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qsort(...) in <stdlib.h>

P: n/a
can someone tell me how qsort function in <stdlib.h> is used
(qsort(..........))?
the function has a buffer, two void * parameters and the a pointer to a
compare function. Thanks.
Nov 14 '05 #1
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P: n/a
Steve wrote:
can someone tell me how qsort function in <stdlib.h> is used
(qsort(..........))?
the function has a buffer, two void * parameters and the a pointer to a
compare function. Thanks.


Have you tried man qsort?

Good Luck!
Rich

Nov 14 '05 #2

P: n/a
On Sat, 04 Sep 2004 22:48:52 GMT, "Steve" <St**********@yahoo.com>
wrote in comp.lang.c:
can someone tell me how qsort function in <stdlib.h> is used
(qsort(..........))?
the function has a buffer, two void * parameters and the a pointer to a
compare function. Thanks.


Doesn't your C book cover it? Perhaps you need a better one.

Also you have the arguments quite wrong. The prototype is:

void qsort(void *base, size_t nmemb, size_t size,
int (*compar)(const void *, const void *));

The four arguments are:

1. A pointer to the beginning of an array of objects to be sorted.

2. The number of objects in the array.

3. The size of each object, in bytes.

4. A pointer to a function which accepts pointers to two objects
contained in the array and will not change them, and returns an int
indicating how the two objects compare against each other.

qsort() is a generalized library function for sorting an array of
objects. Generalized sorting algorithms are completely independent of
the type or meaning of the data being sorted. The data independent
algorithm of the sort can be turned into a function, and that is what
qsort() is.

The basic operations of sorting an array of objects are:

1. Compare two object in the array.

2. If the comparison indicates that they are out of order, then swap
them.

So a data independent function like qsort() can be turned into a sort
routine for a specific array of objects by giving it the following
information:

1. The location of the array of objects.

2. The number of objects in the array.

3. The size of each object in bytes, needed to swap out-of-order
objects.

4. Some way to compare two objects.

The fact that the caller supplies a comparison function allows one to
sort the same data according to different values, for example name or
employee number, just by passing different comparison functions.

--
Jack Klein
Home: http://JK-Technology.Com
FAQs for
comp.lang.c http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html
comp.lang.c++ http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/
alt.comp.lang.learn.c-c++
http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~a...FAQ-acllc.html
Nov 14 '05 #3

P: n/a
"Steve" <St**********@yahoo.com> writes:
can someone tell me how qsort function in <stdlib.h> is used
(qsort(..........))?
the function has a buffer, two void * parameters and the a pointer to a
compare function. Thanks.


Have you tried reading a reference manual? Here's what the GNU C
library manual says about qsort().

Defining the Comparison Function
================================

In order to use the sorted array library functions, you have to describe
how to compare the elements of the array.

To do this, you supply a comparison function to compare two elements
of the array. The library will call this function, passing as arguments
pointers to two array elements to be compared. Your comparison function
should return a value the way `strcmp' (*note String/Array
Comparison::) does: negative if the first argument is "less" than the
second, zero if they are "equal", and positive if the first argument is
"greater".

Here is an example of a comparison function which works with an
array of numbers of type `double':

int
compare_doubles (const void *a, const void *b)
{
const double *da = (const double *) a;
const double *db = (const double *) b;

return (*da > *db) - (*da < *db);
}

The header file `stdlib.h' defines a name for the data type of
comparison functions. This type is a GNU extension.

int comparison_fn_t (const void *, const void *);
Array Sort Function
===================

To sort an array using an arbitrary comparison function, use the
`qsort' function. The prototype for this function is in `stdlib.h'.

- Function: void qsort (void *ARRAY, size_t COUNT, size_t SIZE,
comparison_fn_t COMPARE)
The QSORT function sorts the array ARRAY. The array contains
COUNT elements, each of which is of size SIZE.

The COMPARE function is used to perform the comparison on the
array elements. This function is called with two pointer
arguments and should return an integer less than, equal to, or
greater than zero corresponding to whether its first argument is
considered less than, equal to, or greater than its second
argument.

*Warning:* If two objects compare as equal, their order after
sorting is unpredictable. That is to say, the sorting is not
stable. This can make a difference when the comparison considers
only part of the elements. Two elements with the same sort key
may differ in other respects.

If you want the effect of a stable sort, you can get this result by
writing the comparison function so that, lacking other reason
distinguish between two elements, it compares them by their
addresses. Note that doing this may make the sorting algorithm
less efficient, so do it only if necessary.

Here is a simple example of sorting an array of doubles in
numerical order, using the comparison function defined above
(*note Comparison Functions::):

{
double *array;
int size;
...
qsort (array, size, sizeof (double), compare_doubles);
}

The `qsort' function derives its name from the fact that it was
originally implemented using the "quick sort" algorithm.

The implementation of `qsort' in this library might not be an
in-place sort and might thereby use an extra amount of memory to
store the array.
--
"Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place.
Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are,
by definition, not smart enough to debug it."
--Brian Kernighan
Nov 14 '05 #4

P: n/a

"Steve" <St**********@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:oD***************@newsread3.news.pas.earthlin k.net...
can someone tell me how qsort function in <stdlib.h> is used
(qsort(..........))?
the function has a buffer, two void * parameters and the a pointer to a
compare function. Thanks.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

struct person
{
char name[20];
unsigned int age;
};

void show(FILE *fp,
const struct person *ppl,
size_t count,
const char *prefix)
{
size_t i = 0;

fputs(prefix, fp);

for(i = 0; i < count; ++i)
fprintf(fp, "%-20s %u\n", ppl[i].name, ppl[i].age);
}

int by_name_ascending(const void *lhs, const void *rhs)
{
return strcoll(((struct person *)lhs)->name,
((struct person *)rhs)->name);
}

int by_name_descending(const void *lhs, const void *rhs)
{
return strcoll(((struct person *)rhs)->name,
((struct person *)lhs)->name);
}

int by_age_ascending(const void *lhs, const void *rhs)
{
return ((struct person *)lhs)->age -
((struct person *)rhs)->age;
}

int by_age_descending(const void *lhs, const void *rhs)
{
return ((struct person *)rhs)->age -
((struct person *)lhs)->age;
}

int main()
{
struct person folks[] =
{
{"William", 21},
{"John", 42},
{"Mary", 35},
{"Albert", 75},
{"Debbie", 12},
};

const size_t elems = sizeof folks / sizeof *folks;

show(stdout, folks, elems, "unsorted:\n"
"---------\n");
putchar('\n');

qsort(folks, elems, sizeof *folks, by_name_ascending);
show(stdout, folks, elems, "Sorted by name in ascending order:\n"
"----------------------------------\n");
putchar('\n');

qsort(folks, elems, sizeof *folks, by_age_ascending);
show(stdout, folks, elems, "Sorted by age in ascending order:\n"
"----------------------------------\n");
putchar('\n');

qsort(folks, elems, sizeof *folks, by_name_descending);
show(stdout, folks, elems, "Sorted by name in descending order:\n"
"----------------------------------\n");
putchar('\n');

qsort(folks, elems, sizeof *folks, by_age_descending);
show(stdout, folks, elems, "Sorted by age in descending order:\n"
"----------------------------------\n");

return 0;
}
-Mike
Nov 14 '05 #5

P: n/a
"Steve" <St**********@yahoo.com> wrote in message news:<oD***************@newsread3.news.pas.earthli nk.net>...
can someone tell me how qsort function in <stdlib.h> is used
(qsort(..........))?
the function has a buffer, two void * parameters and the a pointer to a
compare function. Thanks.


/* qsort - sort a table of data

AUTHOR: Gregory Pietsch

SYNOPSIS

#include <stdlib.h>

void qsort(void *base, size_t nel, size_t width,
int (*compar)(const void *, const void *));

DESCRIPTION

The functionality described on this reference page is aligned with the
ISO C standard. Any conflict between the requirements described here and
the ISO C standard is unintentional. This volume of IEEE Std 1003.1-2001
defers to the ISO C standard.

The qsort() function shall sort an array of nel objects, the initial
element of which is pointed to by base. The size of each object, in bytes,
is specified by the width argument.

The contents of the array shall be sorted in ascending order according to
a comparison function. The compar argument is a pointer to the comparison
function, which is called with two arguments that point to the elements
being compared. The application shall ensure that the function returns
an integer less than, equal to, or greater than 0, if the first argument
is considered respectively less than, equal to, or greater than the second.
If two members compare as equal, their order in the sorted array is
unspecified.

RETURN VALUE

The qsort() function shall not return a value.

ERRORS

No errors are defined.
*/

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

#define MAX_BUF 256

static void _Swap(char *qi, char *qj, size_t width)
{
char buf[MAX_BUF];

while (width > MAX_BUF) {
memcpy(buf, qi, MAX_BUF);
memcpy(qi, qj, MAX_BUF);
memcpy(qj, buf, MAX_BUF);
qi += MAX_BUF;
qj += MAX_BUF;
width -= MAX_BUF;
}
if (width > 0) {
memcpy(buf, qi, width);
memcpy(qi, qj, width);
memcpy(qj, buf, width);
}
}

void (qsort)(void *base, size_t nel, size_t width,
int (*compar)(const void *, const void *))
{
size_t i, j;
char *qi, *qj, *qp;

switch (nel) {
case 0:
case 1:
return; /* doesn't have to be sorted */
case 2:
case 3:
case 4:
/* Bubble sort is probably easier with four elements or less */
qp = base;
for (i = 0; i < nel - 1; i++) {
for (j = i + 1; j < nel; j++) {
qi = qp + (i * width);
qj = qp + (j * width);
if ((*compar)(qi, qj) > 0)
_Swap(qi, qj, width);
}
}
return;
default:
while (1 < nel) {
i = 0;
j = nel - 1;
qi = base;
qj = qi + j * width;
qp = qj;
while (i < j) {
/* partition about pivot */
while (i < j && (*compar)(qi, qp) <= 0) {
i++;
qi += width;
}
while (i < j && (*compar)(qp, qj) <= 0) {
j--;
qj -= width;
}
if (i < j)
_Swap(qi, qj, width);
}
if (qi != qp)
_Swap(qi, qp, width);
j = nel - i;
if (j < i) {
/* recurse on smaller partition */
if (1 < j)
qsort(qi, j, width, compar);
nel = i;
} else {
/* lower partition is smaller */
if (1 < i)
qsort(base, i, width, compar);
base = qi;
nel = j;
}
}
}
}

/* END OF FILE */
Nov 14 '05 #6

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