The run-command API offers a versatile tool to run sub-processes with redirected input and output as well as with a modified environment and an alternate current directory.
A similar API offers the capability to run a function asynchronously, which is primarily used to capture the output that the function produces in the caller in order to process it.
Initialize a struct child_process variable.
Start a sub-process. Takes a pointer to a
struct child_processthat specifies the details and returns pipe FDs (if requested). See below for details.
Wait for the completion of a sub-process that was started with start_command().
A convenience function that encapsulates a sequence of start_command() followed by finish_command(). Takes a pointer to a
struct child_processthat specifies the details.
Convenience functions that encapsulate a sequence of start_command() followed by finish_command(). The argument argv specifies the program and its arguments. The argument opt is zero or more of the flags
RUN_SILENT_EXEC_FAILUREthat correspond to the members .no_stdin, .git_cmd, .stdout_to_stderr, .silent_exec_failure of
struct child_process. The argument dir corresponds the member .dir. The argument env corresponds to the member .env.
Release the memory associated with the struct child_process. Most users of the run-command API don’t need to call this function explicitly because
start_commandinvokes it on failure and
finish_commandcalls it automatically already.
The functions above do the following:
If a system call failed, errno is set and -1 is returned. A diagnostic is printed.
If the program was not found, then -1 is returned and errno is set to ENOENT; a diagnostic is printed only if .silent_exec_failure is 0.
Otherwise, the program is run. If it terminates regularly, its exit code is returned. No diagnostic is printed, even if the exit code is non-zero.
If the program terminated due to a signal, then the return value is the signal number + 128, ie. the same value that a POSIX shell’s $? would report. A diagnostic is printed.
Run a function asynchronously. Takes a pointer to a
struct asyncthat specifies the details and returns a set of pipe FDs for communication with the function. See below for details.
Wait for the completion of an asynchronous function that was started with start_async().
Run a hook. The first argument is a pathname to an index file, or NULL if the hook uses the default index file or no index is needed. The second argument is the name of the hook. The further arguments correspond to the hook arguments. The last argument has to be NULL to terminate the arguments list. If the hook does not exist or is not executable, the return value will be zero. If it is executable, the hook will be executed and the exit status of the hook is returned. On execution, .stdout_to_stderr and .no_stdin will be set. (See below.)
This describes the arguments, redirections, and environment of a command to run in a sub-process.
allocates and clears (using child_process_init() or CHILD_PROCESS_INIT) a struct child_process variable;
initializes the members;
processes the data;
closes file descriptors (if necessary; see below);
The .argv member is set up as an array of string pointers (NULL terminated), of which .argv is the program name to run (usually without a path). If the command to run is a git command, set argv to the command name without the git- prefix and set .git_cmd = 1.
Note that the ownership of the memory pointed to by .argv stays with the
caller, but it should survive until
finish_command completes. If the
.argv member is NULL,
start_command will point it at the .args
argv_array (so you may use one or the other, but you must use exactly
one). The memory in .args will be cleaned up automatically during
finish_command (or during
start_command when it is unsuccessful).
The members .in, .out, .err are used to redirect stdin, stdout, stderr as follows:
Specify 0 to request no special redirection. No new file descriptor is allocated. The child process simply inherits the channel from the parent.
Specify -1 to have a pipe allocated; start_command() replaces -1 by the pipe FD in the following way:
.in: Returns the writable pipe end into which the caller writes; the readable end of the pipe becomes the child's stdin.
.out, .err: Returns the readable pipe end from which the caller reads; the writable end of the pipe end becomes child's stdout/stderr.
The caller of start_command() must close the so returned FDs after it has completed reading from/writing to it!
Specify a file descriptor > 0 to be used by the child:
.in: The FD must be readable; it becomes child's stdin. .out: The FD must be writable; it becomes child's stdout. .err: The FD must be writable; it becomes child's stderr.
The specified FD is closed by start_command(), even if it fails to run the sub-process!
Special forms of redirection are available by setting these members to 1:
.no_stdin, .no_stdout, .no_stderr: The respective channel is redirected to /dev/null.
.stdout_to_stderr: stdout of the child is redirected to its stderr. This happens after stderr is itself redirected. So stdout will follow stderr to wherever it is redirected.
To modify the environment of the sub-process, specify an array of string pointers (NULL terminated) in .env:
If the string is of the form "VAR=value", i.e. it contains = the variable is added to the child process’s environment.
If the string does not contain =, it names an environment variable that will be removed from the child process’s environment.
If the .env member is NULL,
start_command will point it at the
argv_array (so you may use one or the other, but not both).
The memory in .env_array will be cleaned up automatically during
finish_command (or during
start_command when it is unsuccessful).
To specify a new initial working directory for the sub-process, specify it in the .dir member.
If the program cannot be found, the functions return -1 and set errno to ENOENT. Normally, an error message is printed, but if .silent_exec_failure is set to 1, no message is printed for this special error condition.
This describes a function to run asynchronously, whose purpose is to produce output that the caller reads.
allocates and clears (memset(&asy, 0, sizeof(asy));) a struct async variable;
initializes .proc and .data;
processes communicates with proc through .in and .out;
closes .in and .out;
The members .in, .out are used to provide a set of fd’s for communication between the caller and the callee as follows:
Specify 0 to have no file descriptor passed. The callee will receive -1 in the corresponding argument.
Specify < 0 to have a pipe allocated; start_async() replaces with the pipe FD in the following way:
.in: Returns the writable pipe end into which the caller writes; the readable end of the pipe becomes the function's in argument.
.out: Returns the readable pipe end from which the caller reads; the writable end of the pipe becomes the function's out argument.
The caller of start_async() must close the returned FDs after it has completed reading from/writing from them.
Specify a file descriptor > 0 to be used by the function:
.in: The FD must be readable; it becomes the function's in. .out: The FD must be writable; it becomes the function's out.
The specified FD is closed by start_async(), even if it fails to run the function.
The function pointer in .proc has the following signature:
int proc(int in, int out, void *data);
in, out specifies a set of file descriptors to which the function must read/write the data that it needs/produces. The function must close these descriptors before it returns. A descriptor may be -1 if the caller did not configure a descriptor for that direction.
data is the value that the caller has specified in the .data member of struct async.
The return value of the function is 0 on success and non-zero on failure. If the function indicates failure, finish_async() will report failure as well.
There are serious restrictions on what the asynchronous function can do because this facility is implemented by a thread in the same address space on most platforms (when pthreads is available), but by a pipe to a forked process otherwise:
It cannot change the program’s state (global variables, environment, etc.) in a way that the caller notices; in other words, .in and .out are the only communication channels to the caller.
It must not change the program’s state that the caller of the facility also uses.