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doubt in the header file

What is the use of defining UTILS_DEF? And why is its name used in front of each class?

#if !defined(UTILS_DEF)
#   ifdef  WIN32
#       ifndef IPA_UTILS_EXPORTS
#           define UTILS_DEF __declspec(dllimport)
#       else
#           define UTILS_DEF __declspec(dllexport)
#       endif
#   else
#       define UTILS_DEF
#   endif
#endif  // !defined(UTILS_DEF)

#include "AException.h"

namespace IPA_MibDefinition
{    
  class UTILS_DEF SystemRelease
    {
    public:
 
        SystemRelease( const std::string & );
 
        bool operator< ( const SystemRelease & );
        bool operator==( const SystemRelease & );
        bool operator> ( const SystemRelease & );
 
    private:
 
        std::string m_value;
    };
 }
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pvinodp
Asked:
pvinodp
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2 Solutions
 
Subrat (C++ windows/Linux)Software EngineerCommented:
In place of that You can use any meaningful name. Here it is a header  guard.

If u are including same header more than once in a .cpp/.c file, you won't face any problem due to this guard. This willn't allow to include a header file more than once.

For more info can follow:
 http://www.codeproject.com/KB/cpp/cpp_header_guard.aspx

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Subrat (C++ windows/Linux)Software EngineerCommented:
In place of that You can use any meaningful name. Here it is a header guard.

If u are including same header more than once in a .cpp/.c  file, you won't face any problem due to this guard. This willn't allow to include a header file more than once in a .cpp file.

For more info can follow:
 http://www.codeproject.com/KB/cpp/cpp_header_guard.aspx
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evilrixSenior Software Engineer (Avast)Commented:
This is nothing to do with header guards.

If UTILS_DEF is not defined then the compiler (if building on a WIN32 platform) will  try to either export or import various functions to support DLL semantics. The definition of this prevents the compiler applying DLL semantics so that the library can be built as  a static library instead.

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evilrixSenior Software Engineer (Avast)Commented:
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pgnatyukCommented:
UTILS_DEF is a macro that is __declspec(dllexport) if you compile this file as part of a library project (DLL) where another macro IPA_UTILS_EXPORTS defined.
It is  __declspec(dllimport) if this file is included into  an executable that uses this library.

MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/3y1sfaz2.aspx
__declspec(dllexport) allows to export functions from dll
__declspec(dllimport) allows to import
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pvinodpAuthor Commented:
Assuming that Win32 is defined:
so according to the condition the class which are prefixed by the key word UTILS_DEF can be a dll which is exported or imported

Am i correct?

So what is the purpose of  UTILS_DEF when Win32 is not defined?
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pgnatyukCommented:
Empty. It allows to avoid the compilation error about the undefined symbol.
 
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pvinodpAuthor Commented:
pgnatyuk:
I dint understand ur explanation.. could u be more detail?
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evilrixSenior Software Engineer (Avast)Commented:
If UTILS_DEF  is left undefined the compiler will generate a compile time error because it will be used in declarations.

Look at...

class UTILS_DEF SystemRelease {}

if UTILS_DEF was left undefined this would be seen as syntactically erroneous by the compiler. If defined as nothing the precompiler converts this to

class SystemRelease {}

and this is not erroneous.

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pgnatyukCommented:
Detail about what?
That's what it is:
#define UTILS_DEF

You use #define when you need to give a name for numeric or text constant. An example:
#define PI 3.1415
So in the code you can write:
float S = PI * r * r;
Compiler will replace PI with 3.1415

In our case UTILS_DEF is empty.

BTW, who made this picture from the definitions? :) Looks funny. Kind of a new art. :)
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pvinodpAuthor Commented:
got it..
Thanks
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shajithchandranCommented:
Looking at precompiled output can help you simplify this is I guess. Usually in command line , -E is the option to get the precompiled output. The precompiled out put will have all the macros processed, hence you can see the final output of how the file will look.
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shajithchandranCommented:
opps! in my above post, precompiled output should be read as preprocessed output.
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pvinodpAuthor Commented:
The "include here is a way to determine if the dll is import or export.
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