Main Content

C++ Limitation Workaround Examples

If your shared library contains data types or language features not supported by the MATLAB® interface to C++ libraries, you might be able to include this functionality by creating a wrapper header file. This topic provides examples for some limitations. For more information, see Limitations to C/C++ Support.

To run the workaround examples on Windows®:

  • Copy the C++ header file statements into .hpp files.

  • Copy the source code into .cpp files and build, using instructions in Build Example Shared Library Files on Windows.

  • Execute the MATLAB code to build the interface.

  • If required, edit the library definition file.

  • Execute the MATLAB code to test the functionality.

Class Objects in std Namespace

A MATLAB interface to a C++ library does not include functions that use objects defined in the std namespace. For example, the functions in this Student.hpp header file pass std::stack objects. If you build the MATLAB interface, functions readStudents and getStudents are not included.

#ifndef STUDENT_HEADER
#define STUDENT_HEADER

#include <stack>

#ifdef _WIN32
#ifdef EXPORT
#define DLL_EXPORT __declspec(dllexport)
#else
#define DLL_EXPORT __declspec(dllimport)
#endif
#else
#define DLL_EXPORT __attribute__((visibility ("default")))
#endif

class DLL_EXPORT Student {
    int rollNumber;
public:
    Student();
    Student(int rollNo);
    int getRollNumber();
};

DLL_EXPORT void readStudents(const std::stack<Student>& students);

DLL_EXPORT std::stack<Student> getStudents(int size);

#endif
  1. To run this example on Windows, create the Student.lib and Student.dll files from this Student.cpp source file, using Build Example Shared Library Files on Windows.

    #define EXPORT
    
    #include "Student.hpp"
    
    
    Student::Student() : rollNumber(0) {}
    
    Student::Student(int rollNo) : rollNumber(rollNo) {}
    
    int Student::getRollNumber() {
        return rollNumber;
    }
    
    DLL_EXPORT void readStudents(const std::stack<Student>& students) {
    }
    
    DLL_EXPORT std::stack<Student> getStudents(int size) {
        std::stack<Student> students;
        for (int i = 0; i < size; i++) {
            students.push(Student(i+1));
        }
        return students;
    }
  2. Create the Student.hpp header file and put it with the Student.dll shared library file in a folder identified as rtpath.

  3. Create a class CStack to represent an std::stack object. Put this definition in a header file CStack.hpp.

    //Wrapper header to access/pass std::stack objects from MATLAB
    #ifndef stack_header
    #define stack_header
    
    #include <stack>
    #include <stdexcept>
    
    template<typename T>
    class CStack {
        std::stack<T> data;
    public:
        CStack() {}
        
        // This parameterized constructor is required for the wrapper functions
        // and is not included in the MATLAB interface
        CStack(const std::stack<T>& d):data(d) {} 
    
        // Function to access the topmost element in stack
        T* get() {
            if (data.empty())
                throw std::runtime_error("Retrieving element from Empty Stack");
            return &data.top();
        }
        
        // Function to remove elements from stack
        void remove() { 
            if (data.empty())
                throw std::runtime_error("Stack is empty");
            data.pop();
        }
        
        // Function to add elements to stack
        void add(const T* element) { 
            data.push(*element);
        }
        
        // This method is required for the wrapper functions, and
        // is not included in the MATLAB interface
        const std::stack<T>& getData() const{ 
            return data;
        }
    };
    #endif
  4. Define a function readStudentsWrapper to call the readStudents function using the CStack class and getStudentsWrapper to call the getStudents function. Include these functions in a wrapper header file named StudentWrapper.hpp.

    //Header to call readStudents and getStudents functions from MATLAB
    #include "Student.hpp"
    #include "CStack.hpp"
    
    //wrapper function to access the function that accepts std::stack input
    void readStudentsWrapper(const CStack<Student>& students) { 
        readStudents(students.getData());
    }
    
    //wrapper function to access the function that returns the std::stack
    CStack<Student> getStudentsWrapper(int size) { 
        auto students = getStudents(size);
        CStack<Student> cstackStudents(students);
        return cstackStudents;
    }
  5. Generate a library definition in a package named stack.

    clibgen.generateLibraryDefinition(["Student.hpp","StudentWrapper.hpp"],"PackageName","stack",...
        "Libraries","Student.lib","TreatObjectPointerAsScalar",true,"Verbose",true);
    Warning: File 'manifest.json' not found. 
    Warning: Some C++ language constructs in the header file are not supported and not imported.
    
    Did not add 'readStudents' at Student.hpp:24.
      Type 'stack' is from std namespace or system header and is not supported.
    
    Did not add 'getStudents' at Student.hpp:26.
      Type 'stack' is from std namespace or system header and is not supported.
    
    Did not add constructor to class 'CStack<Student>' at CStack.hpp:16.
      Type 'stack' is from std namespace or system header and is not supported.
    
    Did not add member 'getData' to class 'CStack<Student>' at CStack.hpp:39.
      Type 'stack' is from std namespace or system header and is not supported.
     
    Using MinGW64 Compiler (C++) compiler.
    Generated definition file definestack.mlx and data file 'stackData.xml' 
    contain definitions for 13 constructs supported by MATLAB.
    Build using build(definestack).

    Ignore the Did not add messages. In MATLAB, you call functions readStudentsWrapper and getStudentsWrapper instead of readStudents and getStudents. The constructor to class CStack and member getData are used internally and are not callable from the interface.

  6. Build the interface.

    build(definestack)
    addpath('stack')
  7. Add the shared library path to the system (run-time) path. If the file is located on rtPath, then type:

    syspath = getenv('PATH');
    rtPath = 'myrtpathname';
    setenv('PATH',[rtPath ';' syspath]);
    
  8. Call readStudentsWrapper.

    studentsStack = clib.stack.CStack_Student_;
    studentsStack.add(clib.stack.Student(1))
    studentsStack.add(clib.stack.Student(2))
    studentsStack.add(clib.stack.Student(3))
    clib.stack.readStudentsWrapper(studentsStack)
  9. Call getStudentsWrapper.

    clear studentsStack;
    studentsStack = clib.stack.getStudentsWrapper(3);
    student = studentsStack.get; % returns topmost element from studentStack
    studentsStack.remove % removes topmost element of stack

Class Templates With Incomplete or Missing Instantiations

A MATLAB interface to a C++ library does not support uninstantiated template classes. For example, the class Pairs in this Templates.hpp header file is not instantiated.

// Header for Template class
#ifndef templates_Header
#define templates_Header

template <class T>
class Pairs { 
public:
    T val1;
    T val2;
    Pairs() : val1(0), val2(0) {}
    Pairs(T first, T second) : val1(first), val2(second) {}
    T getVal1() {
        return val1;
    }
    T getVal2() {
        return val2;
    }
};
#endif
  1. To include the Pairs class, create this wrapper header file TemplatesWrapper.hpp. Assume that Pairs supports int and double data types.

    //Wrapper to instantiate template class Pairs
    #include "Templates.hpp"
    
    /* Data types that will be used for Pairs class. */
    template class Pairs<int>;
    template class Pairs<double>;
  2. Generate the library definition.

    clibgen.generateLibraryDefinition(["TemplatesWrapper.hpp","Templates.hpp"],"PackageName","Templates","Verbose",true)
    Generated definition file defineTemplates.mlx and data file 'TemplatesData.xml' 
    contain definitions for 16 constructs supported by MATLAB.
    Build using build(defineTemplates).
  3. Build the interface.

    build(defineTemplates)
    addpath('Templates')
  4. Create Pairs objects and call the getVal1 and getVal2 functions.

    Pairs1 = clib.Templates.Pairs_int_(2,3);
    Val1 = Pairs1.getVal1;
    Pairs2 = clib.Templates.Pairs_double_(4.5,10.9);
    Val2 = Pairs2.getVal2;
    Pairs3 = clib.Templates.Pairs_int_(4.3,10.9);
    Val2 = Pairs3.getVal2;

Preprocessor Directives

A MATLAB interface to a C++ library does not support preprocessor directives (macros). For example, this Area.hpp header file defines the macro PI. If you build a MATLAB interface, PI is not included.

//Header with Macro preprocessor directive
#ifndef area_header
#define area_header

#ifdef _WIN32
#ifdef EXPORT
#define DLL_EXPORT __declspec(dllexport)
#else
#define DLL_EXPORT __declspec(dllimport)
#endif
#else
#define DLL_EXPORT __attribute__((visibility ("default")))
#endif

#define PI 3.1415   

DLL_EXPORT double getArea(int radius, double piVal);

#endif
  1. To run this example on Windows, create the Area.lib and Area.dll files from this Area.cpp source file, using Build Example Shared Library Files on Windows.

    #define EXPORT
    
    #include "Area.hpp"
    
    DLL_EXPORT double getArea(int radius, double piVal) {
        return piVal*radius*radius;
    }
  2. Create the Area.hpp header file and put it with the Area.dll shared library file in a folder identified as rtpath.

  3. To include PI, create this wrapper header file WrapperPI.hpp which defines function getPI to get the value of the preprocessor directive.

    //Wrapper to access the preprocessor directive value
    #include "Area.hpp"
    
    double getPI(){ //Wrapper function retrieves the value of PI
        return PI;
    }
  4. Generate the library definition.

    clibgen.generateLibraryDefinition(["Area.hpp","WrapperPI.hpp"],"PackageName","Area",...
        "Libraries","Area.lib","TreatObjectPointerAsScalar",true,"Verbose",true)
  5. Build the interface.

    build(defineArea)
    addpath('Area')
  6. Add the shared library path to the system (run-time) path. If the file is located on rtPath, then type:

    syspath = getenv('PATH');
    rtPath = 'myrtpathname';
    setenv('PATH',[rtPath ';' syspath]);
    
  7. Call getArea.

    pi = clib.Area.getPI;
    area = clib.Area.getArea(2,pi)
    area =
    
       12.5660

String Arrays

A MATLAB interface to a C++ library does not include functions with arguments std::string for element type of vector. For example, the readStringVector and getStringVector functions in this StringVector.hpp header file are not included when you build a MATLAB interface.

//Header file which accepts and return the vector of std::string
#ifndef stringVec_header
#define stringVec_header
#include <vector>
#include <string>

#ifdef _WIN32
#ifdef EXPORT
#define DLL_EXPORT __declspec(dllexport)
#else
#define DLL_EXPORT __declspec(dllimport)
#endif
#else
#define DLL_EXPORT __attribute__((visibility ("default")))
#endif

DLL_EXPORT void readStringVector(const std::vector<std::string>& stringVector); //readStringVector function gets dropped as vector of std::string input is not supported in MATLAB C++ interface.

DLL_EXPORT std::vector<std::string> getStringVector(int size); //getStringVector function gets dropped as return type of vector of std::string is not supported for MATLAB C++ Interface

#endif
  1. To run this example on Windows, create the StringVector.lib and StringVector.dll files from this StringVector.cpp source file, using Build Example Shared Library Files on Windows.

    #define EXPORT
    
    #include "StringVector.hpp"
    
    DLL_EXPORT void readStringVector(const std::vector<std::string>& stringVector) {
    }
    
    DLL_EXPORT std::vector<std::string> getStringVector(int size) {
        std::vector<std::string> stringVector;
        for (int i = 0; i < size; i++) {
           stringVector.push_back(("string"+ std::to_string(i+1)));
        }
        return stringVector;
    }
  2. Create the StringVector.hpp header file and put it with the StringVector.dll shared library file in a folder identified as rtpath.

  3. To support std::vector of type std::string, create a CVector class, which defines these methods to pass the std::vector between MATLAB and the library.

    • Parameterized constructor:

      CVector(const std::vector<T>& d): data(d)
    • Move constructor:

      CVector(std::vector<T>&& d) : data(std::move(d))
    • Method to access the element at an index:

      T get(int index)
    • Method to add elements to vectors:

      void add(const T& element)
    • Method to get data from vectors:

      const std::vector<T>& getData() const

    CVector.hpp defines this class.

    //Wrapper header to access/pass std::vector from MATLAB
    #ifndef cvector_header
    #define cvector_header
    
    #include <vector>
    
    template<typename T>
    class CVector {
        std::vector<T> data;
    public:
        CVector() {}
        CVector(const std::vector<T>& d): data(d) {}
        CVector(std::vector<T>&& d) : data(std::move(d)) {}
        T get(int index) { 
            return data.at(index-1);
        }
        void add(const T& element) { 
            data.push_back(element);
        }
        const std::vector<T>& getData() const {
            return data;
        }
    };
    
    #endif
  4. To include readStringVector and getStringVector, create a WrapperStringVector.hpp header file, which defines methods to pass CVector arguments to the C++ library methods.

    // Header that allows the readStringVector and getStringVector functions 
    // to be accessed from MATLAB interface
    #include "StringVector.hpp"
    #include "CVector.hpp"
    #include <string>
    
    void wrapperReadStringVector(const CVector<std::string>& stringVec) { 
        readStringVector(stringVec.getData());
    }
    
    CVector<std::string> wrapperGetStringVector(int size) { 
        auto strVec = getStringVector(size);
        CVector<std::string> cvecString(strVec);
        return cvecString;
    }
  5. Generate the library definition.

    clibgen.generateLibraryDefinition(["StringVector.hpp","WrapperStringVector.hpp"],"PackageName","StringVector",...
        "Libraries","StringVector.lib","TreatObjectPointerAsScalar",true,"Verbose",true)
  6. Build the interface.

    build(defineWrapperStringVector)
    addpath('WrapperStringVector')
  7. Add the shared library path to the system (run-time) path. If the file is located on rtPath, then type:

    syspath = getenv('PATH');
    rtPath = 'myrtpathname';
    setenv('PATH',[rtPath ';' syspath]);
    
  8. Call the functions.

    % Instantiate the CVector class
    stringVectorObj = clib.StringVector.CVector_std____cxx11__basic_string_char_Std__char_traits_c;
    
    % Add elements to vector
    stringVectorObj.add("Jack");
    stringVectorObj.add("John");
    stringVectorObj.add("Joe");
    
    % Call function with std::string vector input with CVector
    clib.StringVector.wrapperReadStringVector(stringVectorObj);
    clear stringVectorObj;

Build Example Shared Library Files on Windows

At the Windows command prompt, add the path to the MinGW-w64 compiler to the system path. For example, if the compiler is at mingwpath, then type:

mingwpath = 'mingwpathname';
set PATH=mingwpath;%PATH%

Navigate to the location of C++ source files.

Run these commands to generate shared library from the source file source.cpp:

mingwpath\g++ -c source.cpp -o source.obj -std=c++11
mingwpath\g++ -shared -o source.dll source.obj -Wl,--out-implib,source.lib

Related Topics