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Feature: C/C++

Treat your C code like scripts with C Cod

By Ben Martin on November 18, 2008 (9:00:00 AM)

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C Cod is a front end to your C, C++, or Objective-C compiler that lets you treat C more like a scripting language. C Cod comes with C Server Pages, which provides support for CGI so you can write Web applications in C or C++ and have them automatically compiled on demand.

There are no packages of C Cod for Ubuntu, Fedora, or openSUSE. I'll build from source using version 1.2.8 on a 64-bit Fedora 9 machine. I ran into a slight hitch during compilation which can be resolved by adding an option for position-independent code to your CFLAGS as shown below. PIC code has the advantage that it can be loaded at different locations in memory; this is useful for compiling code for shared libraries because it allows them to be moved when multiple libraries would otherwise want the same address.

$ tar xzvf /.../ccod-1.2.8.tar.gz $ cd ./ccod-*/ $ ./configure $ make /usr/bin/ld: csp.o: relocation R_X86_64_32 against `a local symbol' can not be used when making a shared object; recompile with -fPIC csp.o: could not read symbols: Bad value $ vi Makefile PACKAG = ccod-1.2.8 LFLAGS = -shared -Wl,-soname,libcsp.so CFLAGS = -O2 -fPIC LIBSTA = *.a $ make clean $ make $ sudo make install

My first attempt to use ccod failed with a segfault, as shown below.

$ cat main1.c #!/usr/bin/ccod #pragma CCOD:script no int main( int argc, char** argv ) { printf("hi there\n"); return 0; } $ chmod +x main1.c $ ./main1.c Segmentation fault

Digging into this, I found that the cksum() function was the cause. After experimentation, the below change to the size of the s variable seemed to fix the issue (or at least it no longer crashed).

$ gdb /usr/bin/ccod (gdb) r main1.c ... (gdb) bt #0 0x0000000000404554 in cksum (path=0x10f3390 "/home/ben/testing/ccod/hello-world.c") at ccod.c:1306 #1 0x000000000040441b in get_sourcesum () at ccod.c:1203 #2 0x0000000000409605 in main (in_argc=2, in_argv=0x7fff6008bcd8) at ccod.c:3398 (gdb) q $ vi /home/ben/testing/ccod/hello-world.c ... static unsigned long cksum(const unsigned char *path) { // register unsigned long i, c, s = 0; register unsigned long i, c = 0; int s = 0; ... ... recompile and reinstall ccod ... $ ./main1.c hi there

In the above example I used ccod in a way that leaves your source code closest to a normal standard C file. For simple, single-file programs you only need to add the two lines at the top of the source code to use it with ccod. Most of the examples on the ccod Web site instead use a mixed mode C syntax that is modeled after PHP. For instance, in the below example, notice that there is no longer a main() function, and that any text that is outside the <? block is simply printed to the terminal when the program is executed.

$ cat ./main2.c #!/usr/bin/ccod hi there <? printf("and more\n"); return 0; ?> $ chmod +x ./main2.c $ ./main2.c hi there and more

The invasive syntax works well if you want to use ccod for Web programming with the supplied C Server Pages interface. The documentation page lists a small collection of functions that make CGI programming with C Server Pages fairly painless. The functions one expects for Web programming, such as session handling, cookies, forms, access to the query string, and redirection, are all available as normal C functions for C Server Page applications.

In the first example, I used #pragma CCOD:script to tweak the way ccod handled the C source file. The project provides about a dozen such pragmas, allowing you to specify what compiler to use, what flags to invoke the compiler with, which additional libraries to link the program with, and a few options specific to C Server Page programs.

As ccod will cache compiled binaries, your source code is not compiled every time you execute it. Of course, my little tweak to the cksum function is not thoroughly tested and may break the caching. The problem seemed to be that the variable s was getting values that were too large, so I changed the data type. Another solution might be to poach a different checksum function to replace the cksum implementation completely.

If you have an existing C or C++ code base and want to expose part of its functionality to the Web for prototyping, C Cod might be just the ticket. For simple code, compile, run test cycles C Cod can help you avoid always having to create makefiles or worry about the compilation process at all.

Ben Martin has been working on filesystems for more than 10 years. He completed his Ph.D. and now offers consulting services focused on libferris, filesystems, and search solutions.

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on Treat your C code like scripts with C Cod

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Treat your C code like scripts with C Cod

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.49.206.112] on November 18, 2008 11:30 AM
How it works with libraries (and #include statement)? Great idea for debugging cgi !

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C scripting...why?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 172.17.1.9] on November 18, 2008 12:19 PM
Fascinating article. My first reaction was: Why would anyone want to use C as a scripting language?

Of course, PHP is largely based on C syntax, moreso than other scripting languages. But it doesn't seg fault on trivial sample programs... :)

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Treat your C code like scripts with C Cod

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.76.49.226] on November 18, 2008 02:40 PM
Nothing really new here, tcc <http://bellard.org/tcc/> supports direct C scripting for years and provides a really fast alternative C compiler as well.

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Re: Treat your C code like scripts with C Cod

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 68.98.112.227] on December 16, 2008 06:55 AM
I have a bit of experience with tcc and while it's surely great, I don't think it's fair to say that this other project provides "nothing really new". I played around with CCod and the fact that it wraps around GCC is a new feature in itself. Also multiple language support like C++ and ObjC. A web development library. A PHP like syntax thingy. A caching mechanism that seem to speed up execution quite a bit on the second run.

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open source etiquette

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 70.91.133.157] on November 18, 2008 08:35 PM
Hi Ben,

Did you contribute your patches upstream so that the developers can address these issues?

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Treat your C code like scripts with C Cod

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 195.49.206.112] on November 19, 2008 09:15 AM
>Nothing really new here, tcc <http://bellard.org/tcc/> supports direct C scripting for years and
>provides a really fast alternative C compiler as well.

thanks, tcc more better documented.

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Treat your C code like scripts with C Cod

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 131.225.94.19] on November 19, 2008 07:04 PM
Another good option is root:
http://root.cern.ch/

It is not 100% C/C++ compliant, but gets very close.
And has a big library built on top of it.

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