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


Question

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.

2014/03/15
1
198
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 some builtins as documented here:

uint32_t __builtin_bswap32 (uint32_t x)
uint64_t __builtin_bswap64 (uint64_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..

2020/01/25
170
1/25/2020 10:31:24 AM

Simply put:

#include <climits>

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

    union
    {
        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).

2015/01/06

From The Byte Order Fallacy by Rob Pike:

Let's say your data stream has a little-endian-encoded 32-bit integer. Here's how to extract it (assuming unsigned bytes):

i = (data[0]<<0) | (data[1]<<8) | (data[2]<<16) | (data[3]<<24);

If it's big-endian, here's how to extract it:

i = (data[3]<<0) | (data[2]<<8) | (data[1]<<16) | (data[0]<<24);

TL;DR: don't worry about your platform native order, all that counts is the byte order of the stream your are reading from, and you better hope it's well defined.

Note: it was remarked in the comment that absent explicit type conversion, it was important that data be an array of unsigned char or uint8_t. Using signed char or char (if signed) will result in data[x] being promoted to an integer and data[x] << 24 potentially shifting a 1 into the sign bit which is UB.

2020/05/21

If you are doing this for purposes of network/host compatability you should use:

ntohl() //Network to Host byte order (Long)
htonl() //Host to Network byte order (Long)

ntohs() //Network to Host byte order (Short)
htons() //Host to Network byte order (Short)

If you are doing this for some other reason one of the byte_swap solutions presented here would work just fine.

2008/09/19

I took a few suggestions from this post and put them together to form this:

#include <boost/type_traits.hpp>
#include <boost/static_assert.hpp>
#include <boost/detail/endian.hpp>
#include <stdexcept>

enum endianness
{
    little_endian,
    big_endian,
    network_endian = big_endian,

    #if defined(BOOST_LITTLE_ENDIAN)
        host_endian = little_endian
    #elif defined(BOOST_BIG_ENDIAN)
        host_endian = big_endian
    #else
        #error "unable to determine system endianness"
    #endif
};

namespace detail {

template<typename T, size_t sz>
struct swap_bytes
{
    inline T operator()(T val)
    {
        throw std::out_of_range("data size");
    }
};

template<typename T>
struct swap_bytes<T, 1>
{
    inline T operator()(T val)
    {
        return val;
    }
};

template<typename T>
struct swap_bytes<T, 2>
{
    inline T operator()(T val)
    {
        return ((((val) >> 8) & 0xff) | (((val) & 0xff) << 8));
    }
};

template<typename T>
struct swap_bytes<T, 4>
{
    inline T operator()(T val)
    {
        return ((((val) & 0xff000000) >> 24) |
                (((val) & 0x00ff0000) >>  8) |
                (((val) & 0x0000ff00) <<  8) |
                (((val) & 0x000000ff) << 24));
    }
};

template<>
struct swap_bytes<float, 4>
{
    inline float operator()(float val)
    {
        uint32_t mem =swap_bytes<uint32_t, sizeof(uint32_t)>()(*(uint32_t*)&val);
        return *(float*)&mem;
    }
};

template<typename T>
struct swap_bytes<T, 8>
{
    inline T operator()(T val)
    {
        return ((((val) & 0xff00000000000000ull) >> 56) |
                (((val) & 0x00ff000000000000ull) >> 40) |
                (((val) & 0x0000ff0000000000ull) >> 24) |
                (((val) & 0x000000ff00000000ull) >> 8 ) |
                (((val) & 0x00000000ff000000ull) << 8 ) |
                (((val) & 0x0000000000ff0000ull) << 24) |
                (((val) & 0x000000000000ff00ull) << 40) |
                (((val) & 0x00000000000000ffull) << 56));
    }
};

template<>
struct swap_bytes<double, 8>
{
    inline double operator()(double val)
    {
        uint64_t mem =swap_bytes<uint64_t, sizeof(uint64_t)>()(*(uint64_t*)&val);
        return *(double*)&mem;
    }
};

template<endianness from, endianness to, class T>
struct do_byte_swap
{
    inline T operator()(T value)
    {
        return swap_bytes<T, sizeof(T)>()(value);
    }
};
// specialisations when attempting to swap to the same endianess
template<class T> struct do_byte_swap<little_endian, little_endian, T> { inline T operator()(T value) { return value; } };
template<class T> struct do_byte_swap<big_endian,    big_endian,    T> { inline T operator()(T value) { return value; } };

} // namespace detail

template<endianness from, endianness to, class T>
inline T byte_swap(T value)
{
    // ensure the data is only 1, 2, 4 or 8 bytes
    BOOST_STATIC_ASSERT(sizeof(T) == 1 || sizeof(T) == 2 || sizeof(T) == 4 || sizeof(T) == 8);
    // ensure we're only swapping arithmetic types
    BOOST_STATIC_ASSERT(boost::is_arithmetic<T>::value);

    return detail::do_byte_swap<from, to, T>()(value);
}
2010/08/19

The procedure for going from big-endian to little-endian is the same as going from little-endian to big-endian.

Here's some example code:

void swapByteOrder(unsigned short& us)
{
    us = (us >> 8) |
         (us << 8);
}

void swapByteOrder(unsigned int& ui)
{
    ui = (ui >> 24) |
         ((ui<<8) & 0x00FF0000) |
         ((ui>>8) & 0x0000FF00) |
         (ui << 24);
}

void swapByteOrder(unsigned long long& ull)
{
    ull = (ull >> 56) |
          ((ull<<40) & 0x00FF000000000000) |
          ((ull<<24) & 0x0000FF0000000000) |
          ((ull<<8) & 0x000000FF00000000) |
          ((ull>>8) & 0x00000000FF000000) |
          ((ull>>24) & 0x0000000000FF0000) |
          ((ull>>40) & 0x000000000000FF00) |
          (ull << 56);
}
2011/10/11

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/105252
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