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In order to prove that generic programming (the style of computer programming in which algorithms are written in terms of to-be-specified-later types that are theninstantiated when needed for specific types provided as parameters) can be achieved in C, let’s write the implementation of a generic Stack data structure . We will follow two possible approaches:

  • Hacking with the #preprocessor;
  • Using the flexibility of the void pointer (void*);

You can always try both of the approaches and see which one is more suitable for your particular case . Also note that there are already generic C libraries available (see GLib ).

1. Hacking with the preprocessor

To understand the magic (not really) behind this approach you will need to be familiar with C macros and the associated concepts: function-like macros, macro arguments, stringification and concatenation. You can find a very nice tutorial on macros here. If you already know your stuff, you can skip the following paragraphs (or you can read them to refresh your memory / find errors and correct me :P). Continue reading

Posted in C.