How do I convert between big-endian and little-endian values in C++?


How do I convert between big-endian and little-endian values in C++?

EDIT: For clarity, I have to translate binary data (double-precision floating point values and 32-bit and 64-bit integers) from one CPU architecture to another. This doesn't involve networking, so ntoh() and similar functions won't work here.

EDIT #2: The answer I accepted applies directly to compilers I'm targetting (which is why I chose it). However, there are other very good, more portable answers here.

3/15/2014 1:17:23 PM

Accepted Answer

If you're using Visual C++ do the following: You include intrin.h and call the following functions:

For 16 bit numbers:

unsigned short _byteswap_ushort(unsigned short value);

For 32 bit numbers:

unsigned long _byteswap_ulong(unsigned long value);

For 64 bit numbers:

unsigned __int64 _byteswap_uint64(unsigned __int64 value);

8 bit numbers (chars) don't need to be converted.

Also these are only defined for unsigned values they work for signed integers as well.

For floats and doubles it's more difficult as with plain integers as these may or not may be in the host machines byte-order. You can get little-endian floats on big-endian machines and vice versa.

Other compilers have similar intrinsics as well.

In GCC for example you can directly call:

int32_t __builtin_bswap32 (int32_t x)
int64_t __builtin_bswap64 (int64_t x)

(no need to include something). Afaik bits.h declares the same function in a non gcc-centric way as well.

16 bit swap it's just a bit-rotate.

Calling the intrinsics instead of rolling your own gives you the best performance and code density btw..

9/19/2008 8:36:44 PM

Simply put:

#include <climits>

template <typename T>
T swap_endian(T u)
    static_assert (CHAR_BIT == 8, "CHAR_BIT != 8");

        T u;
        unsigned char u8[sizeof(T)];
    } source, dest;

    source.u = u;

    for (size_t k = 0; k < sizeof(T); k++)
        dest.u8[k] = source.u8[sizeof(T) - k - 1];

    return dest.u;

usage: swap_endian<uint32_t>(42).

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