QLibrary Class Reference

The QLibrary class loads shared libraries at runtime. More...

 #include <QLibrary>

Inherits: QObject.

Note: All functions in this class are reentrant.

Public Types

enum LoadHint { ResolveAllSymbolsHint, ExportExternalSymbolsHint, LoadArchiveMemberHint }
flags LoadHints

Properties

Public Functions

QLibrary ( QObject * parent = 0 )
QLibrary ( const QString & fileName, QObject * parent = 0 )
QLibrary ( const QString & fileName, int verNum, QObject * parent = 0 )
QLibrary ( const QString & fileName, const QString & version, QObject * parent = 0 )
~QLibrary ()
QString errorString () const
QString fileName () const
bool isLoaded () const
bool load ()
LoadHints loadHints () const
void * resolve ( const char * symbol )
void setFileName ( const QString & fileName )
void setFileNameAndVersion ( const QString & fileName, int versionNumber )
void setFileNameAndVersion ( const QString & fileName, const QString & version )
void setLoadHints ( LoadHints hints )
bool unload ()
  • 29 public functions inherited from QObject

Static Public Members

bool isLibrary ( const QString & fileName )
void * resolve ( const QString & fileName, const char * symbol )
void * resolve ( const QString & fileName, int verNum, const char * symbol )
void * resolve ( const QString & fileName, const QString & version, const char * symbol )
  • 7 static public members inherited from QObject

Additional Inherited Members

  • 1 public slot inherited from QObject
  • 1 signal inherited from QObject
  • 8 protected functions inherited from QObject

Detailed Description

The QLibrary class loads shared libraries at runtime.

An instance of a QLibrary object operates on a single shared object file (which we call a "library", but is also known as a "DLL"). A QLibrary provides access to the functionality in the library in a platform independent way. You can either pass a file name in the constructor, or set it explicitly with setFileName(). When loading the library, QLibrary searches in all the system-specific library locations (e.g. LD_LIBRARY_PATH on Unix), unless the file name has an absolute path. If the file cannot be found, QLibrary tries the name with different platform-specific file suffixes, like ".so" on Unix, ".dylib" on the Mac, or ".dll" on Windows and Symbian. This makes it possible to specify shared libraries that are only identified by their basename (i.e. without their suffix), so the same code will work on different operating systems.

The most important functions are load() to dynamically load the library file, isLoaded() to check whether loading was successful, and resolve() to resolve a symbol in the library. The resolve() function implicitly tries to load the library if it has not been loaded yet. Multiple instances of QLibrary can be used to access the same physical library. Once loaded, libraries remain in memory until the application terminates. You can attempt to unload a library using unload(), but if other instances of QLibrary are using the same library, the call will fail, and unloading will only happen when every instance has called unload().

A typical use of QLibrary is to resolve an exported symbol in a library, and to call the C function that this symbol represents. This is called "explicit linking" in contrast to "implicit linking", which is done by the link step in the build process when linking an executable against a library.

Note: In Symbian resolving symbols using their names is supported only if the library is built as STDDLL. Otherwise ordinals must be used. Also, in Symbian the path of the library is ignored and system default library location is always used.

The following code snippet loads a library, resolves the symbol "mysymbol", and calls the function if everything succeeded. If something goes wrong, e.g. the library file does not exist or the symbol is not defined, the function pointer will be 0 and won't be called.

 QLibrary myLib("mylib");
 typedef void (*MyPrototype)();
 MyPrototype myFunction = (MyPrototype) myLib.resolve("mysymbol");
 if (myFunction)
     myFunction();

The symbol must be exported as a C function from the library for resolve() to work. This means that the function must be wrapped in an extern "C" block if the library is compiled with a C++ compiler. On Windows, this also requires the use of a dllexport macro; see resolve() for the details of how this is done. For convenience, there is a static resolve() function which you can use if you just want to call a function in a library without explicitly loading the library first:

 typedef void (*MyPrototype)();
 MyPrototype myFunction =
         (MyPrototype) QLibrary::resolve("mylib", "mysymbol");
 if (myFunction)
     myFunction();

See also QPluginLoader.

Member Type Documentation

enum QLibrary::LoadHint
flags QLibrary::LoadHints

This enum describes the possible hints that can be used to change the way libraries are handled when they are loaded. These values indicate how symbols are resolved when libraries are loaded, and are specified using the setLoadHints() function.

ConstantValueDescription
QLibrary::ResolveAllSymbolsHint0x01Causes all symbols in a library to be resolved when it is loaded, not simply when resolve() is called.
QLibrary::ExportExternalSymbolsHint0x02Exports unresolved and external symbols in the library so that they can be resolved in other dynamically-loaded libraries loaded later.
QLibrary::LoadArchiveMemberHint0x04Allows the file name of the library to specify a particular object file within an archive file. If this hint is given, the filename of the library consists of a path, which is a reference to an archive file, followed by a reference to the archive member.

The LoadHints type is a typedef for QFlags<LoadHint>. It stores an OR combination of LoadHint values.

See also loadHints.

Property Documentation

fileName : QString

This property holds the file name of the library.

We recommend omitting the file's suffix in the file name, since QLibrary will automatically look for the file with the appropriate suffix (see isLibrary()).

When loading the library, QLibrary searches in all system-specific library locations (e.g. LD_LIBRARY_PATH on Unix), unless the file name has an absolute path. After loading the library successfully, fileName() returns the fully-qualified file name of the library, including the full path to the library if one was given in the constructor or passed to setFileName().

For example, after successfully loading the "GL" library on Unix platforms, fileName() will return "libGL.so". If the file name was originally passed as "/usr/lib/libGL", fileName() will return "/usr/lib/libGL.so".

Note: In Symbian the path portion of the fileName is ignored.

Access functions:

QString fileName () const
void setFileName ( const QString & fileName )

loadHints : LoadHints

This property holds give the load() function some hints on how it should behave.

You can give some hints on how the symbols are resolved. Usually, the symbols are not resolved at load time, but resolved lazily, (that is, when resolve() is called). If you set the loadHint to ResolveAllSymbolsHint, then all symbols will be resolved at load time if the platform supports it.

Setting ExportExternalSymbolsHint will make the external symbols in the library available for resolution in subsequent loaded libraries.

If LoadArchiveMemberHint is set, the file name is composed of two components: A path which is a reference to an archive file followed by the second component which is the reference to the archive member. For instance, the fileName libGL.a(shr_64.o) will refer to the library shr_64.o in the archive file named libGL.a. This is only supported on the AIX platform.

The interpretation of the load hints is platform dependent, and if you use it you are probably making some assumptions on which platform you are compiling for, so use them only if you understand the consequences of them.

By default, none of these flags are set, so libraries will be loaded with lazy symbol resolution, and will not export external symbols for resolution in other dynamically-loaded libraries.

Access functions:

LoadHints loadHints () const
void setLoadHints ( LoadHints hints )

Member Function Documentation

QLibrary::QLibrary ( QObject * parent = 0 )

Constructs a library with the given parent.

QLibrary::QLibrary ( const QString & fileName, QObject * parent = 0 )

Constructs a library object with the given parent that will load the library specified by fileName.

We recommend omitting the file's suffix in fileName, since QLibrary will automatically look for the file with the appropriate suffix in accordance with the platform, e.g. ".so" on Unix, ".dylib" on Mac OS X, and ".dll" on Windows. (See fileName.)

Note: In Symbian the path portion of the fileName is ignored.

QLibrary::QLibrary ( const QString & fileName, int verNum, QObject * parent = 0 )

Constructs a library object with the given parent that will load the library specified by fileName and major version number verNum. Currently, the version number is ignored on Windows and Symbian.

We recommend omitting the file's suffix in fileName, since QLibrary will automatically look for the file with the appropriate suffix in accordance with the platform, e.g. ".so" on Unix, ".dylib" on Mac OS X, and ".dll" on Windows. (See fileName.)

Note: In Symbian the path portion of the fileName is ignored.

QLibrary::QLibrary ( const QString & fileName, const QString & version, QObject * parent = 0 )

Constructs a library object with the given parent that will load the library specified by fileName and full version number version. Currently, the version number is ignored on Windows and Symbian.

We recommend omitting the file's suffix in fileName, since QLibrary will automatically look for the file with the appropriate suffix in accordance with the platform, e.g. ".so" on Unix, ".dylib" on Mac OS X, and ".dll" on Windows. (See fileName.)

Note: In Symbian the path portion of the fileName is ignored.

QLibrary::~QLibrary ()

Destroys the QLibrary object.

Unless unload() was called explicitly, the library stays in memory until the application terminates.

See also isLoaded() and unload().

QString QLibrary::errorString () const

Returns a text string with the description of the last error that occurred. Currently, errorString will only be set if load(), unload() or resolve() for some reason fails.

This function was introduced in Qt 4.2.

bool QLibrary::isLibrary ( const QString & fileName ) [static]

Returns true if fileName has a valid suffix for a loadable library; otherwise returns false.

PlatformValid suffixes
Windows.dll, .DLL
Unix/Linux.so
AIX.a
HP-UX.sl, .so (HP-UXi)
Mac OS X.dylib, .bundle, .so
Symbian.dll

Trailing versioning numbers on Unix are ignored.

bool QLibrary::isLoaded () const

Returns true if the library is loaded; otherwise returns false.

See also load().

bool QLibrary::load ()

Loads the library and returns true if the library was loaded successfully; otherwise returns false. Since resolve() always calls this function before resolving any symbols it is not necessary to call it explicitly. In some situations you might want the library loaded in advance, in which case you would use this function.

See also unload().

void * QLibrary::resolve ( const char * symbol )

Returns the address of the exported symbol symbol. The library is loaded if necessary. The function returns 0 if the symbol could not be resolved or if the library could not be loaded.

Example:

 typedef int (*AvgFunction)(int, int);

 AvgFunction avg = (AvgFunction) library->resolve("avg");
 if (avg)
     return avg(5, 8);
 else
     return -1;

The symbol must be exported as a C function from the library. This means that the function must be wrapped in an extern "C" if the library is compiled with a C++ compiler. On Windows you must also explicitly export the function from the DLL using the __declspec(dllexport) compiler directive, for example:

 extern "C" MY_EXPORT int avg(int a, int b)
 {
     return (a + b) / 2;
 }

with MY_EXPORT defined as

 #ifdef Q_WS_WIN
 #define MY_EXPORT __declspec(dllexport)
 #else
 #define MY_EXPORT
 #endif

Note: In Symbian resolving with symbol names works only if the loaded library was built as STDDLL. Otherwise, the ordinals must be used.

void * QLibrary::resolve ( const QString & fileName, const char * symbol ) [static]

This is an overloaded function.

Loads the library fileName and returns the address of the exported symbol symbol. Note that fileName should not include the platform-specific file suffix; (see fileName). The library remains loaded until the application exits.

The function returns 0 if the symbol could not be resolved or if the library could not be loaded.

Note: In Symbian resolving with symbol names works only if the loaded library was built as STDDLL. Otherwise, the ordinals must be used.

See also resolve().

void * QLibrary::resolve ( const QString & fileName, int verNum, const char * symbol ) [static]

This is an overloaded function.

Loads the library fileName with major version number verNum and returns the address of the exported symbol symbol. Note that fileName should not include the platform-specific file suffix; (see fileName). The library remains loaded until the application exits. verNum is ignored on Windows.

The function returns 0 if the symbol could not be resolved or if the library could not be loaded.

Note: In Symbian resolving with symbol names works only if the loaded library was built as STDDLL. Otherwise, the ordinals must be used.

See also resolve().

void * QLibrary::resolve ( const QString & fileName, const QString & version, const char * symbol ) [static]

This is an overloaded function.

Loads the library fileName with full version number version and returns the address of the exported symbol symbol. Note that fileName should not include the platform-specific file suffix; (see fileName). The library remains loaded until the application exits. version is ignored on Windows.

The function returns 0 if the symbol could not be resolved or if the library could not be loaded.

Note: In Symbian resolving with symbol names works only if the loaded library was built as STDDLL. Otherwise, the ordinals must be used.

This function was introduced in Qt 4.4.

See also resolve().

void QLibrary::setFileNameAndVersion ( const QString & fileName, int versionNumber )

Sets the fileName property and major version number to fileName and versionNumber respectively. The versionNumber is ignored on Windows and Symbian.

Note: In Symbian the path portion of the fileName is ignored.

See also setFileName().

void QLibrary::setFileNameAndVersion ( const QString & fileName, const QString & version )

Sets the fileName property and full version number to fileName and version respectively. The version parameter is ignored on Windows and Symbian.

Note: In Symbian the path portion of the fileName is ignored.

This function was introduced in Qt 4.4.

See also setFileName().

bool QLibrary::unload ()

Unloads the library and returns true if the library could be unloaded; otherwise returns false.

This happens automatically on application termination, so you shouldn't normally need to call this function.

If other instances of QLibrary are using the same library, the call will fail, and unloading will only happen when every instance has called unload().

Note that on Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), dynamic libraries cannot be unloaded.

See also resolve() and load().

Notes provided by the Qt Community

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