Arrays and TypeArrays

When compiling to JavaScript, C++ arrays of basic data types such as char, unsigned char, short, unsigned short, int, unsigned int, float and double are backed by JavaScript typed array of corresponding types.

From C++ data to Typed Array

Cheerp provides a few APIs to convert C++ arrays to the underlying Typed Array objects. This is especially useful to pass C++ data directly to browser APIs such as WebGL.


template<typename T> struct TypedArrayForPointerType;

Template helper to get the corresponding Typed Array type for a specific C data type. The desired type is available as the ::type member. For example

TypedArrayForPointerType<unsigned short>::type

The following mapping applies:

  • char -> Int8Array
  • unsigned char -> Uint8Array
  • short -> Int16Array
  • unsigned short -> Uint16Array
  • int -> Int32Array
  • unsigned int -> Uint32Array
  • float -> Float32Array
  • double -> Float64Array


There are two implementations of this function. Both accept two arguments: a pointer to an array of any of the aforementioned data types, and an optional size argument. The default value is 0, meaning โ€œuntil the end of the underlying arrayโ€. The returned value is a pointer to a typed array instance.

CAUTION: The returned typed array references the same memory as the passed pointer, no copies are done to guarantee the efficiency of this operation. Please be careful when modifying the memory as the compiler may or may not understand that the typed array alias the same memory as the pointer. This function is designed to pass C++ data to browser APIs with low overhead.

Implicitly typed version

template<typename P,typename T=typename TypedArrayForPointerType<P>::type>
T* MakeTypedArray(const P* ptr, size_t size=0)

This function returns a typed array for the underlying memory of the ptr pointer. The return type depends on the type of ptr and follows the mapping of the TypedArrayForPointerType template helper.

Explicitly typed version

template<typename T>
T* MakeTypedArray(const void* ptr, size_t size=0)

This function returns a typed array for the underlying memory of the ptr pointer, the return type must be explicitly provided by the user. Any pointer type can be passed as ptr, but the result is undefined behavior if the underlying memory is not an array of a basic data type.


client::ArrayBufferView* MakeArrayBufferView(const void* ptr, size_t size=0)

Returns an untyped ArrayBufferView of the underlying memory of the ptr pointer. No data copy is performed and the returned object alias the same memory as the ptr pointer. The safety considerations about memory aliasing which are valid for MakeTypedArray are valid for MakeArrayBufferView as well.

From Typed Array to C++ data

Although Cheerp does not provide an explicit API to achieve this you can directly use an intrinsic. For example:

// Offset might be 0, you can use it create a pointer to a specific element of the typed array
float* createData(client::Float32Array* a, int offset)
return __builtin_cheerp_make_regular<float>(a, offset);

Make sure to always use the corresponding C++ data type for the typed array, (see the mapping above). In particular, mismatching the signed-ness of integers (e.g. creating a unsigned char* from a client::Int8Array*) will cause undefined behavior.

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