TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Aug 98 Factory Floor

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 8
Column Tag: From The Factory Floor

The New C++ Standard: Locales

by by Howard Hinnant and Dave Mark, ©1998 by Metrowerks, Inc., all rights reserved.

In last month's column, we took our first pass at the Final Draft International Standard for C++. Specifically, we covered the topic of namespaces. In this month's column, Howard Hinnant is back, and will take us through the concepts behind C++ locales.

Howard Hinnant is a software engineer on the MSL team at Metrowerks, and is responsible for the C++ and EC++ libraries. Howard is a refugee from the aerospace industry where FORTRAN still rules. He has extensive experience in scientific computing including C++ implementations of linear algebra, finite difference and finite element solvers.

Dave: What is a C++ locale and why would I want to use one?

Howard: A locale is a C++ class in the standard library that allows you to easily customize I/O so that users of your software feel at home, wherever that home may be. For example, let's say you're writing some high finance report software. This stuff is for executives, and you know how much they like their formatting. So when you print out ten thousand bucks, it has to look like:

$10,000.00

Ok, so you've put 9 months into this software, and your boss is really pleased with it. In fact, he/she likes it so much, they want to use it for the offices world wide. Except that the formatting needs to be customized for each country... (you did plan for this didn't you!). The French executives might want to see:

10.000,00 Franc

And the German executives might want to see:

10.000,00 Mark

Does this mean you need seperate formatting routines for every country? No. This is precisely what locale was meant to solve. In fact, with locale it is not difficult to have several formats current at the same time (think international client/server).

Dave: But wait a minute, US$10,000 is not equivalent to 10.000,00 German Marks!

Howard: Good point. An important thing to understand about locale is that it only helps you with formatting and I/O. Any calculations (like exchange rates) are totally up to you. This all might become more clear with a specific example. Let's say you wrote a class called Money in your killer app that looked something like:

class Money
{
public:
  Money(double amount) : amount_(100*amount) {}
  double to_double() const {return amount_;}
private:
  double amount_;
};

std::ostream& operator<< (std::ostream& os,
                        const Money& amount);

Your top level code might look like:

Money amount; // Your Money class
is >> amount; // input from stream (perhaps from US)
os << amount; // output to stream (perhaps to France)

Dave: How do these streams know which country to format for? Where is the formatting logic?

Howard: You (the programmer) do have to do some more work here. In the previous example, you have to "imbue" each stream with a locale that knows how to format your Money.

This might look like:

std::locale US_Locale(...);
is.imbue(US_Locale);
std::locale Fr_Locale(...);
os.imbue(Fr_Locale);

Dave: The "...": Is this an exercise left to the reader?

Howard: Always hated those! A locale consists of a collection of facets. Each facet has a specialized responsibility. One facet knows how to format money. We need to create a locale with a money-formatting-facet that knows how we want our Money formatted. Here is how you might write a French franc formatter:

class Fr_Moneypunct : public std::moneypunct<char, false>
{
protected:
 virtual char do_decimal_point() const {return ',';}
 virtual char do_thousands_sep() const {return '.';}
 virtual std::string do_curr_symbol() const
                          {return "Franc";}
 virtual pattern do_pos_format() const {
  pattern result = {{char(sign), char(value), char(space), 
char(symbol)}};
  return result;
 }
 virtual pattern do_neg_format() const {
  pattern result = {{char(sign), char(value), char(space), 
char(symbol)}};
  return result;
 }
};

Then you can install it in a locale with:

std::locale Fr_Locale(std::locale(), new Fr_Moneypunct);

That ought to do it. Ok, I know it may look a little unfamiliar, but you've got to admit, it's not much code.

Dave: Agreed. How about a little more detail?

Howard: The base class std::moneypunct is a standard facet. Its default behavior is to format US currency. However all of this behavior lives under virtual methods that are overridable. The behaviors which are most likely to be changed, are the most easily overridable. For example, changing the decimal point character to ',' is demonstrated above with the do_decimal_point method.

The do_pos_format and do_neg_format methods have the responsibility for dictating the relative position of the sign, value and currency symbols. The default order is "symbol, sign, none, value". A "none" means that there may be zero or more spaces. A "space" means that there are one or more spaces. In our example, it was not enough to change the currency symbol from "$" to "Franc", we also wanted it to be printed after the amount, instead of before. That is why we changed the pattern order to "sign, value, space, symbol".

There is a do_negative_sign() method that returns a string. The first character of this string gets put in the "sign" spot designated by the pattern returned from do_neg_format(). If the string has more than one character, the remaining characters get put at the end of the entire formatting sequence. Thus if do_negative_sign() returns "()", then negative amounts can be formatted as:

(10.000,00 Franc)

Dave: There's that 10.000,00 Franc again. Where does the exchange rate go in?

Howard: Let's take a closer look at our Money class. We could put the exchange logic as a method in there with a method called us_to_france:

class Money
{
public:
  Money(double amount) : amount_(100*amount) {}
  Money& us_to_france() {amount_ /= .1685; return *this;}
  double to_double() const {return amount_;}
private:
  double amount_;
};

So now, assuming you had read in US $10,000.00, you might print a French version like:

os << amount.us_to_france();

and "59.347,18 Franc" will be printed.

I'm going to throw my standard disclaimer in here: The Money class presented here is just to demo locale. I really haven't put any serious design thought into Money itself.

Dave: Ok, so we've created a customized locale, with a customized facet. How does our Money class make use of this machinery?

Howard: The work we've done so far will affect both input and output. To keep this discussion short, let's just look at the output routine for our example Money class:

std::ostream&
operator<< (std::ostream& os, const Money& amount)
{
  using namespace std;
  ostream::sentry ok(os);
  if (ok) 
  {
    const money_put<char>& fmt = use_facet<money_put<char> > (os.getloc());
    ios_base::fmtflags saveflags = os.flags();
    showbase(os);
    if (fmt.put(os, false, os, os.fill(), amount.to_double()).failed())
      os.setstate(ios_base::badbit);
    os.flags(saveflags);
  }
  return os;
}

The bad news is that this code may look strange to you. The good news is that it is pretty much boiler plate code. Most locale-savey output routines you write will look similar to this.

The first line with the sentry animal prepares the stream for output, and ensures that the stream is in good shape. Next the ostream is queried for its locale (which you earlier imbued). Then the locale is searched for its money_put facet via the global method use_facet. The money_put facet is a standard facet that will use your Fr_Moneypunct class through the magic of virtual functions. Finally, you simply ask the money_put facet to "put" your Money on the ostream. money_put knows how to handle amounts expressed as doubles or strings, so you must be able to convert to one of those. That is why the to_double method has been part of the Money class from the beginning.

Note that I've specialized Money to only output to narrow (char) streams. We could have easily templated everything on the character type in order to handle both narrow and wide streams. This is in fact what the standard library does.

Dave: Can you give me some other possibilities for locale?

Howard: I think space will prohibit us from discussing all the facets in this much detail, but I'll try to hit some highlights.

A collate facet is available for sorting characters. The default behavior is the case sensitive stuff you've come to know and love.

A collection of ctype facets wrap the functionality found in the C header <ctype.h> (and <wctype.h>).

Numeric facets control the formatting of both integers and floating point numbers (input and output). There are several similarities here with the monetary facets described above, including the ability to specify decimal point characters and thousands seperators.

A collection of time facets are available to help you format times and dates. If you need to read or write "janvier" instead of "January", you can do it here. CodeWarrior offers a timepunct facet similar to monepunct and numpunct. This facet is non-standard, but so common as to have become a defacto standard. This makes it much easier to customize the names of the days of the week, or the names of the months.

Dave: locale sounds both powerful and flexible. But I can still safely ignore it if I want to right?

Howard: Yes, the default locale will give you the traditional formatting that we are all accustomed to.

 
AAPL
$101.58
Apple Inc.
+0.00
MSFT
$46.52
Microsoft Corpora
+0.00
GOOG
$584.77
Google Inc.
+0.00

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Delivery Status 6.1.2 - Check delivery s...
Delivery Status displays delivery status of packages for a variety of shipment services. Can't wait for your packages to arrive? Don't waste your time checking the site constantly, just open this all... Read more
Mavericks Cache Cleaner 8.0.9 - Clear ca...
Mavericks Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. MCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
OneNote 15.2.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Apple Configurator 1.6 - Configure and d...
Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution. Three simple workflows let you prepare new iOS devices... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.16 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
OS X Server 3.2.1 - For OS X 10.9.5 Mave...
OS X Server is the next generation of Apple's award winning server software. Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, host... Read more
Apple Security Update 2014-004 - For OS...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/... Read more
OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 - The latest versi...
Apple OS X Mavericks is the latest release of the world's most advanced desktop operating system. Now free! With more than 200 new features, OS X Mavericks brings Maps and iBooks to the Mac,... Read more
iExplorer 3.5.0.0 - View and transfer al...
iExplorer is an iPhone browser for Mac lets you view the files on your iOS device. By using a drag and drop interface, you can quickly copy files and folders between your Mac and your iPhone or... Read more
BusyCal 2.6 - Powerful calendar app with...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

HipstaFox Review
HipstaFox Review By Jordan Minor on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FANTASTIC MR. FOXUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HipstaFox is a great single that makes players long for the whole album.   | Read more »
Ninja Raft (Games)
Ninja Raft 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** Special Launch Price ** "Ninja Raft is definitely the game to play if you’re into Tower Defense games and want to play something... | Read more »
Paste+ | Clipboard Action Widget (Produ...
Paste+ | Clipboard Action Widget 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Powerful clipboard widget for iOS 8. Reimagine what you can do with your clipboard! Paste+ is a... | Read more »
Agenda+ | Calendar & Reminder Widget...
Agenda+ | Calendar & Reminder Widget 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Best Calendar and Reminder Widget Ever for iOS 8 | Read more »
Leg·end·ar·y (Games)
Leg·end·ar·y 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Simple and yet complex. Leg•end•dar•y is a grid-based puzzle game based on numbers. Discover the adventure of Leg•end•dar•y and... | Read more »
KuaiBoard (formerly QuickBoard) (Utilit...
KuaiBoard (formerly QuickBoard) 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: KuaiBoard is currently 50% off for launch! Billing info. Signatures. Locations. KuaiBoard allows you to... | Read more »
Treasure Fetch - Adventure Time (Games)
Treasure Fetch - Adventure Time 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Adventure Time Treasure Fetch is a fresh take on the classic Snake game! STRETCHY JAKE Snake your way... | Read more »
Light in the Dark (Games)
Light in the Dark 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: Be enlightened by this delightful puzzle game that has never before seen the light of day! "A physics and color-blending... | Read more »
Transmit iOS (Utilities)
Transmit iOS 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: >> LAUNCH SPECIAL: Transmit iOS is ONLY $10 for a LIMITED TIME. << THE #1 FILE TRANSFER CLIENT FOR THE MAC NOW... | Read more »
Minuum - The Little Keyboard for Big Fin...
Minuum - The Little Keyboard for Big Fingers 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Type faster, see more of your screen, and take control of autocorrect with Minuum: the little... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

16GB iPad Air on sale for $449, save $50
Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air WiFi on sale for $449 on their online store for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup. Their price represents a $50 savings over standard... Read more
13-inch 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099,...
B&H Photo has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099.99. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Toshiba Introduces TransMemory ID High-Speed...
Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the TransMemory ID USB 3.0 Flash Drive, a simpler storage solution for people who... Read more
New iPads and OS X Yosemite Release Coming Oc...
The DailyDot’s Micah Singleton reports that Apple is planning to hold its next product announcement event on Oct. 21, at which it will unveil the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and release a final build... Read more
Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Cross-Platfor...
Logitech has an enviable track record of making some of the best computer keyboards and mice. At least in my estimation, the best freestanding keyboards I’ve ever used have been Logitech units,... Read more
Roundup of Apple refurbished iPad Airs and iP...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
Sprint offers 16GB iPad mini for $199.99 with...
Sprint is offering 1st generation 16GB iPad minis for $199.99 with a 2-year service agreement. Standard MSRP for this iPad is $429. Their price is the lowest available for this model. Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini remains on sale for $549, sav...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro offered for $100 off M...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.