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.. Copyright (C) 2014-2021 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Originally contributed by David Malcolm <>
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.. default-domain:: cpp
Tutorial part 3: Loops and variables
Consider this C function:
.. code-block:: c
int loop_test (int n)
int sum = 0;
for (int i = 0; i < n; i++)
sum += i * i;
return sum;
This example demonstrates some more features of libgccjit, with local
variables and a loop.
To break this down into libgccjit terms, it's usually easier to reword
the `for` loop as a `while` loop, giving:
.. code-block:: c
int loop_test (int n)
int sum = 0;
int i = 0;
while (i < n)
sum += i * i;
return sum;
Here's what the final control flow graph will look like:
.. figure:: ../../intro/sum-of-squares.png
:alt: image of a control flow graph
As before, we include the libgccjit++ header and make a
.. code-block:: c++
#include <libgccjit++.h>
void test (void)
gccjit::context ctxt;
ctxt = gccjit::context::acquire ();
The function works with the C `int` type.
In the previous tutorial we acquired this via
.. code-block:: c++
gccjit::type the_type = ctxt.get_type (ctxt, GCC_JIT_TYPE_INT);
though we could equally well make it work on, say, `double`:
.. code-block:: c++
gccjit::type the_type = ctxt.get_type (ctxt, GCC_JIT_TYPE_DOUBLE);
For integer types we can use :func:`gccjit::context::get_int_type<T>`
to directly bind a specific type:
.. code-block:: c++
gccjit::type the_type = ctxt.get_int_type <int> ();
Let's build the function:
.. code-block:: c++
gcc_jit_param n = ctxt.new_param (the_type, "n");
std::vector<gccjit::param> params;
params.push_back (n);
gccjit::function func =
ctxt.new_function (GCC_JIT_FUNCTION_EXPORTED,
params, 0);
Expressions: lvalues and rvalues
The base class of expression is the :type:`gccjit::rvalue`,
representing an expression that can be on the *right*-hand side of
an assignment: a value that can be computed somehow, and assigned
*to* a storage area (such as a variable). It has a specific
Anothe important class is :type:`gccjit::lvalue`.
A :type:`gccjit::lvalue`. is something that can of the *left*-hand
side of an assignment: a storage area (such as a variable).
In other words, every assignment can be thought of as:
.. code-block:: c
Note that :type:`gccjit::lvalue` is a subclass of
:type:`gccjit::rvalue`, where in an assignment of the form:
.. code-block:: c
the `LVALUE_B` implies reading the current value of that storage
area, assigning it into the `LVALUE_A`.
So far the only expressions we've seen are from the previous tutorial:
1. the multiplication `i * i`:
.. code-block:: c++
gccjit::rvalue expr =
ctxt.new_binary_op (
param_i, param_i);
/* Alternatively, using operator-overloading: */
gccjit::rvalue expr = param_i * param_i;
which is a :type:`gccjit::rvalue`, and
2. the various function parameters: `param_i` and `param_n`, instances of
:type:`gccjit::param`, which is a subclass of :type:`gccjit::lvalue`
(and, in turn, of :type:`gccjit::rvalue`):
we can both read from and write to function parameters within the
body of a function.
Our new example has a new kind of expression: we have two local
variables. We create them by calling
:func:`gccjit::function::new_local`, supplying a type and a name:
.. code-block:: c++
/* Build locals: */
gccjit::lvalue i = func.new_local (the_type, "i");
gccjit::lvalue sum = func.new_local (the_type, "sum");
These are instances of :type:`gccjit::lvalue` - they can be read from
and written to.
Note that there is no precanned way to create *and* initialize a variable
like in C:
.. code-block:: c
int i = 0;
Instead, having added the local to the function, we have to separately add
an assignment of `0` to `local_i` at the beginning of the function.
Control flow
This function has a loop, so we need to build some basic blocks to
handle the control flow. In this case, we need 4 blocks:
1. before the loop (initializing the locals)
2. the conditional at the top of the loop (comparing `i < n`)
3. the body of the loop
4. after the loop terminates (`return sum`)
so we create these as :type:`gccjit::block` instances within the
.. code-block:: c++
gccjit::block b_initial = func.new_block ("initial");
gccjit::block b_loop_cond = func.new_block ("loop_cond");
gccjit::block b_loop_body = func.new_block ("loop_body");
gccjit::block b_after_loop = func.new_block ("after_loop");
We now populate each block with statements.
The entry block `b_initial` consists of initializations followed by a jump
to the conditional. We assign `0` to `i` and to `sum`, using
:func:`gccjit::block::add_assignment` to add
an assignment statement, and using :func:`gccjit::context::zero` to get
the constant value `0` for the relevant type for the right-hand side of
the assignment:
.. code-block:: c++
/* sum = 0; */
b_initial.add_assignment (sum, (the_type));
/* i = 0; */
b_initial.add_assignment (i, (the_type));
We can then terminate the entry block by jumping to the conditional:
.. code-block:: c++
b_initial.end_with_jump (b_loop_cond);
The conditional block is equivalent to the line `while (i < n)` from our
C example. It contains a single statement: a conditional, which jumps to
one of two destination blocks depending on a boolean
:type:`gccjit::rvalue`, in this case the comparison of `i` and `n`.
We could build the comparison using :func:`gccjit::context::new_comparison`:
.. code-block:: c++
gccjit::rvalue guard =
ctxt.new_comparison (GCC_JIT_COMPARISON_GE,
i, n);
and can then use this to add `b_loop_cond`'s sole statement, via
.. code-block:: c++
b_loop_cond.end_with_conditional (guard,
b_after_loop, // on_true
b_loop_body); // on_false
However :type:`gccjit::rvalue` has overloaded operators for this, so we
express the conditional as
.. code-block:: c++
gccjit::rvalue guard = (i >= n);
and hence we can write the block more concisely as:
.. code-block:: c++
b_loop_cond.end_with_conditional (
i >= n,
b_after_loop, // on_true
b_loop_body); // on_false
Next, we populate the body of the loop.
The C statement `sum += i * i;` is an assignment operation, where an
lvalue is modified "in-place". We use
:func:`gccjit::block::add_assignment_op` to handle these operations:
.. code-block:: c++
/* sum += i * i */
b_loop_body.add_assignment_op (sum,
i * i);
The `i++` can be thought of as `i += 1`, and can thus be handled in
a similar way. We use :c:func:`gcc_jit_context_one` to get the constant
value `1` (for the relevant type) for the right-hand side
of the assignment.
.. code-block:: c++
/* i++ */
b_loop_body.add_assignment_op (i,
GCC_JIT_BINARY_OP_PLUS, (the_type));
.. note::
For numeric constants other than 0 or 1, we could use
:func:`gccjit::context::new_rvalue`, which has overloads
for both ``int`` and ``double``.
The loop body completes by jumping back to the conditional:
.. code-block:: c++
b_loop_body.end_with_jump (b_loop_cond);
Finally, we populate the `b_after_loop` block, reached when the loop
conditional is false. We want to generate the equivalent of:
.. code-block:: c++
return sum;
so the block is just one statement:
.. code-block:: c++
/* return sum */
b_after_loop.end_with_return (sum);
.. note::
You can intermingle block creation with statement creation,
but given that the terminator statements generally include references
to other blocks, I find it's clearer to create all the blocks,
*then* all the statements.
We've finished populating the function. As before, we can now compile it
to machine code:
.. code-block:: c++
gcc_jit_result *result;
result = ctxt.compile ();
ctxt.release ();
if (!result)
fprintf (stderr, "NULL result");
return 1;
typedef int (*loop_test_fn_type) (int);
loop_test_fn_type loop_test =
(loop_test_fn_type)gcc_jit_result_get_code (result, "loop_test");
if (!loop_test)
fprintf (stderr, "NULL loop_test");
gcc_jit_result_release (result);
return 1;
printf ("result: %d", loop_test (10));
.. code-block:: bash
result: 285
Visualizing the control flow graph
You can see the control flow graph of a function using
.. code-block:: c++
func.dump_to_dot ("/tmp/");
giving a .dot file in GraphViz format.
You can convert this to an image using `dot`:
.. code-block:: bash
$ dot -Tpng /tmp/ -o /tmp/sum-of-squares.png
or use a viewer (my preferred one is; see; on Fedora you can
install it with `yum install python-xdot`):
.. figure:: ../../intro/sum-of-squares.png
:alt: image of a control flow graph
Full example
.. literalinclude:: ../../examples/
:lines: 1-
:language: c++
Building and running it:
.. code-block:: console
$ gcc \ \
-o tut03-sum-of-squares \
# Run the built program:
$ ./tut03-sum-of-squares
loop_test returned: 285