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Number List - Printing Numbers From a std::vector

Using the List Operator

The C++ Standard library lacks an important feature, namely the support for any formatted output of containers. Sure, it's fairly easy to write a custom routine to output a specific container, but doing so over and over again is tedious at best. In this section we will demonstrate some more of the capabilities of Spirit.Karma for generating output from arbitrary STL containers. We will build on the example presented in an earlier section (see Warming Up).

The full source code of the example shown in this section can be found here: num_list2.cpp.

This time we take advantage of Karma's List (%) operator. The semantics of the list operator are fully equivalent to the semantics of the sequence we used before. The generator expression

double_ << *(',' << double_)

is semantically equivalent to the generator expression

double_ % ','

simplifying the overall code. The list operator's attribute is compatible with any STL container as well. For a change we use a std::vector<double> instead of the std::list<double> we used before. Additionally, the routine generate_numbers takes the container as a template parameter, so it will now work with any STL container holding double numbers.

template <typename OutputIterator, typename Container>
bool generate_numbers(OutputIterator& sink, Container const& v)
{
    using boost::spirit::karma::double_;
    using boost::spirit::karma::generate_delimited;
    using boost::spirit::ascii::space;

    bool r = generate_delimited(
        sink,                           // destination: output iterator
        double_ % ',',                  // the generator
        space,                          // the delimiter-generator
        v                               // the data to output 
    );
    return r;
}

[Note] Note

Despite the container being a template parameter, the Spirit.Karma formatting expression (double_ % ',') does not depend on the actual type of the passed container. The only precondition to be met here is that the elements stored in the container have to be convertible to double.

Generate Output from Arbitrary Data

The output routine developed above is still not generically usable for all types of STL containers and for arbitrary elements stored in them. In order to be usable the items stored in the container still need to be convertible to a double. Fortunately Spirit.Karma is capable to output arbitrary data types while using the same format description expression. It implements the stream generators which are able to consume any attribute type as long as a matching standard streaming operator is defined. I.e. for any attribute type Attrib a function:

std::ostream& operator<< (std::ostream&, Attrib const&);

needs to be available. The stream generator will use the standard streaming operator to generate the output.

The following example modifies the code shown above to utilize the stream operator, which makes it compatible with almost any data type. We implement a custom data type complex to demonstrate this. The example shows how it is possible to integrate this (or any other) custom data type into the Spirit.Karma generator framework.

This is the custom data structure together with the required standard streaming operator:

// a simple complex number representation z = a + bi
struct complex
{
    complex (double a, double b = 0.0) : a(a), b(b) {}

    double a;
    double b;
};

// the streaming operator for the type complex
std::ostream& 
operator<< (std::ostream& os, complex const& z)
{
    os << "{" << z.a << "," << z.b << "}";
    return os;
}

And this is the actual call to generate the output from a vector of those. This time we interleave the generated output with newline breaks (see eol), putting each complex number onto a separate line:

template <typename OutputIterator, typename Container>
bool generate_numbers(OutputIterator& sink, Container const& v)
{
    using boost::spirit::karma::stream;
    using boost::spirit::karma::generate;
    using boost::spirit::karma::eol;

    bool r = generate(
        sink,                           // destination: output iterator
        stream % eol,                   // the generator
        v                               // the data to output 
    );
    return r;
}

The code shown is fully generic and can be used with any STL container as long as the data items stored in that container implement the standard streaming operator.

The full source code of the example presented in this section can be found here: num_list3.cpp.


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