSON5 parser, math library, flexible file API, or various hashing algorithms.

Library is cross-platform and currently works on i386, amd64 and some ARM architectures. It has been tested on Windows, UNIX-like systems, iOS, Emscripten and Android. We're trying to expand the compatibility, but we need your help! If you have a device you want to test zpl on, please let us know about your experience, and we can try to make it work together.

How to obtain this library?

There are several options in getting hands-on zpl:

1. Via CLI (the simplest option)

curl -L > zpl.h
# OR
wget -O zpl.h

This approach will download the latest release of zpl with everything prepared for you.

2. Via GitHub releases page

  • Navigate to the releases page of the zpl repository and pick the version you want to use. Each release contains the distributed version of zpl for you to use easily.

3. Cloning the repository

  • Clone the repository by pressing the Clone or download button for instructions or use your terminal to clone:
git clone

We use this method to develop zpl as it contains all the development sources that are easy to modify and expand, but it is not suitable for use in production.

Please follow the guide to learn how to contribute to the project.


Name Description Test Coverage Example Coverage
Memory Low-level memory management and allocation strategy models. 🟑 βœ…
Collections Versatile set of collections: array, buffer, linked list, ring buffer. πŸ”΄ βœ…
String Set of helpful string manipulation methods. πŸ”΄ βœ…
String Libary C-friendly string library. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Hashtable Instantiated hashtable implementation that works with any type. πŸ”΄ βœ…
File File I/O operations forming a basis for other modules. πŸ”΄ βœ…
File System Path and folder structure manipulation methods. πŸ”΄ βœ…
TAR Archive Ability to archive files or analyze/unpack them. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Memory Streamer Memory-mapped file I/O operations. βœ… βœ…
Print Re-implementation of various printf-family methods. βœ… βœ…
Time Helper methods for retrieving the current time in many forms under different precisions. βœ… βœ…
Random Fast and simple RNG library. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Sorting Various sorting and searching algorithms. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Threading Threading, and blocking models, thread merge operation based on stb_sync, as well as CPU affinity management. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Regex Regular expressions library. πŸ”΄ βœ…
DLL Cross-platform methods for loading dynamic libraries. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Hashing Various hashing methods. Contains: base64, adler32, crc32/64, fnv32/64/a and murmur32/64 βœ… βœ…
Text Parsers Various text parsers for different formats that offer cross-language transformations. Currently supported: JSON5/SJSON, CSV. βœ… βœ…
Options CLI options parser. Parsing flags, switches, and arguments from the command line. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Process Primitives for low-level process management. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Jobs System Asynchronous task-based scheduling system. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Math Gamedev friendly library for math. πŸ”΄ βœ…
Miscellaneous Other valuable methods that are part of the core distribution. βœ… βœ…


All distributions are defined at compile-time. You can always opt-in to any distribution kind without a need to maintain different copies of the library.


zpl enables all of its modules by default, which allows you to make full use of the library effortlessly.


The nano distribution provides the core parts of the library. It omits some specialized modules in favor of broader compatibility, and that also makes the library lightweight.


We've also made a pico distribution that only contains: Memory and Collections modules. There is no ability to enable specific core submodules within the pico distribution; however, consider using the nano distribution in that case.

Custom distributions

zpl also allows you to enable/disable various modules at will, allowing you to create your distribution suiting your needs.


We cover many of these modules with example code you can explore at apps/examples folder. They serve as a good starting point to better understand how the library works. Have a look at this base64 text encoder:

#define ZPL_IMPL
#define ZPL_NANO
#include <zpl.h>

void exit_with_help(zpl_opts *opts);

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    zpl_opts opts={0};

    zpl_opts_init(&opts, zpl_heap(), argv[0]);
    zpl_opts_add(&opts, "s", "string", "input string.", ZPL_OPTS_STRING);
    zpl_opts_positional_add(&opts, "string");
    zpl_b32 ok = zpl_opts_compile(&opts, argc, argv);
    if (!ok || !zpl_opts_positionals_filled(&opts))

    zpl_string input = zpl_opts_string(&opts, "string", 0);
    zpl_u8 *encoded_str = zpl_base64_encode(zpl_heap(), cast(void*)input, zpl_string_length(input));
    zpl_printf("Original: %s\nEncoded: %s\n", input, encoded_str);

    return 0;

void exit_with_help(zpl_opts *opts) {

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this library based on?

zpl is a fork of a library made by @gingerBill called gb that we've decided to expand and rewrite to fit our needs better. Although many parts of the library still stay faithful to their original, a significant amount of work shaped the library into what we present now.

Can I contribute to the project?

Yes, indeed. This project is dual-licensed according to LICENSE. You are free to fork it, contribute to it, or even sell it as you see fit.

Can I submit suggestions?

Indeed, we'd also gladly discuss those with you on Discord, if possible.