JSExport attribute


The [[cheerp::jsexport]] attribute can be applied in C++ code either to free functions or to class and struct definitions. Every definition tagged with this attribute will be directly exposed to JavaScript.

That means that a function with the same name will be available.


#include <cheerp/clientlib.h>
[[cheerp::jsexport]] int factorial(int n)
if (n < 2)
return 1;
return n * factorial(n-1);
class [[cheerp::jsexport]][[cheerp::genericjs]] JsStruct
float a;
int b;
JsStruct(float _a):a(_a),b(0)
client::console.log("Instance created");
void test()
client::console.log("Invoked test", a, b++);

This example exposes factorial free function to be called like a regular JavaScript function. The JsStruct class will also be exported and instances can be created via new in JavaScript, for example:

var testExport = new JsStruct(3.0); // Instance created
testExport.test(); // Invoked test 3.0 1
testExport.test(); // Invoked test 3.0 2
console.log(factorial(23)); // 862453760

JSExported free functions limitations

  • arguments/return types: no 64 bit integers (we may support this in the future using BigInt). The basic int/float/double types are supported.
  • arguments/return types: only pointers (and references) to struct/classes tagged as [[cheerp::jsexport]] (representing native-like objects) or pointers (and references) to “native” JavaScript objects (DOM elements, Strings, Arrays, Sets or more complex objects declared on the JavaScript code). Pointers to functions (with some restrictions) are also supported.
  • naming: there can’t be 2 jsexported function that share the same name (as in the literal name, since C++ overloading rules are based on parameter types and that does not naturally map to JavaScript we have to be more restrictive)
  • no templated functions (there is no way of instantiating templates at runtime from JavaScript)

Free function tagged with [[cheerp::genericjs]] or [[cheerp::wasm]] (directly or via the -target option) are both compatible with the [[cheerp::jsexport]] attribute.

JSExported class/struct limitations

  • no inheritance
  • the class/struct needs to have a public constructor
  • the class/struct needs to have at least a non-static jsexported method
  • “promise” and “valueOf” are reserved names

Classes tagged with [[cheerp::genericjs]] or [[cheerp::wasm]] (directly or via the -target option) are both compatible with the [[cheerp::jsexport]] attribute.

The same restrictions on free functions are also imposed on all JSExported methods.

Some of these restrictions will be relaxed in future releases, but we strive to offer a forward compatible interface, so that a code compiled with the current restrictions will be also valid in future releases.

If you create a JSExported object with new in JavaScript, you are responsible of calling the special delete() method at the end of the object lifetime, to run the destructor and free memory (if the objects resides in linear memory or holds members that do). The same applies whenever the C++ API that you are exporting is handing out the ownership of an object to JavaScript.

Member fields (either static or not) are not JsExported (but you define getter / setter methods).


All JSExported functions or classes have a member .promise, and no use of these classes or functions should be done before the promise has been resolved. Since the promise may generally include asynchronous fetching of files via HTTP (e.g. the wasm file), the recommended behaviour is to always check that the promise has been resolved. Eg.:

yourFunctionName.promise.then(function () {
yourFunctionName(4, 5.023);

Advanced usage: selecting JSExported interface

The default behaviour of the compiler is that if a class has a tag [[cheerp::jsexport]], all its public methods (static or not) will be JSExported. This can be relaxed by selecting a non-empty subset of the public interface, and tagging only the methods you are interested in exporting with the attribute [[cheerp::jsexport]].

As with all other Cheerp-specific attributes, other compilers will still parse code, so it can be used to target different platforms (eg. native and Web).

Special considerations apply when using the jsexport attribute and WebAssembly output, for more information see here.