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authorTom Rondeau <trondeau@vt.edu>2012-12-18 15:30:58 -0500
committerTom Rondeau <trondeau@vt.edu>2012-12-18 15:30:58 -0500
commit77ea309277382d198681476976bd353a2a98e908 (patch)
tree203354a4d1b543588d4cc3a1c1409c64f27295a0
parenta21c5f703a2030b4109811ccf3bcb2906df5d466 (diff)
docs: added a doxygen manual page describing PMT types and how to use them.
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+/*! \page page_pmt Polymorphic Types
+
+\section intro Introduction
+
+Polymorphic Types are opaque data types that are designed as generic
+containers of data that can be safely passed around between blocks and
+threads in GNU Radio. They are heavily used in the stream tags and
+message passing interfaces. The most complete list of PMT function is,
+of course, the source code, specifically the header file pmt.h. This
+manual page summarizes the most important features and points of PMTs.
+
+
+\section datatype PMT Data Type
+
+All PMTs are of the type pmt::pmt_t. This is an opaque container and
+PMT functions must be used to manipulate and even do things like
+compare PMTs. PMTs are also \a immutable (except PMT vectors). We
+never change the data in a PMT; instead, we create a new PMT with the
+new data. The main reason for this is thread safety. We can pass PMTs
+as tags and messages between blocks and each receives its own copy
+that we can read from. However, we can never write to this object, and
+so if multiple blocks have a reference to the same PMT, there is no
+possibility of thread-safety issues of one reading the PMT data while
+another is writing the data. If a block is trying to write new data to
+a PMT, it actually creates a new PMT to put the data into. Thus we
+allow easy access to data in the PMT format without worrying about
+mutex locking and unlocking while manipulating them.
+
+PMTs can represent the following:
+
+- Boolean values of true/false
+- Strings (as symbols)
+- Integers (long and uint64)
+- Floats (as doubles)
+- Complex (as two doubles)
+- Pairs
+- Tuples
+- Vectors (of PMTs)
+- Uniform vectors (of any standard data type)
+- Dictionaries (list of key:value pairs)
+- Any (contains a boost::any pointer to hold anything)
+
+The PMT library also defines a set of functions that operate directly
+on PMTs such as:
+
+- Equal/equivalence between PMTs
+- Length (of a tuple or vector)
+- Map (apply a function to all elements in the PMT)
+- Reverse
+- Get a PMT at a position in a list
+- Serialize and deserialize
+- Printing
+
+The constants in the PMT library are:
+
+- pmt::PMT_T - a PMT True
+- pmt::PMT_F - a PMT False
+- pmt::PMT_NIL - an empty PMT (think Python's 'None')
+
+\section insert Inserting and Extracting Data
+
+Use pmt.h for a complete guide to the list of functions used to create
+PMTs and get the data from a PMT. When using these functions, remember
+that while PMTs are opaque and designed to hold any data, the data
+underneath is still a C++ typed object, and so the right type of
+set/get function must be used for the data type.
+
+Typically, a PMT object can be made from a scalar item using a call
+like "pmt::pmt_from_<type>". Similarly, when getting data out of a
+PMT, we use a call like "pmt::pmt_to_<type>". For example:
+
+\code
+double a = 1.2345;
+pmt::pmt_t pmt_a = pmt::pmt_from_double(a);
+double b = pmt::pmt_to_double(pmt_a);
+
+int c = 12345;
+pmt::pmt_t pmt_c = pmt::pmt_from_long(c);
+int d = pmt::pmt_to_long(pmt_c);
+\endcode
+
+As a side-note, making a PMT from a complex number is not obvious:
+
+\code
+std::complex<double> a(1.2, 3.4);
+pmt::pmt_t pmt_a = pmt::pmt_make_rectangular(a.real(), b.imag());
+std::complex<double> b = pmt::pmt_to_complex(pmt_a);
+\endcode
+
+Pairs, dictionaries, and vectors have different constructors and ways
+to manipulate them, and these are explained in their own sections.
+
+
+\section strings Strings
+
+PMTs have a way of representing short strings. These strings are
+actually stored as interned symbols in a hash table, so in other
+words, only one PMT object for a given string exists. If creating a
+new symbol from a string, if that string already exists in the hash
+table, the constructor will return a reference to the existing PMT.
+
+We create strings with the following functions, where the second
+function, pmt::pmt_intern, is simply an alias of the first.
+
+\code
+pmt::pmt_t str0 = pmt::pmt_string_to_symbol(std::string("some string"));
+pmt::pmt_t str1 = pmt::pmt_intern(std::string("some string"));
+\endcode
+
+The string can be retrieved using the inverse function:
+
+\code
+std::string s = pmt::pmt_symbol_to_string(str0);
+\endcode
+
+
+\section tests Tests and Comparisons
+
+The PMT library comes with a number of functions to test and compare
+PMT objects. In general, for any PMT data type, there is an equivalent
+"pmt::pmt_is_<type>". We can use these to test the PMT before trying
+to access the data inside. Expanding our examples above, we have:
+
+\code
+pmt::pmt_t str0 = pmt::pmt_string_to_symbol(std::string("some string"));
+if(pmt::pmt_is_symbol(str0))
+ std::string s = pmt::pmt_symbol_to_string(str0);
+
+double a = 1.2345;
+pmt::pmt_t pmt_a = pmt::pmt_from_double(a);
+if(pmt::pmt_is_double(pmt_a))
+ double b = pmt::pmt_to_double(pmt_a);
+
+int c = 12345;
+pmt::pmt_t pmt_c = pmt::pmt_from_long(c);
+if(pmt::pmt_is_long(pmt_a))
+ int d = pmt::pmt_to_long(pmt_c);
+
+\\ This will fail the test. Otherwise, trying to coerce \b pmt_c as a
+\\ double when internally it is a long will result in an exception.
+if(pmt::pmt_is_double(pmt_a))
+ double d = pmt::pmt_to_double(pmt_c);
+
+\endcode
+
+
+\section dict Dictionaries
+
+PMT dictionaries and lists of key:value pairs. They have a
+well-defined interface for creating, adding, removing, and accessing
+items in the dictionary. Note that every operation that changes the
+dictionary both takes a PMT dictionary as an argument and returns a
+PMT dictionary. The dictionary used as an input is not changed and the
+returned dictionary is a new PMT with the changes made there.
+
+The following is a list of PMT dictionary functions. Click through to
+get more information on what each does.
+
+- bool pmt::pmt_is_dict(const pmt_t &obj)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_make_dict()
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_dict_add(const pmt_t &dict, const pmt_t &key, const pmt_t &value)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_dict_delete(const pmt_t &dict, const pmt_t &key)
+- bool pmt::pmt_dict_has_key(const pmt_t &dict, const pmt_t &key)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_dict_ref(const pmt_t &dict, const pmt_t &key, const pmt_t &not_found)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_dict_items(pmt_t dict)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_dict_keys(pmt_t dict)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_dict_values(pmt_t dict)
+
+This example does some basic manipulations of PMT dictionaries in
+Python. Notice that we pass the dictionary \a a and return the results
+to \a a. This still creates a new dictionary and removes the local
+reference to the old dictionary. This just keeps our number of
+variables small.
+
+\code
+from gruel import pmt
+
+key0 = pmt.pmt_intern("int")
+val0 = pmt.pmt_from_long(123)
+val1 = pmt.pmt_from_long(234)
+
+key1 = pmt.pmt_intern("double")
+val2 = pmt.pmt_from_double(5.4321)
+
+# Make an empty dictionary
+a = pmt.pmt_make_dict()
+
+# Add a key:value pair to the dictionary
+a = pmt.pmt_dict_add(a, key0, val0)
+pmt.pmt_print(a)
+
+# Add a new value to the same key;
+# new dict will still have one item with new value
+a = pmt.pmt_dict_add(a, key0, val1)
+pmt.pmt_print(a)
+
+# Add a new key:value pair
+a = pmt.pmt_dict_add(a, key1, val2)
+pmt.pmt_print(a)
+
+# Test if we have a key, then delete it
+print pmt.pmt_dict_has_key(a, key1)
+a = pmt.pmt_dict_delete(a, key1)
+print pmt.pmt_dict_has_key(a, key1)
+
+ref = pmt.pmt_dict_ref(a, key0, pmt.PMT_NIL)
+pmt.pmt_print(ref)
+
+# The following should never print
+if(pmt.pmt_dict_has_key(a, key0) and pmt.pmt_eq(ref, pmt.PMT_NIL)):
+ print "Trouble! We have key0, but it returned PMT_NIL"
+\endcode
+
+\section vectors Vectors
+
+PMT vectors come in two forms: vectors of PMTs and vectors of uniform
+data. The standard PMT vector is a vector of PMTs, and each PMT can be
+of any internal type. On the other hand, uniform PMTs are of a
+specific data type which come in the form:
+
+- (u)int8
+- (u)int16
+- (u)int32
+- (u)int64
+- float32
+- float64
+- complex 32 (std::complex<float>)
+- complex 64 (std::complex<double>)
+
+That is, the standard sizes of integers, floats, and complex types of
+both signed and unsigned.
+
+Vectors have a well-defined interface that allows us to make, set,
+get, and fill them. We can also get the length of a vector with
+pmt::pmt_length.
+
+For standard vectors, these functions look like:
+
+- bool pmt::pmt_is_vector(pmt_t x)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_make_vector(size_t k, pmt_t fill)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_vector_ref(pmt_t vector, size_t k)
+- void pmt::pmt_vector_set(pmt_t vector, size_t k, pmt_t obj)
+- void pmt::pmt_vector_fill(pmt_t vector, pmt_t fill)
+
+Uniform vectors have the same types of functions, but they are data
+type-dependent. The following list tries to explain them where you
+substitute the specific data type prefix for \a dtype (prefixes being:
+u8, u16, u32, u64, s8, s16, s32, s64, f32, f64, c32, c64).
+
+- bool pmt::pmt_is_(dtype)vector(pmt_t x)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_make_(dtype)vector(size_t k, (dtype) fill)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_init_(dtype)vector(size_t k, const (dtype*) data)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_init_(dtype)vector(size_t k, const std::vector<dtype> data)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_(dtype)vector_ref(pmt_t vector, size_t k)
+- void pmt::pmt_(dtype)vector_set(pmt_t vector, size_t k, (dtype) x)
+- const dtype* pmt::pmt_(dtype)vector_elements(pmt_t vector, size_t &len)
+- dtype* pmt::pmt_(dtype)vector_writable_elements(pmt_t vector, size_t &len)
+
+\b Note: We break the contract with vectors. The 'set' functions
+actually change the data underneath. It is important to keep track of
+the implications of setting a new value as well as accessing the
+'vector_writable_elements' data. Since these are mostly standard data
+types, sets and gets are atomic, so it is unlikely to cause a great
+deal of harm. But it's only unlikely, not impossible. Best to use
+mutexes whenever manipulating data in a vector.
+
+
+\subsection blob BLOB
+
+A BLOB is a 'binary large object' type. In PMT's, this is actually
+just a thin wrapper around a u8vector.
+
+\section pairs Pairs
+
+Pairs are inspired by LISP 'cons' data types, so you will find the
+language here comes from LISP. A pair is just a pair of PMT
+objects. They are manipulated using the following functions:
+
+- bool pmt::pmt_is_pair (const pmt_t &obj): Return true if obj is a pair, else false
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_cons(const pmt_t &x, const pmt_t &y): construct new pair
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_car(const pmt_t &pair): get the car of the pair (first object)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_cdr(const pmt_t &pair): get the cdr of the pair (second object)
+- void pmt::pmt_set_car(pmt_t pair, pmt_t value): Stores value in the car field
+- void pmt::pmt_set_cdr(pmt_t pair, pmt_t value): Stores value in the cdr field
+
+
+\section serdes Serializing and Deserializing
+
+It is often important to hide the fact that we are working with PMTs
+to make them easier to transmit, store, write to file, etc. The PMT
+library has methods to serialize data into a string buffer or a
+string and then methods to deserialize the string buffer or string
+back into a PMT. We use this extensively in the metadata files (see
+\ref page_metadata).
+
+- bool pmt::pmt_serialize(pmt_t obj, std::streambuf &sink)
+- std::string pmt::pmt_serialize_str(pmt_t obj)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_deserialize(std::streambuf &source)
+- pmt_t pmt::pmt_deserialize_str(std::string str)
+
+For example, we will serialize the data above to make it into a string
+ready to be written to a file and then deserialize it back to its
+original PMT.
+
+\code
+from gruel import pmt
+
+key0 = pmt.pmt_intern("int")
+val0 = pmt.pmt_from_long(123)
+
+key1 = pmt.pmt_intern("double")
+val1 = pmt.pmt_from_double(5.4321)
+
+# Make an empty dictionary
+a = pmt.pmt_make_dict()
+
+# Add a key:value pair to the dictionary
+a = pmt.pmt_dict_add(a, key0, val0)
+a = pmt.pmt_dict_add(a, key1, val1)
+
+pmt.pmt_print(a)
+
+ser_str = pmt.pmt_serialize_str(a)
+print ser_str
+
+b = pmt.pmt_deserialize_str(ser_str)
+pmt.pmt_print(b)
+
+\endcode
+
+The line where we 'print ser_str' will print and parts will be
+readable, but the point of serializing is not to make a human-readable
+string. This is only done here as a test.
+
+
+\section printing Printing
+
+We have used the pmt::pmt_print function in these examples to nicely
+print the contents of a PMT. Another way to print the contents is
+using the overloaded "<<" operator with a stream buffer object. In
+C++, we can inline print the contents of a PMT like:
+
+\code
+pmt::pmt_t a pmt::pmt_from_double(1.0);
+std::cout << "The PMT a contains " << a << std::endl;
+\endcode
+
+*/