Tcl_NewStringObj, Tcl_NewUnicodeObj, Tcl_SetStringObj, Tcl_SetUnicodeObj, Tcl_GetStringFromObj, Tcl_GetString, Tcl_GetUnicodeFromObj, Tcl_GetUnicode, Tcl_GetUniChar, Tcl_GetCharLength, Tcl_GetRange, Tcl_AppendToObj, Tcl_AppendUnicodeToObj, Tcl_AppendObjToObj, Tcl_AppendStringsToObj, Tcl_AppendStringsToObjVA, Tcl_AppendLimitedToObj, Tcl_Format, Tcl_AppendFormatToObj, Tcl_ObjPrintf, Tcl_AppendPrintfToObj, Tcl_SetObjLength, Tcl_AttemptSetObjLength, Tcl_ConcatObj − manipulate Tcl objects as strings


#include <tcl.h>

Tcl_Obj *
(bytes, length)

Tcl_Obj *
(unicode, numChars)

(objPtr, bytes, length)

(objPtr, unicode, numChars)

char *
(objPtr, lengthPtr)

char *

Tcl_UniChar *
(objPtr, lengthPtr)

Tcl_UniChar *

(objPtr, index)


Tcl_Obj *
(objPtr, first, last)

(objPtr, bytes, length)

(objPtr, unicode, numChars)

(objPtr, appendObjPtr)

(objPtr, string, string, ... (char *) NULL)

(objPtr, argList)

void │
(objPtr, bytes, length, limit, ellipsis) │

Tcl_Obj * │
(interp, format, objc, objv) │

int │
(interp, objPtr, format, objc, objv) │

Tcl_Obj * │
(format, ...) │

int │
(objPtr, format, ...) │

(objPtr, newLength)

(objPtr, newLength)

Tcl_Obj *
(objc, objv)


const char *bytes (in)

Points to the first byte of an array of UTF-8-encoded bytes used to set or append to a string object. This byte array may contain embedded null characters unless numChars is negative. (Applications needing null bytes should represent them as the two-byte sequence \700\600, use Tcl_ExternalToUtf to convert, or Tcl_NewByteArrayObj if the string is a collection of uninterpreted bytes.)

int length (in)

The number of bytes to copy from bytes when initializing, setting, or appending to a string object. If negative, all bytes up to the first null are used.

const Tcl_UniChar *unicode (in)

Points to the first byte of an array of Unicode characters used to set or append to a string object. This byte array may contain embedded null characters unless numChars is negative.

int numChars (in)

The number of Unicode characters to copy from unicode when initializing, setting, or appending to a string object. If negative, all characters up to the first null character are used.

int index (in)

The index of the Unicode character to return.

int first (in)

The index of the first Unicode character in the Unicode range to be returned as a new object.

int last (in)

The index of the last Unicode character in the Unicode range to be returned as a new object.

Tcl_Obj *objPtr (in/out)

Points to an object to manipulate.

Tcl_Obj *appendObjPtr (in)

The object to append to objPtr in Tcl_AppendObjToObj.

int *lengthPtr (out)

If non-NULL, the location where Tcl_GetStringFromObj will store the length of an object’s string representation.

const char *string (in)

Null-terminated string value to append to objPtr.

va_list argList (in)

An argument list which must have been initialised using va_start, and cleared using va_end.

int limit (in)

Maximum number of bytes to be appended.

const char *ellipsis (in)

Suffix to append when the limit leads to string truncation. If NULL is passed then the suffix "..." is used.

const char *format (in)

Format control string including % conversion specifiers.

int objc (in)

The number of elements to format or concatenate.

Tcl_Obj *objv[] (in)

The array of objects to format or concatenate.

int newLength (in)

New length for the string value of objPtr, not including the final null character.



The procedures described in this manual entry allow Tcl objects to be manipulated as string values. They use the internal representation of the object to store additional information to make the string manipulations more efficient. In particular, they make a series of append operations efficient by allocating extra storage space for the string so that it does not have to be copied for each append. Also, indexing and length computations are optimized because the Unicode string representation is calculated and cached as needed. When using the Tcl_Append* family of functions where the interpreter’s result is the object being appended to, it is important to call Tcl_ResetResult first to ensure you are not unintentionally appending to existing data in the result object.

Tcl_NewStringObj and Tcl_SetStringObj create a new object or modify an existing object to hold a copy of the string given by bytes and length. Tcl_NewUnicodeObj and Tcl_SetUnicodeObj create a new object or modify an existing object to hold a copy of the Unicode string given by unicode and numChars. Tcl_NewStringObj and Tcl_NewUnicodeObj return a pointer to a newly created object with reference count zero. All four procedures set the object to hold a copy of the specified string. Tcl_SetStringObj and Tcl_SetUnicodeObj free any old string representation as well as any old internal representation of the object.

Tcl_GetStringFromObj and Tcl_GetString return an object’s string representation. This is given by the returned byte pointer and (for Tcl_GetStringFromObj) length, which is stored in lengthPtr if it is non-NULL. If the object’s UTF string representation is invalid (its byte pointer is NULL), the string representation is regenerated from the object’s internal representation. The storage referenced by the returned byte pointer is owned by the object manager. It is passed back as a writable pointer so that extension author creating their own Tcl_ObjType will be able to modify the string representation within the Tcl_UpdateStringProc of their Tcl_ObjType. Except for that limited purpose, the pointer returned by Tcl_GetStringFromObj or Tcl_GetString should be treated as read-only. It is recommended that this pointer be assigned to a (const char *) variable. Even in the limited situations where writing to this pointer is acceptable, one should take care to respect the copy-on-write semantics required by Tcl_Obj’s, with appropriate calls to Tcl_IsShared and Tcl_DuplicateObj prior to any in-place modification of the string representation. The procedure Tcl_GetString is used in the common case where the caller does not need the length of the string representation.

Tcl_GetUnicodeFromObj and Tcl_GetUnicode return an object’s value as a Unicode string. This is given by the returned pointer and (for Tcl_GetUnicodeFromObj) length, which is stored in lengthPtr if it is non-NULL. The storage referenced by the returned byte pointer is owned by the object manager and should not be modified by the caller. The procedure Tcl_GetUnicode is used in the common case where the caller does not need the length of the unicode string representation.

Tcl_GetUniChar returns the index’th character in the object’s Unicode representation.

Tcl_GetRange returns a newly created object comprised of the characters between first and last (inclusive) in the object’s Unicode representation. If the object’s Unicode representation is invalid, the Unicode representation is regenerated from the object’s string representation.

Tcl_GetCharLength returns the number of characters (as opposed to bytes) in the string object.

Tcl_AppendToObj appends the data given by bytes and length to the string representation of the object specified by objPtr. If the object has an invalid string representation, then an attempt is made to convert bytes is to the Unicode format. If the conversion is successful, then the converted form of bytes is appended to the object’s Unicode representation. Otherwise, the object’s Unicode representation is invalidated and converted to the UTF format, and bytes is appended to the object’s new string representation.

Tcl_AppendUnicodeToObj appends the Unicode string given by unicode and numChars to the object specified by objPtr. If the object has an invalid Unicode representation, then unicode is converted to the UTF format and appended to the object’s string representation. Appends are optimized to handle repeated appends relatively efficiently (it overallocates the string or Unicode space to avoid repeated reallocations and copies of object’s string value).

Tcl_AppendObjToObj is similar to Tcl_AppendToObj, but it appends the string or Unicode value (whichever exists and is best suited to be appended to objPtr) of appendObjPtr to objPtr.

Tcl_AppendStringsToObj is similar to Tcl_AppendToObj except that it can be passed more than one value to append and each value must be a null-terminated string (i.e. none of the values may contain internal null characters). Any number of string arguments may be provided, but the last argument must be a NULL pointer to indicate the end of the list.

Tcl_AppendStringsToObjVA is the same as Tcl_AppendStringsToObj except that instead of taking a variable number of arguments it takes an argument list.

Tcl_AppendLimitedToObj is similar to Tcl_AppendToObj except that it │ imposes a limit on how many bytes are appended. This can be handy when │ the string to be appended might be very large, but the value being │ constructed should not be allowed to grow without bound. A common usage │ is when constructing an error message, where the end result should be │ kept short enough to be read. Bytes from bytes are appended to objPtr, │ but no more than limit bytes total are to be appended. If the limit │ prevents all length bytes that are available from being appended, then │ the appending is done so that the last bytes appended are from the │ string ellipsis. This allows for an indication of the truncation to be │ left in the string. When length is -1, all bytes up to the first zero │ byte are appended, subject to the limit. When ellipsis is NULL, the │ default string ... is used. When ellipsis is non-NULL, it must point to │ a zero-byte-terminated string in Tcl’s internal UTF encoding. The │ number of bytes appended can be less than the lesser of length and │ limit when appending fewer bytes is necessary to append only whole │ multi-byte characters. │

Tcl_Format is the C-level interface to the engine of the format │ command. The actual command procedure for format is little more than │

Tcl_Format(interp, Tcl_GetString(objv[1]), objc-2, objv+2); │

The objc Tcl_Obj values in objv are formatted into a string according │ to the conversion specification in format argument, following the │ documentation for the format command. The resulting formatted string │ is converted to a new Tcl_Obj with refcount of zero and returned. If │ some error happens during production of the formatted string, NULL is │ returned, and an error message is recorded in interp, if interp is │ non-NULL. │

Tcl_AppendFormatToObj is an appending alternative form of Tcl_Format │ with functionality equivalent to │

Tcl_Obj *newPtr = Tcl_Format(interp, format, objc, objv); │
if (newPtr == NULL) return TCL_ERROR; │
Tcl_AppendObjToObj(objPtr, newPtr); │
return TCL_OK; │

but with greater convenience and efficiency when the appending │ functionality is needed. │

Tcl_ObjPrintf serves as a replacement for the common sequence │

sprintf(buf, format, ...); │
Tcl_NewStringObj(buf, -1); │

but with greater convenience and no need to determine │ SOME_SUITABLE_LENGTH. The formatting is done with the same core │ formatting engine used by Tcl_Format. This means the set of supported │ conversion specifiers is that of the format command and not that of the │ sprintf routine where the two sets differ. When a conversion specifier │ passed to Tcl_ObjPrintf includes a precision, the value is taken as a │ number of bytes, as sprintf does, and not as a number of characters, as │ format does. This is done on the assumption that C code is more likely │ to know how many bytes it is passing around than the number of encoded │ characters those bytes happen to represent. The variable number of │ arguments passed in should be of the types that would be suitable for │ passing to sprintf. Note in this example usage, x is of type long. │

long x = 5; │
Tcl_Obj *objPtr = Tcl_ObjPrintf("Value is %d", x); │

If the value of format contains internal inconsistencies or invalid │ specifier formats, the formatted string result produced by │ Tcl_ObjPrintf will be an error message describing the error. │

Tcl_AppendPrintfToObj is an appending alternative form of Tcl_ObjPrintf │ with functionality equivalent to │

Tcl_AppendObjToObj(objPtr, Tcl_ObjPrintf(format, ...)); │

but with greater convenience and efficiency when the appending │ functionality is needed.

The Tcl_SetObjLength procedure changes the length of the string value of its objPtr argument. If the newLength argument is greater than the space allocated for the object’s string, then the string space is reallocated and the old value is copied to the new space; the bytes between the old length of the string and the new length may have arbitrary values. If the newLength argument is less than the current length of the object’s string, with objPtr->length is reduced without reallocating the string space; the original allocated size for the string is recorded in the object, so that the string length can be enlarged in a subsequent call to Tcl_SetObjLength without reallocating storage. In all cases Tcl_SetObjLength leaves a null character at objPtr->bytes[newLength].

Tcl_AttemptSetObjLength is identical in function to Tcl_SetObjLength except that if sufficient memory to satisfy the request cannot be allocated, it does not cause the Tcl interpreter to panic. Thus, if newLength is greater than the space allocated for the object’s string, and there is not enough memory available to satisfy the request, Tcl_AttemptSetObjLength will take no action and return 0 to indicate failure. If there is enough memory to satisfy the request, Tcl_AttemptSetObjLength behaves just like Tcl_SetObjLength and returns 1 to indicate success.

The Tcl_ConcatObj function returns a new string object whose value is the space-separated concatenation of the string representations of all of the objects in the objv array. Tcl_ConcatObj eliminates leading and trailing white space as it copies the string representations of the objv array to the result. If an element of the objv array consists of nothing but white space, then that object is ignored entirely. This white-space removal was added to make the output of the concat command cleaner-looking. Tcl_ConcatObj returns a pointer to a newly-created object whose ref count is zero.


Tcl_NewObj, Tcl_IncrRefCount, Tcl_DecrRefCount, format, sprintf


append, internal representation, object, object type, string object, string type, string representation, concat, concatenate, unicode


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