How do you pass a function as a parameter in C?

674

I want to create a function that performs a function passed by parameter on a set of data. How do you pass a function as a parameter in C?

This question is tagged with c function pointers syntax parameters

~ Asked on 2008-08-13 02:16:32

8 Answers


804

Declaration

A prototype for a function which takes a function parameter looks like the following:

void func ( void (*f)(int) );

This states that the parameter f will be a pointer to a function which has a void return type and which takes a single int parameter. The following function (print) is an example of a function which could be passed to func as a parameter because it is the proper type:

void print ( int x ) {
  printf("%d\n", x);
}

Function Call

When calling a function with a function parameter, the value passed must be a pointer to a function. Use the function's name (without parentheses) for this:

func(print);

would call func, passing the print function to it.

Function Body

As with any parameter, func can now use the parameter's name in the function body to access the value of the parameter. Let's say that func will apply the function it is passed to the numbers 0-4. Consider, first, what the loop would look like to call print directly:

for ( int ctr = 0 ; ctr < 5 ; ctr++ ) {
  print(ctr);
}

Since func's parameter declaration says that f is the name for a pointer to the desired function, we recall first that if f is a pointer then *f is the thing that f points to (i.e. the function print in this case). As a result, just replace every occurrence of print in the loop above with *f:

void func ( void (*f)(int) ) {
  for ( int ctr = 0 ; ctr < 5 ; ctr++ ) {
    (*f)(ctr);
  }
}

Source

~ Answered on 2008-08-13 02:22:24


135

This question already has the answer for defining function pointers, however they can get very messy, especially if you are going to be passing them around your application. To avoid this unpleasantness I would recommend that you typedef the function pointer into something more readable. For example.

typedef void (*functiontype)();

Declares a function that returns void and takes no arguments. To create a function pointer to this type you can now do:

void dosomething() { }

functiontype func = &dosomething;
func();

For a function that returns an int and takes a char you would do

typedef int (*functiontype2)(char);

and to use it

int dosomethingwithchar(char a) { return 1; }

functiontype2 func2 = &dosomethingwithchar
int result = func2('a');

There are libraries that can help with turning function pointers into nice readable types. The boost function library is great and is well worth the effort!

boost::function<int (char a)> functiontype2;

is so much nicer than the above.

~ Answered on 2008-08-13 02:34:47


89

Since C++11 you can use the functional library to do this in a succinct and generic fashion. The syntax is, e.g.,

std::function<bool (int)>

where bool is the return type here of a one-argument function whose first argument is of type int.

I have included an example program below:

// g++ test.cpp --std=c++11
#include <functional>

double Combiner(double a, double b, std::function<double (double,double)> func){
  return func(a,b);
}

double Add(double a, double b){
  return a+b;
}

double Mult(double a, double b){
  return a*b;
}

int main(){
  Combiner(12,13,Add);
  Combiner(12,13,Mult);
}

Sometimes, though, it is more convenient to use a template function:

// g++ test.cpp --std=c++11

template<class T>
double Combiner(double a, double b, T func){
  return func(a,b);
}

double Add(double a, double b){
  return a+b;
}

double Mult(double a, double b){
  return a*b;
}

int main(){
  Combiner(12,13,Add);
  Combiner(12,13,Mult);
}

~ Answered on 2015-07-20 16:24:48


30

Pass address of a function as parameter to another function as shown below

#include <stdio.h>

void print();
void execute(void());

int main()
{
    execute(print); // sends address of print
    return 0;
}

void print()
{
    printf("Hello!");
}

void execute(void f()) // receive address of print
{
    f();
}

Also we can pass function as parameter using function pointer

#include <stdio.h>

void print();
void execute(void (*f)());

int main()
{
    execute(&print); // sends address of print
    return 0;
}

void print()
{
    printf("Hello!");
}

void execute(void (*f)()) // receive address of print
{
    f();
}

~ Answered on 2015-11-23 12:07:40


9

Functions can be "passed" as function pointers, as per ISO C11 6.7.6.3p8: "A declaration of a parameter as ‘‘function returning type’’ shall be adjusted to ‘‘pointer to function returning type’’, as in 6.3.2.1. ". For example, this:

void foo(int bar(int, int));

is equivalent to this:

void foo(int (*bar)(int, int));

~ Answered on 2018-11-27 15:42:42


4

You need to pass a function pointer. The syntax is a little cumbersome, but it's really powerful once you get familiar with it.

~ Answered on 2008-08-13 02:18:28


2

I am gonna explain with a simple example code which takes a compare function as parameter to another sorting function. Lets say I have a bubble sort function that takes a custom compare function and uses it instead of a fixed if statement.

Compare Function

bool compare(int a, int b) {
    return a > b;
}

Now , the Bubble sort that takes another function as its parameter to perform comparison

Bubble sort function

void bubble_sort(int arr[], int n, bool (&cmp)(int a, int b)) {

    for (int i = 0;i < n - 1;i++) {
        for (int j = 0;j < (n - 1 - i);j++) {
            
            if (cmp(arr[j], arr[j + 1])) {
                swap(arr[j], arr[j + 1]);
            }
        }
    }
}

Finally , the main which calls the Bubble sort function by passing the boolean compare function as argument.

int main()
{
    int i, n = 10, key = 11;
    int arr[10] = { 20, 22, 18, 8, 12, 3, 6, 12, 11, 15 };

    bubble_sort(arr, n, compare);
    cout<<"Sorted Order"<<endl;
    for (int i = 0;i < n;i++) {
        cout << arr[i] << " ";
    }
}

Output:

Sorted Order
3 6 8 11 12 12 15 18 20 22

~ Answered on 2021-01-31 08:30:16


-4

It's not really a function, but it is an localised piece of code. Of course it doesn't pass the code just the result. It won't work if passed to an event dispatcher to be run at a later time (as the result is calculated now and not when the event occurs). But it does localise your code into one place if that is all you are trying to do.

#include <stdio.h>

int IncMultInt(int a, int b)
{
    a++;
    return a * b;
}

int main(int argc, char *argv[])

{
    int a = 5;
    int b = 7;

    printf("%d * %d = %d\n", a, b, IncMultInt(a, b));

    b = 9;

    // Create some local code with it's own local variable
    printf("%d * %d = %d\n", a, b,  ( { int _a = a+1; _a * b; } ) );

    return 0;
}

~ Answered on 2019-03-15 02:46:46


Most Viewed Questions: