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23.3 Support for user-provided GC marking routines

The garbage collector supports types for which no automatic marking code is generated. For these types, the user is required to provide three functions: one to act as a marker for garbage collection, and two functions to act as marker and pointer walker for pre-compiled headers.

Given a structure struct GTY((user)) my_struct, the following functions should be defined to mark my_struct:

void gt_ggc_mx (my_struct *p)
{
  /* This marks field 'fld'.  */
  gt_ggc_mx (p->fld);
}

void gt_pch_nx (my_struct *p)
{
  /* This marks field 'fld'.  */
  gt_pch_nx (tp->fld);
}

void gt_pch_nx (my_struct *p, gt_pointer_operator op, void *cookie)
{
  /* For every field 'fld', call the given pointer operator.  */
  op (&(tp->fld), NULL, cookie);
}

In general, each marker M should call M for every pointer field in the structure. Fields that are not allocated in GC or are not pointers must be ignored.

For embedded lists (e.g., structures with a next or prev pointer), the marker must follow the chain and mark every element in it.

Note that the rules for the pointer walker gt_pch_nx (my_struct *, gt_pointer_operator, void *) are slightly different. In this case, the operation op must be applied to the address of every pointer field.

23.3.1 User-provided marking routines for template types

When a template type TP is marked with GTY, all instances of that type are considered user-provided types. This means that the individual instances of TP do not need to be marked with GTY. The user needs to provide template functions to mark all the fields of the type.

The following code snippets represent all the functions that need to be provided. Note that type TP may reference to more than one type. In these snippets, there is only one type T, but there could be more.

template<typename T>
void gt_ggc_mx (TP<T> *tp)
{
  extern void gt_ggc_mx (T&);

  /* This marks field 'fld' of type 'T'.  */
  gt_ggc_mx (tp->fld);
}

template<typename T>
void gt_pch_nx (TP<T> *tp)
{
  extern void gt_pch_nx (T&);

  /* This marks field 'fld' of type 'T'.  */
  gt_pch_nx (tp->fld);
}

template<typename T>
void gt_pch_nx (TP<T *> *tp, gt_pointer_operator op, void *cookie)
{
  /* For every field 'fld' of 'tp' with type 'T *', call the given
     pointer operator.  */
  op (&(tp->fld), NULL, cookie);
}

template<typename T>
void gt_pch_nx (TP<T> *tp, gt_pointer_operator, void *cookie)
{
  extern void gt_pch_nx (T *, gt_pointer_operator, void *);

  /* For every field 'fld' of 'tp' with type 'T', call the pointer
     walker for all the fields of T.  */
  gt_pch_nx (&(tp->fld), op, cookie);
}

Support for user-defined types is currently limited. The following restrictions apply:

  1. Type TP and all the argument types T must be marked with GTY.
  2. Type TP can only have type names in its argument list.
  3. The pointer walker functions are different for TP<T> and TP<T *>. In the case of TP<T>, references to T must be handled by calling gt_pch_nx (which will, in turn, walk all the pointers inside fields of T). In the case of TP<T *>, references to T * must be handled by calling the op function on the address of the pointer (see the code snippets above).

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