Agar 1.7 Manual



#include <agar/core.h>


In the Agar object system, each AG_Object(3) instance has a set of typed variables. Variables can be named (referenced by a string key) or anonymous (referenced by an AG_Variable pointer). Discrete types include:

Typed references (or "pointer variables") are also supported. Optionally, pointer variables can be configured to acquire an AG_Mutex(3) locking device prior to accessing the data. Base reference types include:


int AG_Defined (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

AG_Variable * AG_GetVariable (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, void **data)

AG_Variable * AG_AccessVariable (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

AG_Variable * AG_FetchVariable (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, enum ag_variable_type type)

AG_Variable * AG_FetchVariableOfType (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, enum ag_variable_type type)

void AG_LockVariable (AG_Variable *var)

void AG_UnlockVariable (AG_Variable *var)

AG_Size AG_PrintVariable (char *dst, AG_Size len, AG_Variable *var)

void AG_CopyVariable (AG_Variable *Vdst, const AG_Variable *Vsrc)

void AG_DerefVariable (AG_Variable *Vdst, const AG_Variable *Vsrc)

int AG_CompareVariables (const AG_Variable *a, const AG_Variable *b)

void AG_Unset (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_VariableSubst (AG_Object *obj, const char *s, char *dst, AG_Size dst_len)

AG_Defined() returns 1 if the variable name is defined under the object obj, otherwise it returns 0. The object obj must be locked.

AG_GetVariable() searches for a variable name under obj and returns a pointer to the corresponding AG_Variable in a locked condition. The caller must use AG_UnlockVariable() when finished accessing the variable data. A pointer to the data itself is also returned in the data argument. If the variable is undefined, a fatal exception is raised.

The AG_AccessVariable() function searches for a variable by name and returns the matching AG_Variable in a locked condition. The caller must use AG_UnlockVariable() when done accessing the data. Both AG_GetVariable() and AG_AccessVariable() return NULL if the named variable is undefined.

The AG_FetchVariable() function searches for a variable by name and type. If found, return the corresponding AG_Variable. If the variable is undefined then a new one of the specified type is automatically created and returned. Raises an exception if insufficient memory is available.

The AG_FetchVariableOfType() variant works like AG_FetchVariable(), except that if the variable exists and is of a different type, then it is mutated into type and returned.

Note: Unlike AG_GetVariable() and AG_AccessVariable(), AG_FetchVariable() and AG_FetchVariableOfType() do not return the AG_Variable locked.

AG_LockVariable() and AG_UnlockVariable() acquire and release any locking device associated with the specified variable.

AG_PrintVariable() generates a string from the value of variable var. The string is written to the fixed-size buffer dst (of size len). AG_PrintVariable() returns the length of the string it tried to create.

AG_CopyVariable() copies the contents of a variable from Vsrc to Vdst. Pointer references are preserved. Discrete strings are duplicated.

AG_DerefVariable() copies the contents of Vsrc to Vdst, converting pointer references to immediate values. Discrete strings are duplicated, and pointers to strings are turned into discrete strings.

The AG_CompareVariables() compares the value of two variables, returning zero if they are identical. If they differ, the difference between the two first differing bytes is returned. If AG_CompareVariables() encounters pointer types, they are not dereferenced (rather the value of the pointer itself is compared).

AG_Unset() deletes the named object-bound variable.

AG_VariableSubst() parses the string s for references of the form "$(foo)", and substitutes those references for the value of variable foo (under object obj). The substituted string is returned into fixed-size buffer dst, of size dst_size.


The following functions get and set variables of specific types.

AG_Get<Type>() returns the value of variable name under object obj with implicit dereferencing. If the variable is a pointer type then the value referenced by it is returned.

The AG_Init<Type>() functions initialize an AG_Variable structure var with the specified value val.

The AG_Set<Type>() functions set the value of variable name to the specified value val. Implicit dereferencing is done. If the variable does not exist, it is created.

The AG_Bind<Type>() functions create or modify a typed pointer variable. The argument pVal is a pointer to the actual value.

The AG_Bind<Type>Mp() variant accepts an extra lock argument, which is a mutex device (i.e., an AG_Mutex or pthread_mutex_t) to be acquired whenever the data referenced by pVal will be accessed.


Uint AG_GetUint (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitUint (AG_Variable *var, Uint val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetUint (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUintMp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

int AG_GetInt (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitInt (AG_Variable *var, int val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetInt (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, int val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindInt (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, int *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindIntMp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, int *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Uint8 AG_GetUint8 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitUint8 (AG_Variable *var, Uint8 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetUint8 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint8 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint8 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint8 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint8Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint8 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Sint8 AG_GetSint8 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitSint8 (AG_Variable *var, Sint8 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetSint8 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint8 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint8 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint8 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint8Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint8 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Uint16 AG_GetUint16 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitUint16 (AG_Variable *var, Uint16 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetUint16 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint16 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint16 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint16 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint16Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint16 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Sint16 AG_GetSint16 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitSint16 (AG_Variable *var, Sint16 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetSint16 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint16 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint16 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint16 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint16Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint16 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Uint32 AG_GetUint32 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitUint32 (AG_Variable *var, Uint32 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetUint32 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint32 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint32 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint32 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint32Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint32 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Sint32 AG_GetSint32 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitSint32 (AG_Variable *var, Sint32 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetSint32 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint32 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint32 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint32 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint32Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint32 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Uint64 AG_GetUint64 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitUint64 (AG_Variable *var, Uint64 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetUint64 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint64 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint64 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint64 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindUint64Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint64 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

Sint64 AG_GetSint64 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitSint64 (AG_Variable *var, Sint64 val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetSint64 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint64 val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint64 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint64 *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindSint64Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Sint64 *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

These functions provide an interface to both natural and fixed-size integers. The Uint64 and Sint64 types are only available if AG_HAVE_64BIT is defined.


float AG_GetFloat (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitFloat (AG_Variable *var, float val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetFloat (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, float val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFloat (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, float *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFloatMp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, float *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

double AG_GetDouble (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitDouble (AG_Variable *var, double val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetDouble (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, double val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindDouble (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, double *pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindDoubleMp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, double *pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

These functions provide an interface to floating-point numbers.


AG_Size AG_GetString (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, char *dst, AG_Size dst_size)

char * AG_GetStringDup (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

char * AG_GetStringP (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitString (AG_Variable *var, const char *s)

AG_Variable * AG_SetString (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, const char *s)

AG_Variable * AG_SetStringF (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, const char *fmt, ...)

AG_Variable * AG_SetStringNODUP (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, const char *s)

AG_Variable * AG_BindString (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, char *s, AG_Size len)

AG_Variable * AG_BindStringMp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, char *s, AG_Size len, AG_Mutex *lock)

These functions provide an interface to C strings. A string variable may contain an unbounded (auto-allocated) string or it may reference a bounded string (i.e., a string contained in a fixed-size buffer).

AG_GetString() copies the contents of a string variable to a fixed-size buffer dst of size dst_size and returns the number of bytes that would have been copied were dst_size unlimited.

AG_GetStringDup() returns a newly-allocated copy of the contents of a string variable. If the copy cannot be allocated, NULL is returned. The returned string should be freed with AG_Free(3) after use.

The potentially-unsafe AG_GetStringP() returns a direct pointer to the buffer containing the string. It is not free-threaded (so the object must be locked, and calls protected by AG_LockVariable()). Auto-allocated strings set by AG_SetString() may be accessed safely without locking as long as the parent object is locked.

AG_InitString() initializes a AG_Variable structure with the given string, which is copied from s.

AG_SetString() sets the value of a string variable (possibly creating a new variable). The s argument is a C string which will be either duplicated or copied. If the given variable exists and is a reference to a fixed-size buffer (i.e., it was generated by a AG_BindString() call), then the contents of s are copied to the the referenced buffer. If the buffer is too small to fit the string, the string is safely truncated. The s argument may be set to NULL (in which case further AG_GetString() calls will also return NULL). The AG_SetStringF() variant accepts a printf(3) style format string argument.

The potentially-unsafe AG_SetStringNODUP() variant accepts a pointer to a dynamically-allocated string buffer which will be free'd whenever the parent object is destroyed.

AG_BindString() creates or modifies a variable referencing a fixed-size string buffer s, of size len.


void * AG_GetPointer (AG_Object *obj, const char *name)

void AG_InitPointer (AG_Variable *var, void *val)

AG_Variable * AG_SetPointer (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, void *val)

AG_Variable * AG_BindPointer (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, void **pVal)

AG_Variable * AG_BindPointerMp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, void **pVal, AG_Mutex *lock)

These functions provide an interface to generic pointer types.


AG_Variable * AG_SetFn (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, AG_EventFn fn, const char *fmt, ...)

AG_SetFn() sets the value of a function pointer variable to the specified function fn and optional function arguments fmt. The object must be locked. See AG_Event(3) for more information on the argument format.


AG_Variable * AG_BindFlag (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint *pVal, Uint bitmask)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFlagMp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint *pVal, Uint bitmask, AG_Mutex *lock)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFlag8 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint8 *pVal, Uint8 bitmask)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFlag8Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint8 *pVal, Uint8 bitmask, AG_Mutex *lock)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFlag16 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint16 *pVal, Uint16 bitmask)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFlag16Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint16 *pVal, Uint16 bitmask, AG_Mutex *lock)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFlag32 (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint32 *pVal, Uint32 bitmask)

AG_Variable * AG_BindFlag32Mp (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, Uint32 *pVal, Uint32 bitmask, AG_Mutex *lock)

These functions provide an interface for binding to specific bits in integers. They follow the standard form, with an extra bitmask argument.


AG_Variable * AG_BindObject (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, AG_Object *varObj)

AG_Variable * AG_BindVariable (AG_Object *obj, const char *name, AG_Object *varObj, const char *varKey)

The AG_BindObject() function creates an Object->Object reference and hard dependency to an external object varObj and return a P_OBJECT type Variable on success. A hard dependency implies that if both obj and varObj share the same VFS then Agar will not allow varObj to be released from memory (or detached from the VFS) for as long as the reference exists.

The AG_BindVariable() function creates an Object->Variable reference to the variable called varKey under an external object varObj, returning a P_VARIABLE type Variable on success. Whenever this Variable is accessed, the external object will be locked and a copy of its variable varKey will be returned implicitely. Note: Circular references must be avoided.

AG_BindVariable() creates an anonymous Object->Object reference to varObj (which is also removed by AG_Unset() or AG_ObjectFreeVariables(3) when no more Object->Variable references make use of the object).

AG_BindObject() and AG_BindVariable() may fail and return NULL.


For the AG_Variable structure:
char name[AG_VARIABLE_NAME_MAX] Variable name (or "" = anonymous).
AG_VariableType type Variable type (see <core/variable.h>).
AG_Mutex *mutex Mutex protecting referenced data.
union ag_variable_data data Stored data (see <core/variable.h>).


The following code tests if "delete-me" is defined and if so, deletes it:
AG_Object *obj;

if (AG_Defined(obj, "delete-me"))
	AG_Unset(obj, "delete-me");

The following code atomically increments a variable "value", which may be either an int or a float:
IncrementValue(AG_Object *obj)
	AG_Variable *V;
	void *pValue;

	V = AG_AccessVariable(obj, "value", &pValue);

	switch (AG_VARIABLE_TYPE(V)) {
		(*(int *)pValue)++;
		(*(float *)pValue) += 1.0f;


The following code prints a string representation of a variable "value" to a fixed-size buffer buf:
char buf[32];
AG_Object *obj;
AG_Variable *V;

if ((V = AG_AccessVariable(obj, "value")) == NULL) {
AG_PrintVariable(buf, sizeof(buf), V);

AG_Verbose("value = %s\n", buf);

The following code atomically duplicates the contents of variable "copy-me" from one object objSrc to another object objDst:
AG_Object *objSrc, *objDst;
AG_Variable *Vsrc, *Vdst;

Vsrc = AG_AccessVariable(objSrc, "copy-me");
Vdst = AG_AccessVariable(objDst, "copy-me");

if (Vsrc == NULL || Vdst == NULL)

AG_CopyVariable(Vdst, Vsrc);

if (AG_CompareVariables(Vsrc, Vdst) == 0)
	AG_Verbose("Copy successful\n");


The following code uses object variable substitution to generate the string "Hello world!" into a fixed-size buffer:
char buf[32];
AG_Object *obj;

AG_SetString(obj, "the-string", "world");

AG_VariableSubst(obj, "Hello $(the-string)!",
    buf, sizeof(buf));

AG_Verbose("%s\n", buf);

AG_Variable is used to represent AG_Object(3) instance variables and arguments passed to AG_Event(3) callback routines.

In Agar-GUI, widgets use AG_Variable to reference data in memory (also known as "bindings"). Refer to the "BINDINGS" section of each widget's manual page for details.

In Agar-GUI, the "value" of an AG_Numerical(3) spinbutton can be tied to an int, a float a mutex-protected Uint32, etc.


AG_Intro(3), AG_Event(3), AG_Object(3)


The AG_Variable interface first appeared in Agar 1.3.4. It replaced the older "AG_Prop" interface and AG_Widget(3) specific bindings. In Agar 1.6.0, Object->Object references appeared and AG_GetVariableLocked() was renamed AG_AccessVariable(). Functions appeared in Agar 1.7.0.

ElectronTubeStore is © 2024 Julien Nadeau Carriere <>.
Support LibAgar: