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h2xs - convert .h C header files to Perl extensions


h2xs [OPTIONS ...] [headerfile ... [extra_libraries]]

h2xs -h|-?|--help


h2xs builds a Perl extension from C header files. The extension will include functions
which can be used to retrieve the value of any #define statement which was in the C header

The module_name will be used for the name of the extension. If module_name is not
supplied then the name of the first header file will be used, with the first character

If the extension might need extra libraries, they should be included here. The extension
Makefile.PL will take care of checking whether the libraries actually exist and how they
should be loaded. The extra libraries should be specified in the form -lm -lposix, etc,
just as on the cc command line. By default, the Makefile.PL will search through the
library path determined by Configure. That path can be augmented by including arguments
of the form -L/another/library/path in the extra-libraries argument.

In spite of its name, h2xs may also be used to create a skeleton pure Perl module. See the
-X option.


-A, --omit-autoload
Omit all autoload facilities. This is the same as -c but also removes the
"use AutoLoader" statement from the .pm file.

-B, --beta-version
Use an alpha/beta style version number. Causes version number to be "0.00_01" unless
-v is specified.

-C, --omit-changes
Omits creation of the Changes file, and adds a HISTORY section to the POD template.

-F, --cpp-flags=addflags
Additional flags to specify to C preprocessor when scanning header for function
declarations. Writes these options in the generated Makefile.PL too.

-M, --func-mask=regular expression
selects functions/macros to process.

-O, --overwrite-ok
Allows a pre-existing extension directory to be overwritten.

-P, --omit-pod
Omit the autogenerated stub POD section.

-X, --omit-XS
Omit the XS portion. Used to generate a skeleton pure Perl module. "-c" and "-f" are
implicitly enabled.

-a, --gen-accessors
Generate an accessor method for each element of structs and unions. The generated
methods are named after the element name; will return the current value of the
element if called without additional arguments; and will set the element to the
supplied value (and return the new value) if called with an additional argument.
Embedded structures and unions are returned as a pointer rather than the complete
structure, to facilitate chained calls.

These methods all apply to the Ptr type for the structure; additionally two methods
are constructed for the structure type itself, "_to_ptr" which returns a Ptr type
pointing to the same structure, and a "new" method to construct and return a new
structure, initialised to zeroes.

-b, --compat-version=version
Generates a .pm file which is backwards compatible with the specified perl version.

For versions < 5.6.0, the changes are.
- no use of 'our' (uses 'use vars' instead)
- no 'use warnings'

Specifying a compatibility version higher than the version of perl you are using to
run h2xs will have no effect. If unspecified h2xs will default to compatibility with
the version of perl you are using to run h2xs.

-c, --omit-constant
Omit "constant()" from the .xs file and corresponding specialised "AUTOLOAD" from the
.pm file.

-d, --debugging
Turn on debugging messages.

-e, --omit-enums=[regular expression]
If regular expression is not given, skip all constants that are defined in a C
enumeration. Otherwise skip only those constants that are defined in an enum whose
name matches regular expression.

Since regular expression is optional, make sure that this switch is followed by at
least one other switch if you omit regular expression and have some pending arguments
such as header-file names. This is ok:

h2xs -e -n Module::Foo foo.h

This is not ok:

h2xs -n Module::Foo -e foo.h

In the latter, foo.h is taken as regular expression.

-f, --force
Allows an extension to be created for a header even if that header is not found in
standard include directories.

-g, --global
Include code for safely storing static data in the .xs file. Extensions that do no
make use of static data can ignore this option.

-h, -?, --help
Print the usage, help and version for this h2xs and exit.

-k, --omit-const-func
For function arguments declared as "const", omit the const attribute in the generated
XS code.

-m, --gen-tied-var
Experimental: for each variable declared in the header file(s), declare a perl
variable of the same name magically tied to the C variable.

-n, --name=module_name
Specifies a name to be used for the extension, e.g., -n RPC::DCE

-o, --opaque-re=regular expression
Use "opaque" data type for the C types matched by the regular expression, even if
these types are "typedef"-equivalent to types from typemaps. Should not be used
without -x.

This may be useful since, say, types which are "typedef"-equivalent to integers may
represent OS-related handles, and one may want to work with these handles in OO-way,
as in "$handle->do_something()". Use "-o ." if you want to handle all the
"typedef"ed types as opaque types.

The type-to-match is whitewashed (except for commas, which have no whitespace before
them, and multiple "*" which have no whitespace between them).

-p, --remove-prefix=prefix
Specify a prefix which should be removed from the Perl function names, e.g.,
-p sec_rgy_ This sets up the XS PREFIX keyword and removes the prefix from functions
that are autoloaded via the "constant()" mechanism.

-s, --const-subs=sub1,sub2
Create a perl subroutine for the specified macros rather than autoload with the
constant() subroutine. These macros are assumed to have a return type of char *,
e.g., -s sec_rgy_wildcard_name,sec_rgy_wildcard_sid.

-t, --default-type=type
Specify the internal type that the constant() mechanism uses for macros. The default
is IV (signed integer). Currently all macros found during the header scanning
process will be assumed to have this type. Future versions of "h2xs" may gain the
ability to make educated guesses.

When --compat-version (-b) is present the generated tests will use "Test::More"
rather than "Test" which is the default for versions before 5.6.2. "Test::More" will
be added to PREREQ_PM in the generated "Makefile.PL".

Will force the generation of test code that uses the older "Test" module.

Do not use "Exporter" and/or export any symbol.

Do not use "Devel::PPPort": no portability to older version.

Do not use the module "AutoLoader"; but keep the constant() function and "sub
AUTOLOAD" for constants.

Do not use the pragma "strict".

Do not use the pragma "warnings".

-v, --version=version
Specify a version number for this extension. This version number is added to the
templates. The default is 0.01, or 0.00_01 if "-B" is specified. The version
specified should be numeric.

-x, --autogen-xsubs
Automatically generate XSUBs basing on function declarations in the header file. The
package "C::Scan" should be installed. If this option is specified, the name of the
header file may look like "NAME1,NAME2". In this case NAME1 is used instead of the
specified string, but XSUBs are emitted only for the declarations included from file

Note that some types of arguments/return-values for functions may result in
XSUB-declarations/typemap-entries which need hand-editing. Such may be objects which
cannot be converted from/to a pointer (like "long long"), pointers to functions, or
arrays. See also the section on "LIMITATIONS of -x".


# Default behavior, extension is Rusers
h2xs rpcsvc/rusers

# Same, but extension is RUSERS
h2xs -n RUSERS rpcsvc/rusers

# Extension is rpcsvc::rusers. Still finds <rpcsvc/rusers.h>
h2xs rpcsvc::rusers

# Extension is ONC::RPC. Still finds <rpcsvc/rusers.h>
h2xs -n ONC::RPC rpcsvc/rusers

# Without constant() or AUTOLOAD
h2xs -c rpcsvc/rusers

# Creates templates for an extension named RPC
h2xs -cfn RPC

# Extension is ONC::RPC.
h2xs -cfn ONC::RPC

# Extension is a pure Perl module with no XS code.
h2xs -X My::Module

# Extension is Lib::Foo which works at least with Perl5.005_03.
# Constants are created for all #defines and enums h2xs can find
# in foo.h.
h2xs -b 5.5.3 -n Lib::Foo foo.h

# Extension is Lib::Foo which works at least with Perl5.005_03.
# Constants are created for all #defines but only for enums
# whose names do not start with 'bar_'.
h2xs -b 5.5.3 -e '^bar_' -n Lib::Foo foo.h

# Makefile.PL will look for library -lrpc in
# additional directory /opt/net/lib
h2xs rpcsvc/rusers -L/opt/net/lib -lrpc

# Extension is DCE::rgynbase
# prefix "sec_rgy_" is dropped from perl function names
h2xs -n DCE::rgynbase -p sec_rgy_ dce/rgynbase

# Extension is DCE::rgynbase
# prefix "sec_rgy_" is dropped from perl function names
# subroutines are created for sec_rgy_wildcard_name and
# sec_rgy_wildcard_sid
h2xs -n DCE::rgynbase -p sec_rgy_ \
-s sec_rgy_wildcard_name,sec_rgy_wildcard_sid dce/rgynbase

# Make XS without defines in perl.h, but with function declarations
# visible from perl.h. Name of the extension is perl1.
# When scanning perl.h, define -DEXT=extern -DdEXT= -DINIT(x)=
# Extra backslashes below because the string is passed to shell.
# Note that a directory with perl header files would
# be added automatically to include path.
h2xs -xAn perl1 -F "-DEXT=extern -DdEXT= -DINIT\(x\)=" perl.h

# Same with function declaration in proto.h as visible from perl.h.
h2xs -xAn perl2 perl.h,proto.h

# Same but select only functions which match /^av_/
h2xs -M '^av_' -xAn perl2 perl.h,proto.h

# Same but treat SV* etc as "opaque" types
h2xs -o '^[S]V \*$' -M '^av_' -xAn perl2 perl.h,proto.h

Extension based on .h and .c files
Suppose that you have some C files implementing some functionality, and the corresponding
header files. How to create an extension which makes this functionality accessible in
Perl? The example below assumes that the header files are interface_simple.h and
interface_hairy.h, and you want the perl module be named as "Ext::Ension". If you need
some preprocessor directives and/or linking with external libraries, see the flags "-F",
"-L" and "-l" in "OPTIONS".

Find the directory name
Start with a dummy run of h2xs:

h2xs -Afn Ext::Ension

The only purpose of this step is to create the needed directories, and let you know
the names of these directories. From the output you can see that the directory for
the extension is Ext/Ension.

Copy C files
Copy your header files and C files to this directory Ext/Ension.

Create the extension
Run h2xs, overwriting older autogenerated files:

h2xs -Oxan Ext::Ension interface_simple.h interface_hairy.h

h2xs looks for header files after changing to the extension directory, so it will find
your header files OK.

Archive and test
As usual, run

cd Ext/Ension
perl Makefile.PL
make dist
make test

It is important to do "make dist" as early as possible. This way you can easily
merge(1) your changes to autogenerated files if you decide to edit your ".h" files and
rerun h2xs.

Do not forget to edit the documentation in the generated .pm file.

Consider the autogenerated files as skeletons only, you may invent better interfaces
than what h2xs could guess.

Consider this section as a guideline only, some other options of h2xs may better suit
your needs.


No environment variables are used.

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