C Language Preprocessor and Macros FOREACH implementation


Example

We can also use macros for making code easier to read and write. For example we can implement macros for implementing the foreach construct in C for some data structures like singly- and doubly-linked lists, queues, etc.

Here is a small example.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

struct LinkedListNode
{
    int data;
    struct LinkedListNode *next;
};

#define FOREACH_LIST(node, list) \
     for (node=list; node; node=node->next)

/* Usage */
int main(void)
{
    struct LinkedListNode *list, **plist = &list, *node;
    int i;

    for (i=0; i<10; i++)
    {
         *plist = malloc(sizeof(struct LinkedListNode));
         (*plist)->data = i;
         (*plist)->next = NULL;
         plist          = &(*plist)->next;
    }

    /* printing the elements here */
    FOREACH_LIST(node, list)
    {
        printf("%d\n", node->data);
    }
}

You can make a standard interface for such data-structures and write a generic implementation of FOREACH as:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

typedef struct CollectionItem_
{
    int data;
    struct CollectionItem_ *next;
} CollectionItem;

typedef struct Collection_
{
    /* interface functions */
    void* (*first)(void *coll);
    void* (*last) (void *coll);
    void* (*next) (void *coll, CollectionItem *currItem);

    CollectionItem *collectionHead;
    /* Other fields */
} Collection;

/* must implement */
void *first(void *coll)
{
    return ((Collection*)coll)->collectionHead;
}

/* must implement */
void *last(void *coll)
{
    return NULL;
}

/* must implement */
void *next(void *coll, CollectionItem *curr)
{
    return curr->next;
}

CollectionItem *new_CollectionItem(int data)
{
    CollectionItem *item = malloc(sizeof(CollectionItem));
    item->data = data;
    item->next = NULL;
    return item;
}

void Add_Collection(Collection *coll, int data)
{
    CollectionItem **item = &coll->collectionHead;
    while(*item)
        item = &(*item)->next;
    (*item) = new_CollectionItem(data);
}

Collection *new_Collection()
{
    Collection *nc = malloc(sizeof(Collection));
    nc->first = first;
    nc->last  = last;
    nc->next  = next;
    return nc;
}

/* generic implementation */
#define FOREACH(node, collection)                      \
    for (node  = (collection)->first(collection);      \
         node != (collection)->last(collection);       \
         node  = (collection)->next(collection, node))

int main(void)
{
    Collection *coll = new_Collection();
    CollectionItem *node;
    int i;

    for(i=0; i<10; i++)
    {
         Add_Collection(coll, i);
    }

    /* printing the elements here */
    FOREACH(node, coll)
    {
        printf("%d\n", node->data);
    }
}

To use this generic implementation just implement these functions for your data structure.

1.  void* (*first)(void *coll);
2.  void* (*last) (void *coll);
3.  void* (*next) (void *coll, CollectionItem *currItem);