Wednesday, December 5, 2007

C Interview Questions And Answers-9

What is the heap?
The heap is where malloc(), calloc(), and realloc() get memory.
Getting memory from the heap is much slower than getting it from the stack. On the other hand, the heap is much more flexible than the stack. Memory can be allocated at any time and deallocated in any order. Such memory isn’t deallocated automatically; you have to call free().
Recursive data structures are almost always implemented with memory from the heap. Strings often come from there too, especially strings that could be very long at runtime. If you can keep data in a local variable (and allocate it from the stack), your code will run faster than if you put the data on the heap. Sometimes you can use a better algorithm if you use the heap faster, or more robust, or more flexible. It’s a tradeoff.
If memory is allocated from the heap, it’s available until the program ends. That’s great if you remember to deallocate it when you’re done. If you forget, it’s a problem. A memory leak is some allocated memory that’s no longer needed but isn’t deallocated. If you have a memory leak inside a loop, you can use up all the memory on the heap and not be able to get any more. (When that happens, the allocation functions return a null pointer.) In some environments, if a program doesn’t deallocate everything it allocated, memory stays unavailable even after the program ends.

How do you use a pointer to a function?
The hardest part about using a pointer-to-function is declaring it.
Consider an example. You want to create a pointer, pf, that points to the strcmp() function.
The strcmp() function is declared in this way:
int strcmp(const char *, const char * )
To set up pf to point to the strcmp() function, you want a declaration that looks just like the strcmp() function’s declaration, but that has *pf rather than strcmp:
int (*pf)( const char *, const char * );
After you’ve gotten the declaration of pf, you can #include and assign the address of strcmp() to pf: pf = strcmp;

What is the purpose of main( ) function?

The function main( ) invokes other functions within it.It is the first function to be called when the program starts execution.
- It is the starting function
- It returns an int value to the environment that called the program
- Recursive call is allowed for main( ) also.
- It is a user-defined function
- Program execution ends when the closing brace of the function main( ) is reached.
- It has two arguments 1)argument count and 2) argument vector (represents strings passed).
- Any user-defined name can also be used as parameters for main( ) instead of argc and argv

Why n++ executes faster than n+1?
The expression n++ requires a single machine instruction such as INR to carry out the increment operation whereas, n+1 requires more instructions to carry out this operation.

What will the preprocessor do for a program?
The C preprocessor is used to modify your program according to the preprocessor directives in your source code. A preprocessor directive is a statement (such as #define) that gives the preprocessor specific instructions on how to modify your source code. The preprocessor is invoked as the first part of your compiler program’s compilation step. It is usually hidden from the programmer because it is run automatically by the compiler.
The preprocessor reads in all of your include files and the source code you are compiling and creates a preprocessed version of your source code. This preprocessed version has all of its macros and constant symbols replaced by their corresponding code and value assignments. If your source code contains any conditional preprocessor directives (such as #if), the preprocessor evaluates the condition and modifies your source code accordingly.

What is the benefit of using const for declaring constants?

The benefit of using the const keyword is that the compiler might be able to make optimizations based on the knowledge that the value of the variable will not change. In addition, the compiler will try to ensure that the values won’t be changed inadvertently.
Of course, the same benefits apply to #defined constants. The reason to use const rather than #define to define a constant is that a const variable can be of any type (such as a struct, which can’t be represented by a #defined constant). Also, because a const variable is a real variable, it has an address that can be used, if needed, and it resides in only one place in memory

What is the easiest sorting method to use?
The answer is the standard library function qsort(). It’s the easiest sort by far for several reasons:
It is already written.
It is already debugged.
It has been optimized as much as possible (usually).
Void qsort(void *buf, size_t num, size_t size, int (*comp)(const void *ele1, const void *ele2));

How many levels of pointers can you have?
The answer depends on what you mean by levels of pointers. If you mean How many levels of indirection can you have in a single declaration? the answer is At least 12.
int i = 0;
int *ip01 = & i;
int **ip02 = & ip01;
int ***ip03 = & ip02;
int ****ip04 = & ip03;
int *****ip05 = & ip04;
int ******ip06 = & ip05;
int *******ip07 = & ip06;
int ********ip08 = & ip07;
int *********ip09 = & ip08;
int **********ip10 = & ip09;
int ***********ip11 = & ip10;
int ************ip12 = & ip11;
************ip12 = 1; /* i = 1 */
The ANSI C standard says all compilers must handle at least 12 levels. Your compiler might support more.

Is it better to use a macro or a function?
The answer depends on the situation you are writing code for. Macros have the distinct advantage of being more efficient (and faster) than functions, because their corresponding code is inserted directly into your source code at the point where the macro is called. There is no overhead involved in using a macro like there is in placing a call to a function. However, macros are generally small and cannot handle large, complex coding constructs. A function is more suited for this type of situation. Additionally, macros are expanded inline, which means that the code is replicated for each occurrence of a macro. Your code therefore could be somewhat larger when you use macros than if you were to use functions.
Thus, the choice between using a macro and using a function is one of deciding between the tradeoff of faster program speed versus smaller program size. Generally, you should use macros to replace small, repeatable code sections, and you should use functions for larger coding tasks that might require several lines of code.

What are the standard predefined macros?
The ANSI C standard defines six predefined macros for use in the C language:
Macro Name Purpose
_ _LINE_ _ Inserts the current source code line number in your code.
_ _FILE_ _ Inserts the current source code filename in your code.
_ _ Inserts the current date of compilation in your code.
_ _TIME_ _ Inserts the current time of compilation in your code.
_ _STDC_ _ Is set to 1 if you are enforcing strict ANSI C conformity.
_ _cplusplus Is defined if you are compiling a C++ program.

What is a const pointer?
The access modifier keyword const is a promise the programmer makes to the compiler that the value of a variable will not be changed after it is initialized. The compiler will enforce that promise as best it can by not enabling the programmer to write code which modifies a variable that has been declared const.
A const pointer, or more correctly, a pointer to const, is a pointer which points to data that is const (constant, or unchanging). A pointer to const is declared by putting the word const at the beginning of the pointer declaration. This declares a pointer which points to data that can’t be modified. The pointer itself can be modified. The following example illustrates some legal and illegal uses of a const pointer:
const char *str = hello;
char c = *str /* legal */
str++; /* legal */
*str = ‘a’; /* illegal */
str[1] = ‘b’; /* illegal */

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