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converting to and from TCHAR

ranadhir asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-14
We have a function which has the following signature
SomeFunction(TCHAR* szPassword,TCHAR* szEncryptPwd)
Now we need to pass in a std::string as the first parameter,and convert the second parameter back into a std::string on return.
How is the conversion from std::string to TCHAR* and back to std::string done?
Watch Question

This way

TCHAR* szPassword = "test";
std::string password = szPassword;
std::string encryptPwd = szEncryptPwd;

SomeFunction(std::string& password,std::string& encryptPwd)

TCHAR* szPassword = "test";
std::wstring password = szPassword;
std::wstring encryptPwd = szEncryptPwd;

SomeFunction(std::wstring& password,std::wstring& encryptPwd)
Which one to select depends on your project settings.
If your project is UNICODE, then TCHAR* is wchar_t*, else TCHAR*is char*.
std::wstring is for unicode string std::string is for ascii string.

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i think you did not get the question.We cannot change the function interface.So if i pass in std::string it says
cannot convert parameter 1 from 'std::string' to 'TCHAR *'
How do i pass in the std::string?
The project build is not unicode.
Got you
std::string password = szPassword;
std::string encryptPwd = szEncryptPwd;

Use password.c_str()

hi ranadhir,

std::string param1 = "blablabla";
std::string param2 = "blablabla";

// use c_str() member of std::string to convert to char*, which is TCHAR*
// in a non-unicode project, as rajeev said already

SomeFunction( param1.c_str(), param2.c_str() );

// rajeev showed already, how to convert back to std::string

std::string SomeFunction(TCHAR* szPassword,TCHAR* szEncryptPwd)
    // return std::string
    return std::string( szEncryptPwd );

hope it helps,

sorry rajeev, didn't see your last post, when writing mine ... ;-)
AxterSenior Software Engineer

Hi ranadhir,
> Now we need to pass in a std::string as the first parameter,and convert
> the second parameter back into a std::string on return.

If you want to do this so it works when TCHAR is of UNICODE type and when TCHAR is of ANSI type, then you really want to use a template wrapper function, or an overloaded function.

//Overloaded functions
void ConvertToString(const char* Src, std::string &target)
    target = Src;

void ConvertToString(const wchar_t* Src, std::string &target)
  //Use conversion routine here

Example usage:

TCHAR* src = _T("Hello World");
std::string Target;

ConvertToString(src, Target);

David Maisonave (Axter)
AxterSenior Software Engineer

Here's implementation for the conversion:

void ConvertToString(const wchar_t* Src, std::string &target)
    target.resize(wcslen(Src)+1, 0);
    wcstombs(target.begin(), Src, Src + wcslen(Src));


Well i had tried that(using c_str member) earlier and i get the error cannot convert const char* to TCHAR*.
Is a simple cast safe?
AxterSenior Software Engineer

>>Is a simple cast safe?

IMHO, cast is never safe, and there are many well known C++ authors that will tell you that.

If you use the ConverToString overloaded functions which I posted, you will not need to cast.

You should not cast with a TCHAR, because a TCHAR can be an ANSI type or UNICODE.


i need not cast tot tchar- i am just casting to char* (castign away constness)- and since we would not need to build unicode at any time(definitive) ,this should be fine,right?
>>>> The project build is not unicode.

If you don't intend to go to UNICODE you should change TCHAR to char, LPCTSTR to LPCSTR, LPTSTR to LPSTR and omit all _T and TEXT macros. That "T" stuff is made to easily (??) switch between UNICODE and non-UNICODE but is nonsense if used in an environment that doesn't apply it consequently for all sources...

>>>> How do i pass in the std::string?

if the required argument is a TCHAR* you shouldn't pass a std::string. You would need to make a writeable copy of the internal char array std::string supplies via cstr():

TCHAR* string2TCHARPtr(const std::string& s, int requiredSize)
     const char* psz = s.c_str();
     if (requiredSize <= s.length())
         requiredSize = s.length()+1;
     TCHAR* ptsz = new TCHAR[requiredSize ];
     if (sizeof(TCHAR) == 1)
           strcpy(ptsz, psz);
           mbstowcs(ptsz, psz, requiredSize );
     return ptsz;

However, you should check whether you really need a writeable TCHAR* buffer. If not change the argument type to const TCHAR*. If additionally you know for sure that you never will use it with UNICODE strings you simply can pass s.c_str() when a const TCHAR* is required.

>>>> You should not cast with a TCHAR,

... because std::string.c_str() is a pointer to the internal string buffer which might get corrupted if the callee writes to the casted buffer.

>>>> and convert the second parameter back into a std::string on return

std::string TCHARPtr2string(const TCHAR* ptsz)
     if (sizeof(TCHAR)==1)
           return ptsz;
     int len = wcslen(ptsz);
     char* psz = new char[2*len + 1];
     wcstombs(psz, ptsz, 2*len + 1);
     std::string s = psz;
     delete [] psz;
     return s;

Regards, Alex

Deepu AbrahamR & D Engineering Manager


Maccros like A2T() & T2A() can also do the trick.

Best Regards,
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