[riot-devel] enums vs. macros

Pekka Nikander pekka.nikander at iki.fi
Wed May 13 08:21:14 CEST 2015

A silly question/suggestion:

Wouldn't it make sense to use sized integer types in the struct, but a separate enum to define the values?  IIRC, enum's in C are simply named integer constants.  C is also very permitting in storing values into smaller integer types.  For C++, of course, the situation may not be that easy.

typedef struct {
  uint16_t flags;
} foo_t;

typedef enum {
  FOO_FLAG_ONE   = 0x01, 
  FOO_FLAG_TWO   = 0x02,
  FOO_FLAG_THREE = 0x04,
} foo_flags_t;


> On 2015–05–13, at 9:12 , Oleg Hahm <oliver.hahm at inria.fr> wrote:
> Dear replying IoTlers,
> some time ago I had a discussion with Martine on GitHub about the usage of
> enums for flags [1]. Martine convinced me that seems to be wise to prefer
> macros over enums here, to avoid alignment issues. However, it feels somehow
> wrong not to use enums for this purpose (it's easier for the developer *and*
> the compiler if a valid data type is chosen). Does anyone know a trick around
> the issues that Martine mentioned:
>> Because flags have a width in memory that is in most cases smaller than
>> sizeof(enum) (most bit fields I know of are 16 bits max, on most of our
>> newer platforms, sizeof(enum) is however 32 bits). This results in every
>> assignment needed to be cast to either uint8_t or uint16_t. With macros you
>> don't need to cast since they are typeless.
>> Making the enum packed makes it's width unpredictable in terms of alignment
>> issues, when used in struct (which is not the case here, I know).
> Cheers,
> Oleg
> [1] https://github.com/RIOT-OS/RIOT/pull/2614#discussion_r28941692
> -- 
> panic ("No CPUs found.  System halted.\n");
>        linux-2.4.3/arch/parisc/kernel/setup.c
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