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Converting C++ enums to strings

, 27 May 2005
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How to convert C++ enums to strings.

Introduction

This code is used to convert a C++ enumeration value to its equivalent string representation. It is useful, for example, to debug your code, or generate trace messages.

Using the code

Create a header file called "EnumToString.h" with the following contents:

// File name: "EnumToString.h"
#undef DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT
#undef BEGIN_ENUM
#undef END_ENUM

#ifndef GENERATE_ENUM_STRINGS
    #define DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT( element ) element
    #define BEGIN_ENUM( ENUM_NAME ) typedef enum tag##ENUM_NAME
    #define END_ENUM( ENUM_NAME ) ENUM_NAME; \
            char* GetString##ENUM_NAME(enum tag##ENUM_NAME index);
#else
    #define DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT( element ) #element
    #define BEGIN_ENUM( ENUM_NAME ) char* gs_##ENUM_NAME [] =
    #define END_ENUM( ENUM_NAME ) ; char* GetString##ENUM_NAME(enum \
            tag##ENUM_NAME index){ return gs_##ENUM_NAME [index]; }
#endif

Put your enum in a specific header file using a special syntax. For example, the enum:

enum Days
{
   sunday,
   monday,
   tuesday,
   wednesday,
   thursday,
   friday,
   saturday
};

will become a header file called "Days.h" with the following contents:

// File name: "Days.h"
#if ( !defined(DAYS_H) || defined(GENERATE_ENUM_STRINGS) )

#if (!defined(GENERATE_ENUM_STRINGS))
    #define DAYS_H
#endif

#include "EnumToString.h"

///////////////////////////////
// The enum declaration
///////////////////////////////
BEGIN_ENUM(Days)
{
    DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT(sunday),
    DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT(monday),
    DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT(tuesday),
    DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT(wednesday),
    DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT(thursday),
    DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT(friday),
    DECL_ENUM_ELEMENT(saturday)
}
END_ENUM(Days)

#endif // (!defined(DAYS_H) || defined(GENERATE_ENUM_STRINGS))

Include the file "Days.h" everywhere you need the enum Days. Use it like a normal enumeration:

#include "Days.h"

void MyFunction( Days day )
{
    CString message;
    switch( day )
    {
        case monday:
        case tuesday:
        case wednesday:
        case thursday:
        case friday:
        {
            message.Format("Today is %s, I have to work!", 
                           GetStringDays(day) );
        }
        break;

        case saturday:
        case sunday:
        {
            message.Format("Today is %s, very nice!!!", 
                           GetStringDays(day) );
        }
        break;
    }
    AfxMessageBox(message);                       
}

Create a CPP module where the strings associated to enums are actually defined:

// File name: "EnumToString.cpp"

/// The strings associated with the enums are gererated here
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
#define GENERATE_ENUM_STRINGS  // Start string generation
#include "Days.h"             
#include "OtherEnum.h"
#include "AnotherOne.h"
#undef GENERATE_ENUM_STRINGS   // Stop string generation

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

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About the Author

Marcos F. Cardoso
Web Developer
Brazil Brazil
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionString to enum Pinmemberjens_weller8-May-12 21:43 
GeneralMaking it compile on Linux PinmemberIshmagel29-Jan-09 21:59 
GeneralA different approach PinmemberHugo González Castro23-Dec-08 17:45 
GeneralTry this Pinmembermaddog105-Oct-07 11:44 
GeneralMaybe you forgotten the most important function! Pinmemberxibeifeijian25-Mar-07 16:51 
GeneralRe: Maybe you forgotten the most important function! PinmemberHugo GC18-Nov-08 0:29 
GeneralWon't work for enums with specified values PinmemberKaushikSridharan18-Jun-05 9:12 
GeneralRe: Won't work for enums with specified values Pinmemberrnadler713018-Apr-06 13:53 
GeneralRe: Won't work for enums with specified values Pinmemberirwin.zuo30-Oct-06 15:50 
GeneralRe: Won't work for enums with specified values PinmemberTroyJ6-Jul-07 10:10 
GeneralRe: Won't work for enums with specified values PinmemberJong Allegraud12-Aug-09 23:51 

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