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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

     stdarg, va_arg, va_copy, va_end, va_start - variable argument lists

SYNOPSIS    [Toc]    [Back]

     #include <stdarg.h>

     va_start(va_list ap, last);

     va_arg(va_list ap, type);

     va_copy(va_list dest, va_list src);

     va_end(va_list ap);

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

     A function may be called with a varying number of arguments of varying
     types.  The include file <stdarg.h> declares a type (va_list) and defines
     three macros for stepping through a list of arguments whose number and
     types are not known to the called function.

     The called function must declare an object of type va_list which is used
     by the macros va_start(), va_arg(), va_end(), and, optionally, va_copy().

     The va_start() macro initializes ap for subsequent use by va_arg(),
     va_copy() and va_end(), and must be called first.

     The parameter last is the name of the last parameter before the variable
     argument list, i.e. the last parameter of which the calling function
     knows the type.

     Because the address of this parameter is used in the va_start() macro, it
     should not be declared as a register variable, or as a function or an
     array type.

     The va_start() macro returns no value.

     The va_arg() macro expands to an expression that has the type and value
     of the next argument in the call.  The parameter ap is the va_list ap
     initialized by va_start().  Each call to va_arg() modifies ap so that the
     next call returns the next argument.  The parameter type is a type name
     specified so that the type of a pointer to an object that has the specified
 type can be obtained simply by adding a * to type.

     If there is no next argument, or if type is not compatible with the type
     of the actual next argument (as promoted according to the default argument
 promotions), random errors will occur.

     The first use of the va_arg() macro after that of the va_start() macro
     returns the argument after last.  Successive invocations return the values
 of the remaining arguments.

     The va_copy() macro makes dest a copy of src as if the va_start() macro
     had been applied to it followed by the same sequence of uses of the
     va_arg() macro as had previously been used to reach the present state of

     The va_copy() macro returns no value.

     The va_end() macro handles a normal return from the function whose variable
 argument list was initialized by va_start() or va_copy().

     The va_end() macro returns no value.

EXAMPLES    [Toc]    [Back]

     The function foo takes a string of format characters and prints out the
     argument associated with each format character based on the type.

           void foo(char *fmt, ...)
                   va_list ap;
                   int d;
                   char c, *p, *s;

                   va_start(ap, fmt);
                   while (*fmt) {
                           switch (*fmt++) {
                           case 's':                       /* string */
                                   s = va_arg(ap, char *);
                                   printf("string %s\n", s);
                           case 'd':                       /* int */
                                   d = va_arg(ap, int);
                                   printf("int %d\n", d);
                           case 'c':                       /* char */
                                   c = va_arg(ap, char);
                                   printf("char %c\n", c);

STANDARDS    [Toc]    [Back]

     The va_start(), va_arg(), va_copy(), and va_end() macros conform to .

HISTORY    [Toc]    [Back]

     The va_start(), va_arg() and va_end() macros were introduced in ANSI
     X3.159-1989 (``ANSI C'').  The va_copy() macro was introduced in .

COMPATIBILITY    [Toc]    [Back]

     These macros are not compatible with the historic macros they replace.  A
     backward compatible version can be found in the include file <varargs.h>.

BUGS    [Toc]    [Back]

     Unlike the varargs macros, the stdarg macros do not permit programmers to
     code a function with no fixed arguments.  This problem generates work
     mainly when converting varargs code to stdarg code, but it also creates
     difficulties for variadic functions that wish to pass all of their arguments
 on to a function that takes a va_list argument, such as

BSD                             April 14, 2001                             BSD
[ Back ]
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