Alternative Generic String Processing Functions in Visual Studio .NET

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Alternative Generic String Processing Functions
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String comparisons can use lstrcmp and lstrcmpi rather than the generic _tcscmp and _tcscmpi to account for the specific language and region, or locale, at run time and also to perform word rather than [2] string comparisons String comparisons simply compare the numerical values of the characters, whereas word comparisons consider locale-specific word order The two methods can give opposite results for string pairs such as coop/co-op and were/we're
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Historically, the l prefix was used to indicate a long pointer to the character string parameters
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There is also a group of Windows functions for dealing with Unicode characters and strings These
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functions handle local characteristics transparently Typical functions are CharUpper, which can operate on strings as well as individual characters, and IsCharAlphaNumeric Other string functions include CompareString (which is locale-specific) and MultiByteToWideChar Multibyte characters in Windows 31 and 9x extend the 8-bit character set to allow double bytes to represent character sets for languages of the Far East The generic C library functions (_tprintf and the like) and the Windows functions (CharUpper and the like) will both appear in upcoming examples to demonstrate their use Examples in later chapters will rely mostly on the generic C library
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The Generic Main Function
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The C main function, with its argument list (argv []), should be replaced by the macro _tmain The macro expands to either main or wmain depending on the _UNICODE definition _tmain is defined in <tcharh>, which must be included after <windowsh> A typical main program heading, then, would look like this: #include <windowsh> #include <tcharh> int _tmain (int argc, LPTSTR argv []) { }
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The Microsoft C _tmain function also supports a third parameter for environment strings This nonstandard extension is also common in UNIX
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A function such as CreateFile is defined through a preprocessor macro as CreateFileA when UNICODE is not defined and as CreateFileW when UNICODE is defined The definitions also describe the string parameters as 8-bit or wide character strings Consequently, compilers will report a source code error, such as an illegal parameter to CreateFile, as an error in the use of CreateFileA or CreateFileW
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A programmer who is starting a Windows project, either to develop new code or to port existing code, can select from four strategies, based on project requirements 1 8-bit only Ignore Unicode and continue to use the char (or CHAR) data type and the Standard C library for functions such as printf, atoi, and strcmp 2 8-bit but Unicode enabled Follow the earlier guidelines for a generic application, but do not define the two Unicode preprocessor variables The example programs generally use this strategy 3 Unicode only Follow the generic guidelines, but define the two preprocessor variables Alternatively, use wide characters and the wide character functions exclusively The resulting programs will not run properly under Windows 9x 4 Unicode and 8-bit The program includes both Unicode and ASCII code and decides at run time which code to execute, based on a run-time switch or other factors As mentioned previously, writing generic code, while requiring extra effort and creating awkward-looking code, allows the programmer to maintain maximum flexibility The locale can be set at run time Program 2-2 shows how the language for error messages is specified
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The POSIX XPG4 internationalization standard, provided by many UNIX vendors, is considerably different from Unicode Among other things, characters can be represented by 4 bytes, 2 bytes, or 1 byte, depending on the context, locale, and so on Microsoft C implements the Standard C library functions, and there are generic versions Thus, there is a _tsetlocale function in <wcharh> Windows NT uses Unicode characters, and Windows 9x uses the same multibyte characters (a mix of 8- and 16-bit characters) used by Windows 31
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Standard Devices and Console I/O
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Like UNIX, Windows has three standard devices for input, output, and error reporting UNIX uses wellknown values for the file descriptors (0, 1, and 2), but Windows requires handles and provides a function to obtain them for the standard devices HANDLE GetStdHandle (DWORD nStdHandle)
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