Moving to a new home

February 13, 2010

After a while, I’m back and this time with a new home. The blog is migrated to a new home under a new name.

My idea had always been sharing what I learnt and I hope you enjoyed cppkid and with techievibes, I promise more enjoyment.

Once again, thanks for all the support you have provided.



How To Round Off A Number

February 18, 2009

Sometimes, it is needed to round off a number to some decimal digits.  Again stringstream comes to help us with the aid of iomanip function setprecision. Following is a sample function to round off a number to a fixed digits.

double Round(const double value, const int digits)
   stringstream stream;
   // Store the number with required no. of decimal
   // places to stream
   stream << setprecision(digits) << value;
   // Convert stream to number
   double roundedValue = 0.0;
   stream >> roundedValue;
   return roundedValue;

The header files sstream and iomanip are needed for the above.

Please note that the variable value holds the number with original no. of decimal places and digits is the total number of digits needed (including the non-decimal digits) after rounding has taken place.

Round(10.37665, 3) gives 10.4 and Round(10.3745, 4) gives 10.37.


If you want to store the number in scientific notation in stream, you can do

stream <<  scientific;

For fixed point format, do

stream <<  fixed;

How To Set Extra Data With Each Row Of A List Box

February 3, 2009

We can associate a 32 bit value with each row of a list box. The member function SetItemData() of CListBox can be used for this purpose.

The syntax is

int SetItemData(
   int nIndex,
   DWORD_PTR dwItemData


  • nIndex – Zero based row index of the list box
  • dwItemData – 32 bit value to be stored in the row

The return value will be LB_ERR, if an error occurs.
The stored value can be retrieved using CListBox::GetItemData(). Again, the syntax is

DWORD_PTR GetItemData(
   int nIndex
) const;

where nIndex is the zero based index of the list box row, from where we have to get the data.

An example is given below.

for (int index = 0; index < myListBox->GetCount(); ++index)
   if (myListBox->GetItemData(index) == DWORD(-1))
      myListBox->SetItemData(index, 0);

The header file afxwin.h is needed for the above functions.

Issue When Using [] Operator To Access Elements Of A map

January 29, 2009

I had the habit of using [] operator to access elements of a map. For example, if we have

map<int, int> myMap, to get the element corresponding to 10, we can use

myMap[10]. This is perfectly ok as long as we have an element corresponding to 10. But, what if we don’t have one corresponding to 10?

There lies the problem. In this situation, myMap is already added with a default elemnent corresponding to 10 ([] operator provides no facility to validate if an element exists) and in the above situation, it is 0. As a result, a new (unwanted) element is added to the map (we can see that the size of map has been incremented by 1).

So a better alternative is to use the find() function associated with map. It does not add an element and if the element is not found, it will return map::end().

The example given below illustrates this.


using namespace std;

int main()
   map myMap;
   cout << "Size of myMap = " << myMap.size() << '\n';   // will be 0    int content = myMap[0];    // Now the size of myMap will be 1 as we used the [] operator    // and the value of content = myMap[0] = 0    cout << "Size of myMap = " << myMap.size() << '\n';       // Instead, if we use find, the size will not change.    // It will look for the element only.    map::const_iterator it = myMap.find(1);    // Here the element has not been found. So it = myMap.end()    cout << "Size of myMap = " << myMap.size() << '\n';   // will be 1 only     return 0;    } [/sourcecode] So the best practice is to avoid [] operator for accessing individual elements of a map.

How To Watch A Variable Even After Its Scope Is Over

January 19, 2009

Noramally, the value of a variable declared in a function can be seen in the watch window only when the control is inside that function itself (eg. When the above function calles a new function and if we step into the new function.) . Let’s discuss an example.

void SomeFunction()
   int myVariable = 20;
int main()
   int myVariable = 10;
   return 0;   

In the above example, if I put a break point in the function main after the statement int myVariable = 10; I can see the value of myVariable in the watch window as follows.


Now, if I put another break point in SomeFunction() after the statement int myVariable = 20;, when th execution flow reaches there, the watch window will show the value of myariable as 20 only.

So we have lost the value of myVariable declared in main(), eventhogh it lifetime is not over now.

How To Add a Permanent watch

We can still view the value of myVariable declared in main() inside the function SomeFunction(). For this, we will use the address of memory location (rather than the variable name) in which myVariable has been declared in main(). We can view the contents of this memory location as long as it has life in the program.

When the control reaches the break point in main(), take the address of myVariable using the & operator. Now we have a valid memory location address (a pointer). Still, it can be a raw pointer. So cast it to the correct type (int, in this case, as myVariable is of type integer) as

(int*)(address of myVariable)

adding-a-watch1Now see how the watch window shows the value we have stored, when the control reaches the second break point.


How To Handle new Operator Failure

January 15, 2009

new operator is used to allocate memory in C++. Though it is rare that a modern day computer is not able to allocate memory for our program, still there may be situations where we have to face situations where the new operator fails. The function set_new_handler will divert the flow to a user function when the new operator fails. A simple example is given below.

using namespace std;

// Function to be called when the new operator fails
void NewHandler()
   cout << "Out of memory" << '\n';    exit(0); }   int main() {    // Set the function to be called when new operator fails    set_new_handler(NewHandler);    while (true)    {       new int[50000000];   // Hope this will fail after a few iterations       cout << "Successful so far" << '\n';    }    return 0; } [/sourcecode] In the above example, the function NewHandler() will be called when the memory allocation using new operator fails.

Some Background Info

set_new_handler will store the function NewHandler() in a static new handler pointer. This new handler is used by operator new.

How To Get The Screen Resolution In Pixels

January 7, 2009

The function GetWindowRect(), defined in WinUser.h, is able to give the current screen resolution. The declaration of GetWindowRect() is

    __in HWND hWnd,
    __out LPRECT lpRect);

We can give a handle to the current desktop window to the above function as input. A sample implementation for getting the current screen resolution is given below.

#include “wtypes.h”
using namespace std;

// Get the horizontal and vertical screen sizes in pixel
void GetDesktopResolution(int& horizontal, int& vertical)
   RECT desktop;
   // Get a handle to the desktop window
   const HWND hDesktop = GetDesktopWindow();
   // Get the size of screen to the variable desktop
   GetWindowRect(hDesktop, &desktop);
   // The top left corner will have coordinates (0,0)
   // and the bottom right corner will have coordinates
   // (horizontal, vertical)
   horizontal = desktop.right;
   vertical = desktop.bottom;

int main()
   int horizontal = 0;
   int vertical = 0;
   GetDesktopResolution(horizontal, vertical);
   cout << horizontal << '\n' << vertical << '\n';    return 0; } [/sourcecode]