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Time: 2009-03-06 00:58:51
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== Possible Mentors ==

 *Bryan Jurish

== Description ==

Pd's lack of a string data type can make easy tasks such as filename parsing,
network communications, etc. inordinately difficult to accomplish without relying
on additional externals (e.g. py/pyext, lua).  For various reasons, none of the known
existing workarounds (e.g. Bryan Jurish's [pdstring] externals, Martin Peach's string patch),
has established itself as a standard string handling mechanism for Pd, requiring either
inordinate amounts of memory and processing time, or a patch to the Pd sources.
Miller Puckette and others have suggested the use of Pd arrays for string storage.

This project should implement a basic character and string handling library for Pd, using Pd arrays directly
for string storage.  Elementary string handling functions (i.e. analogs of the C functions
declared in "string.h") should be implemented where possible directly on arrays, and a C API
should be provided for conversion of Pd arrays to and from C strings (char*, rsp. wchar_t*).
If time and interest permit, additional string utilities (e.g. encoding with iconv and/or recode,
regular expressions, tokenization, etc.) can be implemented on top of this API.

Links and Resources:

 * : a tutorial on how to write C externals for pure data

 * : pdstring sources (SVN)

 * : Martin Peach's string support patch

 * : Martin Peach's str object sources; requires string support patch (SVN)

 * : Wikipedia entry for "string.h"

== Required Skills ==

 * some knowledge of C programming

==== Difficulty ====

Easy (but time consuming) to moderate,
depending on how much functionality is implemented directly on Pd arrays,
and how much is left to the C library functions.

== Possible Breakdown of Steps ==

 * Step 1: array-to-string and string-to-array conversion API and externals
   * ideally, should be compatible with both Pd-vanilla and Pd-extended
 * Step 2: string.h wrapper externals, e.g. for:
   * strcat(), strncat()
   * strchr(), strrchr()
   * strcmp(), strncmp(), strcoll()
   * strcpy(), strncpy()
   * strspn(), strcspn()
   * strpbrk()
   * strstr()
   * strtok()
 * Optional: recoding externals (e.g. with iconv, recode)
 * Optional: regular expression externals (e.g. with Spencer, PCRE)

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