By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Manage your Cookies Settings.
435,537 Members | 2,172 Online
Bytes IT Community
+ Ask a Question
Need help? Post your question and get tips & solutions from a community of 435,537 IT Pros & Developers. It's quick & easy.

how to convert a binary array with hex values into decimal string

P: 11
i have a byte array that contains hex values. i want to convert 6 bytes of it into decimal values and display the result as a string.

also when do i have to take the endianess into consideration?

i have tried to basically do a direct assignment to unsigned long and i saw that it did convert it correctly but i did not use any endianess. although i still did not convert it into a string.

when do i use endianess ( i am developing on unbuntu but i know i will have to port this to a sun box/hp box maybe). i did read somewhere that as long as the unsigned long size is <= 2 it should work on any box. is this true? if so why?

your help would be greatly appreciated.
Jan 7 '10 #1
Share this Question
Share on Google+
15 Replies

P: 11
BTW i am not using .net c++ so i cannot use bitconverter etc.
Jan 7 '10 #2

Expert Mod 5K+
P: 8,916
Expand|Select|Wrap|Line Numbers
  1. #include <iostream>
  3. unsigned char myVar = 0xA0;
  5. std::cout << static_cast<int>(myVar) << std::endl;
Endianness only makes a difference when you are directly accessing a array of bytes that represents some larger integer type, long for example.

Endianness needs to be considered for any integer type T for which sizeof(T) > 1. For most platforms this is short int and long.
Jan 7 '10 #3

Expert 100+
P: 2,400
I don't think you need to worry about endianness unless you're doing one of the following:
  • Your program accesses the same data item sometimes via one type and sometimes via another, differently sized, type. For example, you have a 32-bit data item that is sometimes accessed as an unsigned long and sometimes as an array of unsigned chars.
  • You seek to access a data item that must also be accessible to a dissimilar system; that is, a system that is not guaranteed to be the same processor and compiler combination. For example, your PC is writing to a binary file that might be read by a Linux PC.
  • You are accessing memory-mapped I/O devices.
Most programs don't do any of these things; so most programs don't have to worry about endianness.
Jan 7 '10 #4

Expert 100+
P: 2,400
You say "I have a byte array that contains hex values. I want to convert 6 bytes of it into decimal values and display the result as a string."

Do you mean this?
You have a sequence of six hex-ASCII characters that you want to print as an equivalent [24-bit] decimal number.

Or do you mean this?
You have a 6-byte [48-bit] binary number that you want to print as an equivalent decimal number.

Or do you mean something else?
Jan 7 '10 #5

P: 11
its the first part. i have a byte array that has hex values which i would like to convert to decimals.

also, i will be using this on a 64bit machine and that means i can't do direct assingment like you see me doing. because a long on a 32bit vs a 64 bit will give different results.

so using code like
Expand|Select|Wrap|Line Numbers
  1. char bytes[4] = {0x12, 0x23, 0xff, 0xed};
  2. long* p_long = reinterpret_cast<long*>(bytes);
  4. std::cout << std::hex << *p_long << std::endl;
as an example i can then actually put that into the function
*p_long = bswap_32(*p_long);

and get the big endian or little endian as above.

the problem i really have is that my bytes are more than say 6. now how do i do this.

second how do i get the hex values into decimals using the aforementioned method.

the pointer i have there is just 4 bytes. so if i get another pointer that is an array of pointers...seems to get more confusing.

your help would be appreciated.
Jan 12 '10 #6

Expert 100+
P: 2,400
No ... you mean it is the second part: you have a 6-byte [48-bit] binary number that you want to print as an equivalent decimal number.

How should the bytes be combined to create the big integer? Basically, you need to unpack the bytes in an order consistent with how they went into the array. This is not necessarily the endianness of your processor/compiler.

For example, suppose the byte array is this:
unsigned char array[6] = { 0x11, 0x22, 0x33, 0x44, 0x55, 0x66 };
Do you expect the big integer to be 0x112233445566?

Does your implementation have an integer type large enough to hold a 48-bit integer (ie, do you have long long)? If so, this is a simple problem; if not, then this is a hard problem.

By the way ... stop using "plain" char!
This must be done with unsigned char.
Jan 12 '10 #7

P: 11
i just wrote up that as a quick example. but essentially, i have
byte output[somesize] that has hexadecimal values. i want to first convert this into decimal and then display x amount of digits.

i am working on a 32bit system BUT will be most likely porting this to a 64 bit system.. which means that I can't just save this into a long. as saving this into a long on a 32bit system vs a 64 bit system would be different in the way the bytes will be read on each system.

ofc, if i save it in a long (4 bytes) at least on the 32bit sytem I can get the first 4 bytes. perhaps I need a array of long pointers to store the other 2 bytes and byteswap so that it stores it as Big endian such that when this program runs on a 64 bit system it would read the values correctly.

i am still very new to all of this but i believe this is what i understand so far.
This is a program that does not use any files nor is using any over the network byte transfer. however, when this program runs on a 64bit system i think the way it will store the values could be MSB.

does that help explain my situation a bit better?

so in the example...
0x112233445566 is how i would need to store it as so it stores it like that in a big endian system.

I think i do have long long available. now..if i used an int32 then i could use the byteswap to make it into big endian but i think i would need to 2 longs (4 bytes each)to hold those values.

something like long *p_long = reinterpret_cast<long*> (bytes);

then use *p_long = bswap(*p_long); to get the it into Big endian and in decimal format using the byteswap.h.

however since that will only take 4 bytes i would maybe need an array of long pointers? to hold the other 2 bytes. not sure what to do after that then...theorizing this. not sure.
Jan 13 '10 #8

Expert 100+
P: 2,400
1. Where does the array of hexadecimal bytes come from? How does a particular value get into it?

2. How long does this array of hexadecimal bytes need to persist? Does it exist for a longer interval than just while your program is running?

3. Agreed -- you should never use long for values larger than 32 bits even if a particular implementation happens to support more bits. I ask again ... can you use long long? long long is guaranteed to be at least 64 bits regardless of what operating system you use.
Jan 13 '10 #9

P: 11
i am basically taking input from console and doing some operations that output to a byte array which contains hexadecimal values something along the lines of below: the actual output is like 20bytes or 160bits


basically i am calling a third party function that populates this byte array with the hexadecimal values.

essentially i am trying to store the whole byte array as a decimal value.

once i do that would the endianess come into play? like how i stored it? i know there is a byteswap function in the header i mentioned for 64 bits but when i try to use it it does not work. Instead of byte swapping it just prints 0.

sample test code:
Expand|Select|Wrap|Line Numbers
  1. #include <iostream>
  2. #include "byteswap.h"
  3. #include "stdlib.h"
  5. using namespace std
  7. ;
  9. int main()
  10. {
  11. char bytes[6] = {0x12,0x23,0xff,0xed,0x22,0x34};
  13. //long *p_long = reinterpret_cast<long*> (bytes);
  15. long long  *p_long = reinterpret_cast<long long*> (bytes);
  17. std::cout<<"hex="<<std::hex<<*p_long<<"LE"<<std::endl;
  19.  *p_long = bswap_64(*p_long);
  21. std::cout<<"hex="<<std::hex<<*p_long<<"BE"<<std::endl;
  25. return 0;
  26. }
Jan 13 '10 #10

P: 11
the only other thing i am thinking is with 20 bytes i would need an array of long long pointers and incrementing and keeping track of the pointers via sizeof(long) is not something i have done before. tips on using that would be appreciated.
Jan 13 '10 #11

Expert 100+
P: 2,400
Lets start over and try to clearly identify the input.

There is no such thing as "hexadecimal values". The byte array contains binary values, hex-string values, decimal-string values, or something else. Consider the 4-byte value 0x12345678 (which is decimal 305419896). Does the byte array contain:
  • binary: 0x12, 0x34, 0x56, 0x78 (with leading zeroes)
  • hex-string: "12345678"
  • decimal-string: "305419896"

Note: for ASCII character encoding the two strings would be:
  • hex-string: 0x31, 0x32, 0x33, 0x34, 0x35, 0x36, 0x37, 0x38, 0x00
  • decimal string: 0x33, 0x30, 0x35, 0x34, 0x31, 0x39, 0x38, 0x39, 0x36, 0x00

Instead of strings you might have character arrays that are padded with leading zero characters or with leading/trailing whitespace characters.
Jan 13 '10 #12

P: 11
ok my input from console is a hexadecimal value stored as a string.
i take that string and put it in a byte array. The api requires that i send it this byte array and it in return outputs its values as hex string. 2edab14fab etc.

The output byte array is initialized with 0x00 and this byte array is populated with the hex string which i can printf to screen with the %2.2x notation.

for example
byte output[some constant size];
memset(output,0x00,some constant size);

so the string you saw earlier is a hex string in an output byte array.
this is the array that i am trying to store in such a manner that i can get decimal values for that hex string and then i will later ouput say 6 decimals on the screen.
Jan 13 '10 #13

P: 11
by hexadecimal value i mean...0-9 and Aa-Ff
Jan 13 '10 #14

Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,494

I think the point Don was trying to make was that the values are neither intrinsically hexadecimal, nor intrinsically string nor binary nor decimal. The values are values. They may be interpreted in a number of different ways depending on the software or human reading them, but they are not stored as hex values.

While this may be a small point generally, using incorrect terminology does cause the question you are trying to ask to be a lot harder to understand. One has to keep asking oneself - "Does this fail to make sense because of the wording, or because the OP (yourself) doesn't know what they're talking about generally?" "What do I think the OP is trying to say?"

So you see, the correct wording can be very important. I find this becomes more important the more technically intricate the question is. Attention to detail is so important for coders generally. This is certainly true when trying to convey a problem to somebody else.
Jan 14 '10 #15

P: 11
thanks for clearing that up. i am pretty new to all this and i appreciate all the help that is afforded. since i am new i am just reporting things that I see and not quite clearly understand the concepts like byte arrays don't have hex values per say. they are just an array of bytes and we populate them with whatever values we want. but all of this does take time and i acknowledge the difficulty I have had to express the problem due to the aforementioned issue.
Jan 14 '10 #16

Post your reply

Sign in to post your reply or Sign up for a free account.