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Unscrambling C Declarations

March 28th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Note: Based on some feedback I should clarify that this does not cover C99 syntax

Even though the C programming language has been around since the late 1960’s, many programmers still have trouble understanding how C declarations are formed. This is not unsurprising due to the complexity that can arise when mixing pointer, array and function-pointer declarations.

In this posting we shall look at some complex declarations to try and understand them by considering how they are formed. The intent is not so you can go off and write wonderfully complex declarations, but more hopefully you may actually be able to understand someone else’s code. Finally we shall look at how most complex declarations can be easily simplified.

Here I’m going to focus on object declarations/definitions rather than functions. Also, in this posting I’m not going to examine structure, union or enumeration specifies. They’ll keep for another day.

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