[fpc-pascal] function returning a record vs paramaters

L505 fpc505 at z505.com
Sat Jul 9 23:44:45 CEST 2005

| procedure my_procedure(var a_record: t_my_record);
| In this case, a simple pointer is passed to my_procedure. This is also
| the way most C libraries work, passing a pointer to a structure.

Would a C program be able to call a Pascal SO or DLL file and directly read a
record from pascal, as a structure in C? i.e. no hassles required (presuming the
record didn't contain strings of course.. let's just say three integers)

| When a function returns a record, an additional pointer parameter is
| passed to it, invisibly to the pascal programmer, and the function fills
| in the structure pointed to by that parameter.

some performance loss then. But not actually twice the memory used to make a

| For this reason, I personally tend to prefer a var-parameter: A function
| returning a record looks like creating or allocating that record, which
| is not true. A  var-parameter shows, in pascal, a structure similar to
| what happens on the machine code level. But it's a matter of taste, and,
| of how the function result is used: When the result is often used as
| part of expressions, or as a parameter to other procedures, the "result"
| way is more legible than the "var-parameter" way.

Maybe make it easier, a result prefix or something like so could be used:

procedure(integer, string, other, Result_Record);


function(integer, string, other, Result_Record): boolean;


function(integer, string, other, ResultRecord): boolean;

Researching this topic, I found some arguments and discussions from people using
other languages coming across the same questions - such as Ada people
questioning the Out keyword in their functions, and so on. I just want to
clarify what the best way is.. I do like returning a record since the code
appears more clear to me this way, but I suppose I'll use a parameter for
performance reasons.

When teaching people Pascal or learning Pascal, I'm sure people will question
how a parameter can possibly return a variable.. "isn't that what the result is
supposed to do?" So it does feel sort of hackish to do that. It feels very
win32api-ish too. In this case, I wish there were a way to make code clearer
while still offering the same performance/benefits. I think Result_Record is
somewhat of a hack too.. almost like a "workaround" to something that might be
possible to improve.. but I'm not so sure if it can. It's real high priority
though, since most people know you can return a value as a parameter.

More information about the fpc-pascal mailing list