Help with shared libraries

Shane Dawalt
Wed Jan 4 00:38:00 GMT 2006

  I want to create an application that has modules.  Whenever I wish to 
expand it, I simply create another module.  I don't want to have to 
recompile the blasted application.

  This led me to thinking about shared libraries.  My idea is to create 
any number of shared libraries, each being a "module." (A module 
contains a single class.)  I drop the .so file into a special directory 
that my app looks at for shared library files.  My app loads each 
"module" it finds at startup. Each module provides a well-known function 
which my main app calls to get an idea of what the module can do.  My 
app then instances the proper class from one of the modules and 
continues on from there.

  First, is there any complete information on how to really create and 
use share libraries?
  Second, does this description sound even reasonable for the use of 
shared libraries?
  If not, can someone point me at something that is reasonable for 
on-the-fly module loading?

  If I am on the right track, then I've been successful at creating the 
shared library.  I know I must use dlopen().  But I cannot understand 
what dlsym() is suppose to be used for.  And, how would I specify to 
dlsym() the constructor of my class that's in the shared library?  I 
cannot fathom what its symbol's string representation might be.  (I'm 
using gcc 3.2.3 if it makes any difference.)


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