PrydeWorX Library

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PrydeWorX Library Logo
PrydeWorX Library Logo

Welcome to the PrydeWorX Library of C++ Tools, Utilities and Workers.
The pwxLib is a small library of tools and utilities and aims at making your life as a C++ programmer easier.
The library is published under MIT license, which is included both at the bottom of this page and in the dedicated LICENSE file.

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To get the latest release and the current source code of the PrydeWorX Library, please visit the pwxLib page on GitHub.

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The only thing needed to use the library is to place

#include <pwxlib.h>

in any file you wish to use any of its workers, tools or utilities in. Alternatively you can include the relevant header for the worker, tool or utility you wish to use directly. The descriptions below also list the relevant header you have to include if you do not wish to include this one-for-all header.

Everything is placed in the namespace pwx.

Advantages of including pwxlib.h

If you include this one-for-all header, you do not have to care about anything. Everything is simply available through the pwxnamespace.

Advantages of including individual headers

Including pwxlib.h adds over 60k lines through the preprocessor. This is not exactly the best method to increase compiler speed. All containers and many tools are template based, therefore things tend to get lengthy.

Although many of these lines come from standard headers, it might be better to only include what you really need. To help you with this, doxygen is utilized by default by the build system to create an HTML API documentation.
Further more the overviews below show which header to include for what.

Feeding you compiler/linker

To get the correct compiler and linker flags, you can utilize pkg-config. The package is called pwxlib.
For the correct compiler flags, use pkg-config --cflags pwxlib.

For the correct linker flags, use pkg-config --libs pwxlib.


The project is called “PrydeWorX Library”, and the short form is “pwxLib”. But a library filename would be “”, which just looks stupid, so the second “lib” is simply omitted.

So while you include “pwxlib.h”, you link against “libpwx”. Luckily this is not as bad as it looks, as you can omit the leading “lib”, and the linker will do the right thing anyway.

Build and Install

Building and installation is done using meson and ninja. For simpler usage a configure script and a Makefile are provided.

To see all configuration options, you can use either

./configure --help or meson configure build.

In the latter case the build directory must be prepared first by using

meson build.

The text file meson_options.txt also contains some more information on the project options.

The configuration by default installs in /usr and attempts to build the HTML API documentation using doxygen.

To build the library do:

ninja -C build or make all

To install the library do:

ninja -C build install or make install


To contribute to the PrydeWorX Library, fork the current source code from gitHub. Send a pull request for the changes you like.

If you want to report bugs, please do so at the pwxlib issue tracker, that is on github, too.


#include <pwxlib/pwx_basic.h>

This file adds all basic types, classes and functions that are used throughout the library. The following few might be useful for you, too.


#include <pwxCException.h>

This is a basic exception class with tracing functionality. It is meant to provide a tracing exception to get as much information as possible.

To make the most out of this system, the file pwxlib/pwx_macros.h provides many macros to try, catch and throw further exceptions with tracing information.


#include <pwxCLockable.h>

This is a base class to make objects lockable via atomic_flag and lock counting.
CLockable implements a recursive behavior. Every call to lock() by the current lock owner is counted. To unlock, the same amount of calls of the unlock() method is required.

There are two methods that might help out of tight spots, enabling otherwise impossible techniques:

  1. The method clear_locks() will completely unlock, no matter how often lock() was called.
  2. Further a thread can ask the object with lock_count() how many locks it currently holds.

Please keep in mind, that your design might be flawed if you find yourself in a situation in which you really need either method.


#include <pwxCLockGuard.h>

This is a RAII lock guard to lock/unlock one, two or three objects within its constructor/destructor.
There are the following advantages when using this class instead of doing locks directly:

  1. Locking is done in the ctor, unlocking in the dtor automatically.
  2. The class is exception free and can handle null pointers.
  3. The guard can be assigned or copied, making overlapping locks easy to do.
  4. If it is not possible to wait for the destructor, the lock(s) can be unlocked by resetting to nullptr.

Debug logging

#include <pwx_debug.h>

Besides many useful macros for debugging possible multi-threading issues, this header also declares the debug_log() and debug_err() functions.

Everything in here does nothing unless LIBPWX_DEBUG or PWX_THREADDEBUG are defined, so they can be used everywhere and stay out of the way in release builds.

General purpose macros

#include <pwx_macros.h>

In here are a lot useful macros for various tasks. All of these are prefixed with “PWX_“. The four most prominent groups are the following:

  1. TRY
    These macros help with try-catch blocks.
  2. THROW
    Special macros for throwing exceptions.
  3. CATCH
    Special macros for catching exceptions.The specialty of these macros is to utilize the CException class and its derivatives to build stack traces.
  4. LOCK
    Many useful macros for locking, guarding and unlocking.

Please have a look at the header for more information.


#include <pwxlib/pwx_containers.h>

This file adds all containers provided by the library. As all containers are template based, you might wish to limit the inclusion to what you actually use.

Important Note: Please keep in mind that these containers where originally designed, when C++11 wasn’t even a dream. The standard containers back then weren’t good at handling pointers, and objects had to be copied into them. Therefore the pwxLib containers are as minimal as possible, offering no special features like iterators.

Further, any application using multiple threads to share a container had to use a global lock via mutex or semaphore whenever a thread wanted to actually work with the shared container.

For this reason all pwxLib containers do micro-locking using spinlocks by themselves. Global “grand” locks are not needed.

The first reason for using the pwxLib containers is void these days, as we have move semantics. The performance difference should be minimal.

But the second reason still holds. The C++ standard says for the standard containers:

if there is one writer, there shall be no more writers and no readers

Nevertheless you really should be absolutely sure, that you really need several threads to be able to work with a shared container without imposing global locks. And only then you should use the pwxLib containers, as you will surely miss the extra features the standard containers offer; more so since C++14.

The containers are, in alphabetical order:


#include <pwxTChainHash.h>

A chained hash container for variable types.


#include "pwxTDoubleList.h"

A simple doubly linked list for variable types.


#include "pwxTDoubleRing.h"

A simple doubly linked ring (head and tail are connected) for variable types.


#include "pwxTOpenHash.h"

An open hash container for variable types. This container features “Robin Hood Hashing”, which greatly reduces secondary clustering.


#include "pwxTQueue.h"

A queue container, pushes to tail, pops from head.


#include "pwxTSet.h"

A set is a group of elements, where each element exists exactly once. Common set arithmetics like detecting subsets, building intersections, differences and unions are supported.


#include "pwxTSingleList.h"

A simple singly linked list for variable types.


#include "pwxTSingleRing.h"

A simple singly linked ring (head and tail are connected) for variable types.


#include "pwxTStack.h"

A stack container, pushes to tail, pops from tail.


#include <pwxlib/pwx_tools.h>

Here you can find various tools helping with small tasks.

Math Helpers

#include <pwxlib/pwxMathHelpers.h>

This file adds some tools for various mathematical tasks like handling floating point comparison, calculating distances and working with degrees.

Note: The code handling floating point comparison is inspired by Bruce Dawson’s article “Comparing Floating Point Numbers, 2012 Edition

  1. template struct sFloatPoint
    This template can be used to represent floating point numbers, supporting floatdouble and long double.
  2. bool areAlmostEqual(lhs, rhs)
    Instead of disabling warnings about floating point comparison, this function can be used to utilize the sFloatPoint struct template for a more exact comparison, supporting floatdouble and long double.
  3. absDistance()
    This function can be used to calculate the normalized distance of two points in 2D or 3D space.
  4. degToRad()
    Simple function to calculate the radians out of a given degree.
  5. getNormalizedDegree()
    Simple function to normalize any degree into 0 <= result < 360.

Stream Helpers

#include <pwxlib/pwxStreamHelpers.h>

This file adds some tools to make working with streams easier.

  1. CFormat, CAdjLeft, CAdjRight
    These are simple helper classes to format numerical output on streams.
  2. cropShell()
    Delete shell representations out of a string.
  3. forwardTo()
    This function will forward the given ifstream until a) eof() is reached, or b) the wanted value is found.
  4. ltrim()
    Delete all newline, carriage return, tabs and spaces at the beginning of a string.
  5. makeTemp()
    This method is a wrapper to use mkstemp() with ofstream. Furthermore it ensures, that the template you provide is safe.
  6. rtrim()
    Delete all newline, carriage return, tabs and spaces at the end of a string.
  7. readNextValue()
    This function extracts a possibly spearated value from an ifstream.
  8. skipLineBreak()
    Skip the following line break(s) and carriage return(s) on an ifstream.
  9. tabToSpace()
    Convert all tabs in a string to spaces.
  10. to_<type>()
    This is a group of templated functions to convert into various other types. Please have a look in the header or the HTML documentation, as the list is rather long.
  11. trim()
    Delete all newline, carriage return, tabs and spaces at the beginning and at the end of a string.


#include <pwxlib/pwx_utils.h

Currently only one utility class exists, but more are planned.


#include <pwxlib/pwxCWaveColor.h>

This is a utility class to work with the frequencies any RGB color is made of.

The main idea of this class is, to build an instance out of RGB values. The resulting frequencies can be modified by various effects, like Doppler or gravitation, and then mixed back into a resulting RGB color on demand.

Instead of using RGB colors, an empty instance can be used and filled with RGB colors or set to a specific wavelength or frequency.

Important: Wavelengths are considered to be nanometers and frequencies are considered to be gigahertz by the methods of this class.


#include <pwxlib/pwx_workers.h

When starting your program, the library will instantiate the following global workers. You can use them from anywhere in your program.

pwx::PAH – The [P]rogram [A]rgument [H]andler

#include <pwxlib/pwx_worker_PAH.h

This is a handler for command line arguments. The usage is quite simple.

You can instantiate your own instance using the CArgHandler class yourself.

#include <pwxLib/pwxCArgHandler.h>

PAH usage overview

Call addArg() for each argument your program should support. Use addPassthrough() if command line arguments must be preserved for later distribution to another program.

Be aware, though, that passed arguments are malloc’d C-Strings that you have to free yourself.

Call parseArgs(argc, argv) to have them applied to your arguments. With getErrorCount() the number of errors encountered can be retrieved.

getError(nr) returns the error number for error number nr, while getErrorStr(nr) returns a string with an error text.

To print out your help text, you can use getHelpArg(arg) which returns a string with the short and/or long argument and parameter if needed. The method getHelpDesc(arg) returns a string with the argument descriptions.
Finally getHelpStr(arg, length) delivers a string with both the short and/or long argument plus parameter and description. This string is formatted using the found maximum lengths of short arguments, long arguments and parameter names according to the given line length. If the resulting string is too long, it will line break.

Finally clearArgs() frees all allocated memory.

Supported types:

The system directly supports bool[u]int{8,16,32,64}_tfloat[long] double and std::string targets.

If a different type is to be handled, a callback function must be installed that converts a const char* parameter into the target type and handles the processing.

Further it is advised to use a callback function if an argument should be able to receive and store more than one parameter.

For this reason there are two different kinds of the addArg() function. One to set a target type and a target pointer, the other to install a callback function.

Adding a target pointer using addArg()

There are some basic tests to ensure that the arg_target and the arg_type make sense. If they do not, bad things may happen, at least the argument might not do what you expect. This condition is tested with an assert.

Both the short argument and the long argument must be unique. If a given argument is already known to the handler, it will be ignored! This condition is tested with an assertion.

Either of the arguments arg_short or arg_long can be nullptr, but not both. If both are set to nullptr, the method does nothing! This condition is tested with an assertion.

If the creation of an argument target instance fails, a pwx::CException with the name “ArgTargetCreationFailed” is thrown. Argument targets are organized using pwx::TChainHash. If the creation of a hash element fails, the thrown exception has the name “ElementCreationFailed”.

If you need to pass arguments to a called process, add the marker separating the command line arguments from the called process arguments with the method addPassthrough() and not addArg().

Adding a callback function using addArg()

Here the same rules apply. The callback function is supposed to work as follows: The callback function will receive the long argument, if set, otherwise the short argument as a first parameter. The second parameter will be the command line parameter(s) that follow(s) the argument as a const char*.

pwx::RNG – The [R]andom [N]-Value [G]enerator

#include <pwxlib/pwx_worker_RNG.h

This worker can be used to produce unique or pseudo random numbers, hashes and names.

You can instantiate your own instance using the CRandom class yourself.

#include <pwxLib/pwxCRandom.h>

The following sets of functions are available.


These return random numbers as int32_tint64_tfloatdouble and long double. They can be used with one or to two arguments to get results between those two or from zero to the one argument.


Hash functions for integer arguments, mostly taken from Robert Jenkins and Thomas Wang and then adapted.
The hash functions for strings and floating point numbers are of my own invention. The result is always an uint32_t.


These are not the classic Perlin noise functions, but simple wrappers that transform hash() results into a -1.0 to 1.0 doublerange.


This set of functions produce pseudo random numbers using Simplex Noise in 2D, 3D and 4D.
The Simplex Noise algorithms have been invented by Ken Perlin. The actual implementation was inspired by the works of Stefan Gustavson


A method that returns a random name built by combining random letters into syllables.
Important: The returned name is a malloc’d C-String. You are responsible to free it after usage!

pwx::SCT – The [S]ine-/[C]osine-[T]able

#include <pwxlib/pwx_worker_SCT.h

This is exactly what it says, a simple “Sine-/Cosine-Table”.

Note: If you want the initial precision to be anything else than the default of -1, define PWX_INITIAL_SCT_PRECISION to the desired value when compiling pwxlib.

You can instantiate your own instance using the CSinCosTable class yourself.

#include <pwxLib/pwxCSinCosTable.h>

Calculating sine and cosine values does not take much time nowadays as FPUs get stronger every other day. On the other hand, if you need these values for on-the-fly calculations of something CPU-consuming like the display of 3D objects, this little bit of CPU/FPU resources might better be saved. Sin-/Cos-Tables with a precision of 3 use about 5.49 MiB RAM (total), and this is not very much either.

Tests show, that a Sin-/Cos-Tables with a precision of 3, meaning 2 x 360,000 values in two arrays, do not differ from on-the-fly calculation until the (worst case!) 6th digit. (Normally the first 7-8 digits are equal, which should be enough for most applications.

The default precision, however, is -1. There will be no pre-defined tables, but all sine and cosine values calculated on-the-fly. You still do not have to care about the range of your angles, and do not need to transform angles to radians.


Return the sine of a given angle.


Return the cosine of a given angle.


Get both sine and cosine of a given angle at once.


Set a new precision. The default is 3. Set this to -1 to enable life calculation.
Please be aware, that changing the precision means a recalculation of the sine and cosine arrays. Switching between -1 (life calculation) and the initial value does not trigger a re-initialization of the tables.


Get the current precision.


MIT License

Copyright (c) 2007-2018 Sven Eden

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


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