vsnprintf


C/C++: Perform safe sprintf 1

The following function accepts the address of a char * buffer, the formatting string for printf along with all the parameters needed to fill the formatting string and updates the location of the buffer to point at the final formatted string.

safe_sprintf.c (144 downloads)

This code does not require the user to perform malloc before filling in the buffer. Using vsnprintf (variation of snprintf for variable arguments) it will automatically find the correct size that the buffer should have, allocate the space, switch the pointer of the buffer and prepare the final string using the formatting arguments.

In our header file, we used the following pre-processor directives around our declarations

#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C" {
#endif
#ifdef __cplusplus
}
#endif

to allow c++ code to call our function.

safe_sprintf.c (144 downloads)

Source file (string_helpers.c)

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdarg.h>
#include "string_helpers.h"

int safe_sprintf(char ** buffer, const char *format, ...) {

  va_list arguments;
  //The va_start(va_list arguments, last) macro initializes and must be called first.
  //The argument last is the name of the last argument before the variable argument list, that is, the last argument of which the calling function knows the type.
  va_start (arguments, format);

  //Upon successful return, vsnprintf returns the number of characters printed (excluding the null byte used to end output to strings).
  //For that reason we add one at the end of the length.
  const int length = vsnprintf(NULL, 0, format, arguments) + 1;

  //Each invocation of va_start() must be matched by a corresponding invocation of va_end() in the same function.
  // After the call va_end(arguments) the variable arguments is undefined.
  // Multiple traversals of the list, each bracketed by va_start() and va_end() are possible. va_end() may be a macro or a function.
  va_end (arguments);

  if (*buffer) {
    free(*buffer);
  }
  if (!(*buffer = malloc(length * sizeof(char)))) {
    return EXIT_FAILURE;
  }

  va_start(arguments, format);
  vsnprintf(*buffer, (size_t) length, format, arguments);
  va_end (arguments);

  return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

Header file (string_helpers.h)

#ifndef GM_S_LITTLE_HELPERS_STRING_HELPERS_H
#define GM_S_LITTLE_HELPERS_STRING_HELPERS_H

#ifdef __cplusplus
extern "C" {
#endif

int safe_sprintf(char ** buffer, const char *format, ...);

#ifdef __cplusplus
}
#endif

#endif //GM_S_LITTLE_HELPERS_STRING_HELPERS_H

Usage example (main.cpp)

#include <iostream>
#include "string_helpers.h"

int main() {

  char * buffer;
  safe_sprintf(&buffer, "Hello, World!\nFrom Line %d in function %s of the file %s.", __LINE__, __func__, __FILE__);
  printf("%s", buffer);
  return 0;
}

safe_sprintf.c (144 downloads)
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