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\documentclass[11pt,a4paper]{article}
\usepackage{times}
\usepackage{pl}
\usepackage{plpage}
%\usepackage{xpce}
\usepackage{html}
\sloppy

\onefile
\htmloutput{.}					% Output directory
\htmlmainfile{pl2cpp}				% Main document file
\bodycolor{white}				% Page colour

\renewcommand{\runningtitle}{A C++ interface to SWI-Prolog}

\makeindex

\begin{document}

\title{A C++ interface to SWI-Prolog}
\author{Jan Wielemaker \\
	VU University of Amsterdam \\
	The Netherlands \\
	E-mail: \email{jan@swi-prolog.org}}

\maketitle

\begin{abstract}
This document describes a C++ interface to SWI-Prolog. SWI-Prolog could
be used with C++ for a very long time, but only by calling the extern
"C" functions of the C-interface. The interface described herein
provides a true C++ layer around the C-interface for much more concise
and natural programming from C++. The interface deals with automatic
type-conversion to and from native C data-types, transparent mapping of
exceptions, making queries to Prolog and registering foreign predicates.
\end{abstract}

\vfill

\vfill
\vfill

\newpage

\tableofcontents

\newpage

\section{Introduction}
\label{sec:cpp-intro}

C++ provides a number of features that make it possible to define a much
more natural and concise interface to dynamically typed languages than
plain C does. Using programmable type-conversion (\jargon{casting}),
native data-types can be translated automatically into appropriate
Prolog types, automatic destructors can be used to deal with most of the
cleanup required and C++ exception handling can be used to map Prolog
exceptions and interface conversion errors to C++ exceptions, which are
automatically mapped to Prolog exceptions as control is turned back to
Prolog.

\subsection*{Competing interfaces}

Volker Wysk has defined an alternative C++ mapping based on templates
and compatible to the STL framework.  See
\url{http://www.volker-wysk.de/swiprolog-c++/index.html}.


\subsection*{Acknowledgements}

I would like to thank Anjo Anjewierden for comments on the definition,
implementation and documentation of this package.


\section{Overview}
\label{sec:cpp-overview}

The most useful area for exploiting C++ features is type-conversion.
Prolog variables are dynamically typed and all information is passed
around using the C-interface type \type{term_t}. In C++, \type{term_t}
is embedded in the \jargon{lightweight} class \class{PlTerm}.
Constructors and operator definitions provide flexible operations and
integration with important C-types (\type{char *}, \type{wchar_t*},
\type{long} and \type{double}).

The list below summarises the classes defined in the C++ interface.

\begin{description}
    \classitem{PlTerm}
Generic Prolog term.  Provides constructors and operators for conversion
to native C-data and type-checking.
    \classitem{PlString}
Subclass of \class{PlTerm} with constructors for building
Prolog string objects.
    \classitem{PlCodeList}
Subclass of \class{PlTerm} with constructors for building
Prolog lists of ASCII values.
    \classitem{PlCharList}
Subclass of \class{PlTerm} with constructors for building
Prolog lists of one-character atoms (as atom_chars/2).
    \classitem{PlCompound}
Subclass of \class{PlTerm} with constructors for building compound
terms.
    \classitem{PlTail}
SubClass of \class{PlTerm} for building and analysing Prolog lists.
    \classitem{PlTermv}
Vector of Prolog terms. See PL_new_term_refs(). the \const{[]} operator
is overloaded to access elements in this vector.  \class{PlTermv} is used
to build complex terms and provide argument-lists to Prolog goals.
    \classitem{PlException}
Subclass of \class{PlTerm} representing a Prolog exception.  Provides
methods for the Prolog communication and mapping to human-readable text
representation.
    \classitem{PlTypeError}
Subclass of \class{PlException} for representing a Prolog
\except{type_error} exception.
    \classitem{PlDomainError}
Subclass of \class{PlException} for representing a Prolog
\except{domain_error} exception.
    \classitem{PlExistenceError}
Subclass of \class{PlException} for representing a Prolog
\except{existence_error} exception.
    \classitem{PlPermissionError}
Subclass of \class{PlException} for representing a Prolog
\except{permission_error} exception.
    \classitem{PlAtom}
Allow for manipulating atoms in their internal Prolog representation
for fast comparison.
    \classitem{PlQuery}
Represents opening and enumerating the solutions to a Prolog query.
    \classitem{PlFrame}
This utility-class can be used to discard unused term-references as well
as to do `\jargon{data-backtracking}'.
    \classitem{PlEngine}
This class is used in \jargon{embedded} applications (applications
where the main control is held in C++).  It provides creation and
destruction of the Prolog environment.
    \classitem{PlRegister}
The encapsulation of PL_register_foreign() is defined to be able to
use C++ global constructors for registering foreign predicates.
\end{description}

The required C(++) function header and registration of a predicate
is arranged through a macro called \cfuncref{PREDICATE}{}.


\section{Examples}
\label{sec:cpp-examples}

Before going into a detailed description of the C++ classes we present
a few examples illustrating the `feel' of the interface.


\subsection{Hello(World)}
\label{sec:cpp-hello-world}

This simple example shows the basic definition of the predicate hello/1
and how a Prolog argument is converted to C-data:

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(hello, 1)
{ cout << "Hello " << (char *)A1 << endl;

  return TRUE;
}
\end{code}

The arguments to PREDICATE() are the name and arity of the predicate.
The macros A<n> provide access to the predicate arguments by position
and are of the type \class{PlTerm}. Casting a \class{PlTerm} to a
\type{char *} or \type{wchar_t *} provides the natural type-conversion
for most Prolog data-types, using the output of write/1 otherwise:

\begin{code}
?- hello(world).
Hello world

Yes
?- hello(X)
Hello _G170

X = _G170
\end{code}

\subsection{Adding numbers}
\label{sec:cpp-ex-adding-numbers}

This example shows arithmetic using the C++ interface, including
unification, type-checking and conversion.  The predicate add/3 adds
the two first arguments and unifies the last with the result.

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(add, 3)
{ return A3 = (long)A1 + (long)A2;
}
\end{code}

Casting a \class{PlTerm} to a \type{long} performs a PL_get_long() and
throws a C++ exception if the Prolog argument is not a Prolog integer
or float that can be converted without loss to a \type{long}. The
\const{=} operator of \class{PlTerm} is defined to perform unification
and returns \const{TRUE} or \const{FALSE} depending on the result.

\begin{code}
?- add(1, 2, X).

X = 3.
?- add(a, 2, X).
[ERROR: Type error: `integer' expected, found `a']
   Exception: (  7) add(a, 2, _G197) ?
\end{code}


\subsection{Average of solutions}
\label{sec:cpp-ex-average}

This example is a bit harder. The predicate average/3 is defined to take
the template \mbox{average(+Var, :Goal, -Average)}, where \arg{Goal}
binds \arg{Var} and will unify \arg{Average} with average of the
(integer) results.

\class{PlQuery} takes the name of a predicate and the goal-argument
vector as arguments. From this information it deduces the arity and
locates the predicate. the member-function next_solution() yields
\const{TRUE} if there was a solution and \const{FALSE} otherwise. If
the goal yielded a Prolog exception it is mapped into a C++ exception.


\begin{code}
PREDICATE(average, 3)
{ long sum = 0;
  long n = 0;

  PlQuery q("call", PlTermv(A2));
  while( q.next_solution() )
  { sum += (long)A1;
    n++;
  }
  return A3 = (double)sum/(double)n;
}
\end{code}


\section{The class PlTerm}
\label{sec:cpp-plterm}

As we have seen from the examples, the \class{PlTerm} class plays a
central role in conversion and operating on Prolog data. This section
provides complete documentation of this class.

\subsection{Constructors}
\label{sec:cpp-plterm-constructurs}

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlTerm}{}
Creates a new initialised term (holding a Prolog variable).
    \constructor{PlTerm}{term_t t}
Converts between the C-interface and the C++ interface by turning the
term-reference into an instance of \class{PlTerm}.  Note that, being a
lightweight class, this is a no-op at the machine-level!
    \constructor{PlTerm}{const char *text}
Creates a term-references holding a Prolog atom representing \arg{text}.
    \constructor{PlTerm}{const wchar_t *text}
Creates a term-references holding a Prolog atom representing \arg{text}.
    \constructor{PlTerm}{const PlAtom \&atom}
Creates a term-references holding a Prolog atom from an atom-handle.
    \constructor{PlTerm}{long n}
Creates a term-references holding a Prolog integer representing \arg{n}.
    \constructor{PlTerm}{double f}
Creates a term-references holding a Prolog float representing \arg{f}.
    \constructor{PlTerm}{void *ptr}
Creates a term-references holding a Prolog pointer.  A pointer is
represented in Prolog as a mangled integer.  The mangling is designed
to make most pointers fit into a \jargon{tagged-integer}.  Any valid
pointer can be represented.  This mechanism can be used to represent
pointers to C++ objects in Prolog.  Please note that `myclass' should
define conversion to and from \type{void *}.

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(make_my_object, 1)
{ myclass *myobj = new myclass();

  return A1 = (void *)myobj;
}

PREDICATE(free_my_object, 1)
{ myclass *myobj = (void *)A1;

  delete(myobj);
  return TRUE;
}
\end{code}
\end{description}


\subsection{Casting PlTerm to native C-types}
\label{sec:cpp-plterm-casting}

\class{PlTerm} can be casted to the following types:

\begin{description}
    \cppcast{PlTerm}{term_t}
This cast is used for integration with the C-interface primitives.
    \cppcast{PlTerm}{long}
Yields a \type{long} if the \class{PlTerm} is a Prolog integer or
float that can be converted without loss to a long.  throws a
\except{type_error} exception otherwise.
    \cppcast{PlTerm}{int}
Same as for \type{long}, but might represent fewer bits.
    \cppcast{PlTerm}{double}
Yields the value as a C double if \class{PlTerm} represents a
Prolog integer or float.
    \cppcast{PlTerm}{wchar_t *}
    \nodescription
    \cppcast{PlTerm}{char *}
Converts the Prolog argument using PL_get_chars() using the flags
\const{CVT_ALL|CVT_WRITE|BUF_RING}, which implies Prolog atoms and
strings are converted to the represented text.  All other data is
handed to write/1.  If the text is static in Prolog, a direct pointer
to the string is returned.  Otherwise the text is saved in a ring of
16 buffers and must be copied to avoid overwriting.
    \cppcast{PlTerm}{void *}
Extracts pointer value from a term. The term should have been created
by PlTerm::PlTerm(void*).
\end{description}

\subsection{Unification}
\label{sec:cpp-plterm-unification}

\begin{description}
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator =}{Type}
The operator \const{=} is defined for the \arg{Types} \class{PlTerm},
\type{long}, \type{double}, \type{char *}, \type{wchar_t*} and
\class{PlAtom}. It performs Prolog unification and returns \const{TRUE}
if successful and \const{FALSE} otherwise.

The boolean return-value leads to somewhat unconventional-looking code
as normally, assignment returns the value assigned in C.  Unification
however is fundamentally different to assignment as it can succeed or
fail.  Here is a common example.

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(hostname, 1)
{ char buf[32];

  if ( gethostname(buf, sizeof(buf)) == 0 )
    return A1 = buf;

  return FALSE;
}
\end{code}
\end{description}


\subsection{Comparison}
\label{sec:cpp-plterm-comparison}


\begin{description}
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator ==}{const PlTerm \&t}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator !=}{const PlTerm \&t}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $<$}{const PlTerm \&t}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $>$}{const PlTerm \&t}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $<=$}{const PlTerm \&t}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $>=$}{const PlTerm \&t}
Compare the instance with \arg{t} and return the result according to
the Prolog defined \jargon{standard order of terms}.
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator ==}{long num}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator !=}{long num}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $<$}{long num}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $>$}{long num}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $<=$}{long num}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator $>=$}{long num}
Convert \class{PlTerm} to a \type{long} and perform standard
C-comparison between the two long integers. If \class{PlTerm} cannot be
converted a \except{type_error} is raised.

    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator ==}{const wchar_t *}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::operator ==}{const char *}
Yields \const{TRUE} if the \class{PlTerm} is an atom or string
representing the same text as the argument, \const{FALSE} if the
conversion was successful, but the strings are not equal and an
\except{type_error} exception if the conversion failed.
\end{description}

Below are some typical examples.  See \secref{dirplatom} for direct
manipulation of atoms in their internal representation.

\begin{center}
\begin{tabularlp}{\tt A1 == PlCompound("a(1)")}
\hline
\tt A1 $<$ 0	& Test \arg{A1} to hold a Prolog integer or float
		  that can be transformed lossless to an integer
		  less than zero. \\
\tt A1 $<$ PlTerm(0) &
		  \arg{A1} is before the term `0' in the `standard
		  order of terms'. This means that if \arg{A1}
		  represents an atom, this test yields \const{TRUE}. \\
\tt A1 == PlCompound("a(1)") &
		  Test \arg{A1} to represent the term
		  \exam{a(1)}. \\
\tt A1 == "now" &
		  Test \arg{A1} to be an atom or string holding the
		  text ``now''. \\
\hline
\end{tabularlp}
\end{center}


\subsection{Analysing compound terms}
\label{sec:cpp-plterm-compound}

Compound terms can be viewed as an array of terms with a name and arity
(length). This view is expressed by overloading the \const{[]} operator.

A \except{type_error} is raised if the argument is not compound and a
\except{domain_error} if the index is out of range.

In addition, the following functions are defined:

\begin{description}
    \cfunction{PlTerm}{PlTerm::operator []}{int arg}
If the \class{PlTerm} is a compound term and \arg{arg} is between 1 and
the arity of the term, return a new \class{PlTerm} representing the
arg-th argument of the term. If \class{PlTerm} is not compound, a
\except{type_error} is raised. Id \arg{arg} is out of range, a
\except{domain_error} is raised. Please note the counting from 1 which
is consistent to Prolog's arg/3 predicate, but inconsistent to C's
normal view on an array. See also class \class{PlCompound}. The
following example tests \arg{x} to represent a term with first-argument
an atom or string equal to \exam{gnat}.

\begin{code}
   ...,
   if ( x[1] == "gnat" )
     ...
\end{code}

    \cfunction{const char *}{PlTerm::name}{}
Return a \type{const char *} holding the name of the functor of the
compound term.  Raises a \except{type_error} if the argument is not
compound.
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::arity}{}
Returns the arity of the compound term. Raises a \except{type_error} if
the argument is not compound.
\end{description}

\subsection{Miscellaneous}
\label{sec:cpp-plterm-misc}

\begin{description}
    \cfunction{int}{PlTerm::type}{}
Yields the actual type of the term as PL_term_type(). Return values are
\const{PL_VARIABLE}, \const{PL_FLOAT}, \const{PL_INTEGER},
\const{PL_ATOM}, \const{PL_STRING} or \const{PL_TERM}
\end{description}

To avoid very confusing combinations of constructors and therefore
possible undesirable effects a number of subclasses of \class{PlTerm}
have been defined that provide constructors for creating special Prolog
terms.  These subclasses are defined below.

\subsection{The class PlString}
\label{sec:cpp-plstring}

A SWI-Prolog string represents a byte-string on the global stack.  It's
lifetime is the same as for compound terms and other data living on
the global stack.  Strings are not only a compound representation of
text that is garbage-collected, but as they can contain 0-bytes, they
can be used to contain arbitrary C-data structures.


\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlString}{const wchar_t *text}
    \nodescription
    \constructor{PlString}{const char *text}
Create a SWI-Prolog string object from a 0-terminated C-string.  The
\arg{text} is copied.

    \constructor{PlString}{const wchar_t *text, size_t len}
    \nodescription
    \constructor{PlString}{const char *text, size_t len}
Create a SWI-Prolog string object from a C-string with specified length.
The \arg{text} may contain 0-characters and is copied.
\end{description}

\subsection{The class PlCodeList}
\label{sec:cpp-codelist}

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlCodeList}{const wchar_t *text}
    \nodescription
    \constructor{PlCodeList}{const char *text}
Create a Prolog list of ASCII codes from a 0-terminated C-string.
\end{description}


\subsection{The class PlCharList}
\label{sec:cpp-plcharlist}

Character lists are compliant to Prolog's atom_chars/2 predicate.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlCharList}{const wchar_t *text}
    \nodescription
    \constructor{PlCharList}{const char *text}
Create a Prolog list of one-character atoms from a 0-terminated
C-string.
\end{description}


\subsection{The class PlCompound}
\label{sec:cpp-plcompound}

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlCompound}{const wchar_t *text}
    \nodescription
    \constructor{PlCompound}{const char *text}
Create a term by parsing (as read/1) the \arg{text}.  If the \arg{text}
is not valid Prolog syntax, a \except{syntax_error} exception is raised.
Otherwise a new term-reference holding the parsed text is created.

    \constructor{PlCompound}{const wchar_t *functor, PlTermv args}
    \nodescription
    \constructor{PlCompound}{const char *functor, PlTermv args}
Create a compound term with the given name from the given vector of
arguments.  See \class{PlTermv} for details.  The example below
creates the Prolog term \exam{hello(world)}.

\begin{code}
PlCompound("hello", PlTermv("world"))
\end{code}
\end{description}


\subsection{The class PlTail}		\label{sec:pltail}

The class \class{PlTail} is both for analysing and constructing lists.
It is called \class{PlTail} as enumeration-steps make the term-reference
follow the `tail' of the list.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlTail}{PlTerm list}
A \class{PlTail} is created by making a new term-reference pointing to
the same object.  As \class{PlTail} is used to enumerate or build a
Prolog list, the initial \arg{list} term-reference keeps pointing to
the head of the list.
    \cfunction{int}{PlTail::append}{const PlTerm \&element}
Appends \arg{element} to the list and make the \class{PlTail} reference
point to the new variable tail.  If \arg{A} is a variable, and this
function is called on it using the argument \exam{"gnat"}, a list of
the form \exam{[gnat|B]} is created and the \class{PlTail} object
now points to the new variable \arg{B}.

This function returns \const{TRUE} if the unification succeeded and
\const{FALSE} otherwise.  No exceptions are generated.

The example below translates the main() argument vector to Prolog and
calls the prolog predicate entry/1 with it.

\begin{code}
int
main(int argc, char **argv)
{ PlEngine e(argv[0]);
  PlTermv av(1);
  PlTail l(av[0]);

  for(int i=0; i<argc; i++)
    l.append(argv[i]);
  l.close();

  PlQuery q("entry", av);
  return q.next_solution() ? 0 : 1;
}
\end{code}
    \cfunction{int}{PlTail::close}{}
Unifies the term with \const{[]} and returns the result of the
unification.
    \cfunction{int}{PlTail::next}{PlTerm \&t}
Bind \arg{t} to the next element of the list \class{PlTail} and advance
\class{PlTail}. Returns \const{TRUE} on success and \const{FALSE} if
\class{PlTail} represents the empty list. If \class{PlTail} is neither a
list nor the empty list, a \except{type_error} is thrown. The example
below prints the elements of a list.

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(write_list, 1)
{ PlTail tail(A1);
  PlTerm e;

  while(tail.next(e))
    cout << (char *)e << endl;

  return TRUE;
}
\end{code}
\end{description}


\section{The class PlTermv}
\label{sec:cpp-pltermv}

The class \class{PlTermv} represents an array of term-references.  This
type is used to pass the arguments to a foreignly defined predicate,
construct compound terms (see \cfuncref{PlTerm::PlTerm}{const char *name,
PlTermv arguments}) and to create queries (see \class{PlQuery}).

The only useful member function is the overloading of \const{[]},
providing (0-based) access to the elements.  Range checking is performed
and raises a \except{domain_error} exception.

The constructors for this class are below.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlTermv}{int size}
Create a new array of term-references, all holding variables.
    \constructor{PlTermv}{int size, term_t t0}
Convert a C-interface defined term-array into an instance.
    \constructor{PlTermv}{PlTerm ...}
Create a vector from 1 to 5 initialising arguments.  For example:

\begin{code}
load_file(const char *file)
{ return PlCall("compile", PlTermv(file));
}
\end{code}

If the vector has to contain more than 5 elements, the following
construction should be used:

\begin{code}
{ PlTermv av(10);

  av[0] = "hello";
  ...
\end{code}
\end{description}


\section{Supporting Prolog constants}
\label{sec:cpp-prolog-constants}

Both for quick comparison as for quick building of lists of atoms, it
is desirable to provide access to Prolog's atom-table, mapping handles
to unique string-constants.  If the handles of two atoms are different
it is guaranteed they represent different text strings.

Suppose we want to test whether a term represents a certain atom, this
interface presents a large number of alternatives:

\subsection*{Direct comparision to char *}

Example:

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(test, 1)
{ if ( A1 == "read" )
    ...;
\end{code}

This writes easily and is the preferred method is performance is not
critical and only a few comparisons have to be made. It validates
\arg{A1} to be a term-reference representing text (atom, string, integer
or float) extracts the represented text and uses strcmp() to match the
strings.

\subsection*{Direct comparision to PlAtom}		\label{sec:dirplatom}

Example:

\begin{code}
static PlAtom ATOM_read("read");

PREDICATE(test, 1)
{ if ( A1 == ATOM_read )
    ...;
\end{code}

This case raises a \except{type_error} if \arg{A1} is not an atom.
Otherwise it extacts the atom-handle and compares it to the atom-handle
of the global \class{PlAtom} object. This approach is faster and
provides more strict type-checking.

\subsection*{Extraction of the atom and comparison to PlAtom}

Example:

\begin{code}
static PlAtom ATOM_read("read");

PREDICATE(test, 1)
{ PlAtom a1(A1);

  if ( a1 == ATOM_read )
    ...;
\end{code}

This approach is basically the same as \secref{dirplatom}, but in
nested if-then-else the extraction of the atom from the term is
done only once.

\subsection*{Extraction of the atom and comparison to char *}

Example:

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(test, 1)
{ PlAtom a1(A1);

  if ( a1 == "read" )
    ...;
\end{code}

This approach extracts the atom once and for each test extracts
the represented string from the atom and compares it.  It avoids
the need for global atom constructors.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlAtom}{atom_t handle}
Create from C-interface atom handle.  Used internally and for
integration with the C-interface.
    \constructor{PlAtom}{const wchar_t *text}
    \nodescription
    \constructor{PlAtom}{const char *text}
Create an atom from a string.  The \arg{text} is copied if a new atom
is created.
    \constructor{PlAtom}{const PlTerm \&t}
If \arg{t} represents an atom, the new instance represents this
atom.  Otherwise a \except{type_error} is thrown.
    \cfunction{int}{PlAtom::operator ==}{const wchar_t *text}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlAtom::operator ==}{const char *text}
Yields \const{TRUE} if the atom represents \arg{text}, \const{FALSE}
otherwise.  Performs a strcmp() for this.
    \cfunction{int}{PlAtom::operator ==}{const PlAtom \&a}
Compares the two atom-handles, returning \const{TRUE} or
\const{FALSE}.
\end{description}


\section{The class PlRegister}
\label{sec:cpp-plregister}

This class encapsulates PL_register_foreign().  It is defined as a class
rather then a function to exploit the C++ \jargon{global constructor}
feature.  This class provides a constructor to deal with the PREDICATE()
way of defining foreign predicates as well as constructors to deal with
more conventional foreign predicate definitions.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlRegister}{const char *module,
			     const char *name,
			     int arity,
			     foreign_t (f)(term_t t0, int a, control_t ctx)}
Register \arg{f} as a the implementation of the foreign predicate
<name>/<arity>.  This interface uses the \const{PL_FA_VARARGS} calling
convention, where the argument list of the predicate is passed using an
array of \type{term_t} objects as returned by PL_new_term_refs().  This
interface poses no limits on the arity of the predicate and is faster,
especially for a large number of arguments.
    \constructor{PlRegister}{const char *module,
			     const char *name,
			     foreign_t (*f)(PlTerm a0, \ldots)}
Registers functions for use with the traditional calling conventional,
where each positional argument to the predicate is passed as an argument
to the function \arg{f}. This can be used to define functions as
predicates similar to what is used in the C-interface:

\begin{code}
static foreign_t
pl_hello(PlTerm a1)
{ ...
}

PlRegister x_hello_1(NULL, "hello", 1, pl_hello);
\end{code}

This construct is currently supported upto 3 arguments.
\end{description}


\section{The class PlQuery}
\label{sec:cpp-plquery}

This class encapsulates the call-backs onto Prolog.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlQuery}{const char *name, const PlTermv \&av}
Create a query where \arg{name} defines the name of the predicate and
\arg{av} the argument vector.  The arity is deduced from \arg{av}.  The
predicate is located in the Prolog module \module{user}.
    \constructor{PlQuery}{const char *module, const char *name,
			  const PlTermv \&av}
Same, but performs the predicate lookup in the indicated module.
    \cfunction{int}{PlQuery::next_solution}{}
Provide the next solution to the query.  Yields \const{TRUE} if
successful and \const{FALSE} if there are no (more) solutions.
Prolog exceptions are mapped to C++ exceptions.
\end{description}

Below is an example listing the currently defined Prolog modules
to the terminal.

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(list_modules, 0)
{ PlTermv av(1);

  PlQuery q("current_module", av);
  while( q.next_solution() )
    cout << (char *)av[0] << endl;

  return TRUE;
}
\end{code}

In addition to the above, the following functions have been defined.

\begin{description}
    \cfunction{int}{PlCall}{const char *predicate, const PlTermv \&av}
Creates a \class{PlQuery} from the arguments generates the
first next_solution() and destroys the query.  Returns the
result of next_solution() or an exception.
    \cfunction{int}{PlCall}{const char *module, const char *predicate,
			    const PlTermv \&av}
Same, locating the predicate in the named module.
    \cfunction{int}{PlCall}{const wchar_t *goal}
    \nodescription
    \cfunction{int}{PlCall}{const char *goal}
Translates \arg{goal} into a term and calls this term as the other
PlCall() variations. Especially suitable for simple goals such as making
Prolog load a file.
\end{description}

\subsection{The class PlFrame}
\label{sec:cpp-plframe}

The class \class{PlFrame} provides an interface to discard unused
term-references as well as rewinding unifications
(\jargon{data-backtracking}). Reclaiming unused term-references is
automatically performed after a call to a C++-defined predicate has
finished and returns control to Prolog. In this scenario \class{PlFrame}
is rarely of any use. This class comes into play if the toplevel program
is defined in C++ and calls Prolog multiple times.  Setting up arguments
to a query requires term-references and using \class{PlFrame} is the
only way to reclaim them.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlFrame}{}
Creating an instance of this class marks all term-references created
afterwards to be valid only in the scope of this instance.
    \destructor{PlFrame}
Reclaims all term-references created after constructing the instance.
    \cfunction{void}{PlFrame::rewind}{}
Discards all term-references {\bf and} global-stack data created as well
as undoing all unifications after the instance was created.
\end{description}

\index{assert}%
A typical use for \class{PlFrame} is the definition of C++ functions
that call Prolog and may be called repeatedly from C++.  Consider the
definition of assertWord(), adding a fact to word/1:

\begin{code}
void
assertWord(const char *word)
{ PlFrame fr;
  PlTermv av(1);

  av[0] = PlCompound("word", PlTermv(word));
  PlQuery q("assert", av);
  q.next_solution();
}
\end{code}


This example shows the most sensible use of \class{PlFrame} if it is
used in the context of a foreign predicate. The predicate's thruth-value
is the same as for the Prolog unification (=/2), but has no
side effects. In Prolog one would use double negation to achieve this.

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(can_unify, 2)
{ PlFrame fr;

  int rval = (A1=A2);
  fr.rewind();
  return rval;
}
\end{code}

\section{The PREDICATE macro}
\label{sec:cpp-predicate-macro}

The PREDICATE macro is there to make your code look nice, taking care of
the interface to the C-defined SWI-Prolog kernel as well as mapping
exceptions.  Using the macro

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(hello, 1)
\end{code}

is the same as writing:

\begin{code}
static foreign_t pl_hello__1(PlTermv PL_av);

static foreign_t
_pl_hello__1(term_t t0, int arity, control_t ctx)
{ (void)arity; (void)ctx;
  try
  { return pl_hello__1(PlTermv(1, t0));
  } catch ( PlTerm &ex )
  { return ex.raise();
  }
}

static PlRegister _x_hello__1("hello", 1, _pl_hello__1);

static foreign_t
pl_hello__1(PlTermv PL_av)
\end{code}

The first function converts the parameters passed from the Prolog
kernel to a \class{PlTermv} instance and maps exceptions raised in
the body to Prolog exceptions.  The \class{PlRegister} global
constructor registers the predicate.  Finally, the function header
for the implementation is created.

\subsection{Variations of the PREDICATE macro}
\label{sec:cpp-predicate-macro-variations}

The PREDICATE() macros has a number of variations that deal with
special cases.

\begin{description}
    \cmacro{}{PREDICATE0}{name}
This is the same as PREDICATE(name, 0).  It avoids a compiler warning
about that \const{PL_av} is not used.

    \cmacro{}{NAMED_PREDICATE}{plname, cname, arity}
This version can be used to create predicates whose name is not a valid
C++ identifier. Here is a ---hypothetical--- example, which unifies the
second argument with a stringified version of the first. The `cname' is
used to create a name for the functions. The concrete name does not
matter, but must be unique. Typically it is a descriptive name using the
limitations imposed by C++ indentifiers.

    \begin{code}
    NAMED_PREDICATE("#", hash, 2)
    { A2 = (wchar_t*)A1;
    }
    \end{code}

    \cmacro{}{NAMED_PREDICATE_NONDET}{plname, cname, arity}
Define a non-deterministic Prolog predicate in C++. See
\file{SWI-cpp.h}.  FIXME: Needs cleanup and an example.
\end{description}


\subsection{Controlling the Prolog destination module}
\label{sec:cpp-module}

With no special precautions, the predicates are defined into the
module from which load_foreign_library/1 was called, or in the module
\const{user} if there is no Prolog context from which to deduce the
module such as while linking the extension statically with the Prolog
kernel.

Alternatively, {\em before} loading the SWI-Prolog include file, the
macro PROLOG_MODULE may be defined to a string containing the name of
the destination module. A module name may only contain alpha-numerical
characters (letters, digits, _).  See the example below:

\begin{code}
#define PROLOG_MODULE "math"
#include <SWI-Prolog.h>
#include <math.h>

PREDICATE(pi, 1)
{ A1 = M_PI;
}
\end{code}

\begin{code}
?- math:pi(X).

X = 3.14159
\end{code}


\section{Exceptions}
\label{sec:cpp-exceptions}

Prolog exceptions are mapped to C++ exceptions using the subclass
\class{PlException} of \class{PlTerm} to represent the Prolog exception
term. All type-conversion functions of the interface raise
Prolog-compliant exceptions, providing decent error-handling support at
no extra work for the programmer.

For some commonly used exceptions, subclasses of \class{PlException}
have been created to exploit both their constructors for easy creation
of these exceptions as well as selective trapping in C++.  Currently,
these are \class{PlTypeEror} and \class{PlDomainError}.

To throw an exception, create an instance of \class{PlException} and
use throw() or PlException::cppThrow().  The latter refines the C++
exception class according to the represented Prolog exception before
calling throw().

\begin{code}
  char *data = "users";

  throw PlException(PlCompound("no_database", PlTerm(data)));
\end{code}

\subsection{The class PlException}
\label{sec:cpp-plexception}

This subclass of \class{PlTerm} is used to represent exceptions.
Currently defined methods are:

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlException}{const PlTerm \&t}
Create an exception from a general Prolog term.  This is provides the
interface for throwing any Prolog terms as an exception.
    \cppcast{PlException}{wchar_t *}
    \nodescription
    \cppcast{PlException}{char *}
The exception is translated into a message as produced by
print_message/2.  The character data is stored in a ring.  Example:

\begin{code}
  ...;
  try
  { PlCall("consult(load)");
  } catch ( PlException &ex )
  { cerr << (char *) ex << endl;
  }
\end{code}
    \cfunction{int}{plThrow}{}
Used in the PREDICATE() wrapper to pass the exception to Prolog.  See
PL_raise_exeption().
    \cfunction{int}{cppThrow}{}
Used by PlQuery::next_solution() to refine a generic \class{PlException}
representing a specific class of Prolog exceptions to the corresponding
C++ exception class and finally then executes throw().  Thus, if a
\class{PlException} represents the term

\begin{quote}
\term{error}{\term{type_error}{Expected, Actual}, Context}
\end{quote}

PlException::cppThrow() throws a \class{PlTypeEror} exception. This
ensures consistency in the exception-class whether the exception is
generated by the C++-interface or returned by Prolog.

The following example illustrates this behaviour:

\begin{code}
PREDICATE(call_atom, 1)
{ try
  { return PlCall((char *)A1);
  } catch ( PlTypeError &ex )
  { cerr << "Type Error caugth in C++" << endl;
    cerr << "Message: \"" << (char *)ex << "\"" << endl;
    return FALSE;
  }
}
\end{code}

\end{description}


\subsection{The class PlTypeError}
\label{sec:cpp-pl-type-error}

A \jargon{type error} expresses that a term does not satisfy the
expected basic Prolog type.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlTypeError}{const char *expected, const PlTerm \&actual}
Creates an ISO standard Prolog error term expressing the
\arg{expected} type and \arg{actual} term that does not satisfy this
type.
\end{description}


\subsection{The class PlDomainError}
\label{sec:cpp-pl-domain-error}

A \jargon{domain error} expresses that a term satisfies the basic
Prolog type expected, but is unacceptable to the restricted domain
expected by some operation.  For example, the standard Prolog open/3
call expect an \const{io_mode} (read, write, append, ...). If an integer
is provided, this is a \jargon{type error}, if an atom other than one
of the defined io-modes is provided it is a \jargon{domain error}.

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlDomainError}{const char *expected, const PlTerm \&actual}
Creates an ISO standard Prolog error term expressing a the
\arg{expected} domain and the \arg{actual} term found.
\end{description}


\section{Embedded applications}
\label{sec:cpp-embedding}

Most of the above assumes Prolog is `in charge' of the application and
C++ is used to add functionality to Prolog, either for accessing
external resources or for performance reasons.  In some applications,
there is a \jargon{main-program} and we want to use Prolog as a
\jargon{logic server}.  For these applications, the class
\class{PlEngine} has been defined.

Only a single instance of this class can exist in a process.  When used
in a multi-threading application, only one thread at a time may have
a running query on this engine.  Applications should ensure this using
proper locking techniques.%
    \footnote{For Unix, there is a multi-threaded version of SWI-Prolog.
	      In this version each thread can create and destroy a
	      thread-engine. There is currently no C++ interface defined
	      to access this functionality, though ---of course--- you
	      can use the C-functions.}

\begin{description}
    \constructor{PlEngine}{int argc, char **argv}
Initialises the Prolog engine.  The application should make sure to
pass \exam{argv[0]} from its main function, which is needed in the
Unix version to find the running executable.  See PL_initialise()
for details.
    \constructor{PlEngine}{char *argv0}
Simple constructure using the main constructor with the specified
argument for \exam{argv[0]}.
    \destructor{PlEngine}
Calls PL_cleanup() to destroy all data created by the Prolog engine.
\end{description}

\Secref{pltail} has a simple example using this class.


\section{Considerations}
\label{sec:cpp-considerations}

\subsection{The C++ versus the C interface}
\label{sec:cpp-vs-c}

Not all functionality of the C-interface is provided, but as
\class{PlTerm} and \type{term_t} are essentially the same thing with
automatic type-conversion between the two, this interface can be freely
mixed with the functions defined for plain C.

Using this interface rather than the plain C-interface requires a little
more resources. More term-references are wasted (but reclaimed on return
to Prolog or using \class{PlFrame}). Use of some intermediate types
(\type{functor_t} etc.) is not supported in the current interface,
causing more hash-table lookups. This could be fixed, at the price of
slighly complicating the interface.


\subsection{Static linking and embedding}
\label{sec:cpp-linking}

The mechanisms outlined in this document can be used for static linking
with the SWI-Prolog kernel using \manref{swipl-ld}{1}. In general the
C++ linker should be used to deal with the C++ runtime libraries and
global constructors.

\subsection{Status and compiler versions}
\label{sec:cpp-status}

The current interface is entirely defined in the \fileext{h} file using
inlined code.  This approach has a few advantages: as no C++ code is in
the Prolog kernel, different C++ compilers with different name-mangling
schemas can cooperate smoothly.

Also, changes to the header file have no consequences to binary
compatibility with the SWI-Prolog kernel. This makes it possible to have
different versions of the header file with few compatibility
consequences.

\section{Conclusions}				\label{sec:conclusions}
\label{sec:cpp-conclusions}

In this document, we presented a high-level interface to Prolog
exploiting automatic type-conversion and exception-handling defined in
C++.

Programming using this interface is much more natural and requires only
little extra resources in terms of time and memory.

Especially the smooth integration between C++ and Prolog exceptions
reduce the coding effort for type checking and reporting in foreign
predicates.

\printindex

\end{document}