Home Why cannot take address to a nested local function in 64 bit Delphi?
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Why cannot take address to a nested local function in 64 bit Delphi?

Sertac Akyuz
1#
Sertac Akyuz Published in 2012-04-15 14:09:44Z

AS. since closing related questions - more examples added below.

The below simple code (which finds a top-level Ie window and enumerates its children) works Ok with a '32-bit Windows' target platform. There's no problem with earlier versions of Delphi as well:

procedure TForm1.Button1Click(Sender: TObject);

  function EnumChildren(hwnd: HWND; lParam: LPARAM): BOOL; stdcall;
  const
    Server = 'Internet Explorer_Server';
  var
    ClassName: array[0..24] of Char;
  begin
    Assert(IsWindow(hwnd));            // <- Assertion fails with 64-bit
    GetClassName(hwnd, ClassName, Length(ClassName));
    Result := ClassName <> Server;
    if not Result then
      PUINT_PTR(lParam)^ := hwnd;
  end;

var
  Wnd, WndChild: HWND;
begin
  Wnd := FindWindow('IEFrame', nil); // top level IE
  if Wnd <> 0 then begin
    WndChild := 0;
    EnumChildWindows(Wnd, @EnumChildren, UINT_PTR(@WndChild));

    if WndChild <> 0 then
      ..    

end;


I've inserted an Assert to indicate where it fails with a '64-bit Windows' target platform. There's no problem with the code if I un-nest the callback.

I'm not sure if the erroneous values passed with the parameters are just garbage or are due to some mis-placed memory addresses (calling convention?). Is nesting callbacks infact something that I should never do in the first place? Or is this just a defect that I have to live with?

edit:
In response to David's answer, the same code having EnumChildWindows declared with a typed callback. Works fine with 32-bit:

(edit: The below does not really test what David says since I still used the '@' operator. It works fine with the operator, but if I remove it, it indeed does not compile unless I un-nest the callback)

type
  TFNEnumChild = function(hwnd: HWND; lParam: LPARAM): Bool; stdcall;

function TypedEnumChildWindows(hWndParent: HWND; lpEnumFunc: TFNEnumChild;
    lParam: LPARAM): BOOL; stdcall; external user32 name 'EnumChildWindows';

procedure TForm1.Button1Click(Sender: TObject);

  function EnumChildren(hwnd: HWND; lParam: LPARAM): BOOL; stdcall;
  const
    Server = 'Internet Explorer_Server';
  var
    ClassName: array[0..24] of Char;
  begin
    Assert(IsWindow(hwnd));            // <- Assertion fails with 64-bit
    GetClassName(hwnd, ClassName, Length(ClassName));
    Result := ClassName <> Server;
    if not Result then
      PUINT_PTR(lParam)^ := hwnd;
  end;

var
  Wnd, WndChild: HWND;
begin
  Wnd := FindWindow('IEFrame', nil); // top level IE
  if Wnd <> 0 then begin
    WndChild := 0;
    TypedEnumChildWindows(Wnd, @EnumChildren, UINT_PTR(@WndChild));

    if WndChild <> 0 then
      ..

end;

Actually this limitation is not specific to a Windows API callbacks, but the same problem happens when taking address of that function into a variable of procedural type and passing it, for example, as a custom comparator to TList.Sort.

http://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/XE4/en/Procedural_Types

procedure TForm2.btn1Click(Sender: TObject);
var s : TStringList;

  function compare(s : TStringList; i1, i2 : integer) : integer;
  begin
    result := CompareText(s[i1], s[i2]);
  end;

begin
  s := TStringList.Create;
  try
    s.add('s1');
    s.add('s2');
    s.add('s3');
    s.CustomSort(@compare);
  finally
    s.free;
  end;
end;

It works as expected when compiled as 32-bit, but fails with Access Violation when compiled for Win64. For 64-bit version in function compare, s = nil and i2 = some random value;

It also works as expected even for Win64 target, if one extracts compare function outside of btn1Click function.

David Heffernan
2#
David Heffernan Reply to 2012-04-16 14:25:50Z

This trick was never officially supported by the language and you have been getting away with it to date due to the implementation specifics of the 32 bit compiler. The documentation is clear:

Nested procedures and functions (routines declared within other routines) cannot be used as procedural values.

If I recall correctly, an extra, hidden, parameter is passed to nested functions with the pointer to the enclosing stack frame. This is omitted in 32 bit code if no reference is made to the enclosing environment. In 64 bit code the extra parameter is always passed.

Of course a big part of the problem is that the Windows unit uses untyped procedure types for its callback parameters. If typed procedures were used the compiler could reject your code. In fact I view this as justification for the belief that the trick you used was never legal. With typed callbacks a nested procedure can never be used, even in the 32 bit compiler.

Anyway, the bottom line is that you cannot pass a nested function as parameter to another function in the 64 bit compiler.

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