How To Use _declspec(dllexport) in an MFC Extension DLL

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Summary

This article supplements MFC TechNote #33. It contains some duplicate information, some corrections, and provides supplemental information to assist you in exporting classes or class members from an extension DLL.

More Information

Building an Extension DLL

You can use AppWizard to create an MFC Extension DLL project, and it will automatically generate the appropriate compiler and linker settings. For more details, please see the AppWizard entry in the MFC Encyclopedia, which can be found in Books Online and in the printed documentation.


If you are converting an existing project to an MFC Extension DLL, start with the standard rules for building an application using the _AFXDLL version of MFC. Then follow these steps:


  1. Add /D_AFXEXT to the compiler flags. On the Project Settings dialog box, click the C/C++ tab. Then select the Preprocessor category. Add _AFXEXT to the Preprocessor Definitions field, separating each of the items with commas.
  2. Remove the /Gy compiler switch. On the Project Settings dialog box, click the C/C++ tab. Then select the C Language category. Ensure that the "Enable Function-Level Linking" check box is cleared. This will make it easier to export classes because the linker will not remove unreferenced functions. If the original project is used to build a Regular DLL statically linked to MFC, change the /MT[d] compiler option to /MD[d].
  3. Build an export library with the /DLL option to LINK. This will be set when you create a new target, specifying Win32 Dynamic-Link Library as the target type.

Changing Your Header Files

The goal of an extension DLL is usually to export some common functionality to one or more applications that can use that functionality. This boils down to exporting classes and global functions, which are available for your client applications.


To do this, you must ensure that each of the member functions is marked as import or export as appropriate. This requires special declarations: _declspec(dllexport) and _declspec(dllimport). When your classes are used by the client applications, you want them to be declared as _declspec(dllimport). When the extension DLL itself is being built, they should be declared as _declspec(dllexport). In addition, the functions must be actually exported, so that the client programs bind to them at load time.


To export your entire class, use AFX_EXT_CLASS in the class definition. This macro is defined by the framework as _declspec(dllexport) when both _AFXDLL and _AFXEXT are defined, but as _declspec(dllimport) when _AFXEXT is not defined. _AFXEXT as described above, is only defined when building your extension DLL.


For example:

class AFX_EXT_CLASS CExampleExport : public CObject
{ ... class definition ... };
This example exports an entire class.

Not Exporting the Entire Class

Sometimes you may want to export just the individual necessary members of your class. MFC TechNote #33 discusses some reasons for this in the section titled "Ordinals and class _export and DLL naming." For example, if you are exporting a CDialog-derived class, you might only need to export the constructor and the DoModal call. You can export these members using the DLL's .DEF file, but you can also use AFX_EXT_CLASS in much the same way on the individual members you need to export.


For example:

class CExampleDialog : public CDialog
{
public:

AFX_EXT_CLASS CExampleDialog();
AFX_EXT_CLASS int DoModal();
...
// rest of class definition
...

};
When you do this, you may run into an additional problem due to the fact that you are no longer exporting all members of the class. The problem is in the way that MFC macros work. Several of MFC's helper macros actually declare or define data members. Therefore, these data members will also need to be exported from your DLL.


For example, the DECLARE_DYNAMIC macro is defined as follows when building an extension DLL:

   #define DECLARE_DYNAMIC(class_name) \ 
protected: \
static CRuntimeClass* PASCAL _GetBaseClass(); \
public: \
static AFX_DATA CRuntimeClass class##class_name; \
virtual CRuntimeClass* GetRuntimeClass() const; \
The line that begins "static AFX_DATA" is declaring a static object inside of your class. To export this class correctly and access the run-time information from a client .EXE, you need to export this static object. Because the static object is declared with the modifier AFX_DATA, you only need to define AFX_DATA to be _declspec(dllexport) when building your DLL and define it as _declspec(dllimport) when building your client executable. As discussed above, AFX_EXT_CLASS is already defined in this way. So you just need to re-define AFX_DATA to be the same as AFX_EXT_CLASS around your class definition.


For example:

#undef  AFX_DATA
#define AFX_DATA AFX_EXT_CLASS

class CExampleView : public CView
{

DECLARE_DYNAMIC()
// ... class definition ...

};

#undef AFX_DATA
#define AFX_DATA
MFC always uses the AFX_DATA symbol on data items it defines within its macros, so this technique will work for all such scenarios. For example it will work for DECLARE_MESSAGE_MAP.


NOTE: if you are exporting the entire class rather than selected members of the class, static data members are automatically exported.

Limitations of _AFXEXT

You can use the _AFXEXT pre-processor symbol for your extension DLLs as long as you do not have multiple layers of extension DLLs. If you have extension DLLs that call or derive from classes in your own extension DLLs, which then derive from the MFC classes, you must use your own preprocessor symbol to avoid ambiguity and linker errors such as the following:

Wnd3.obj : error LNK2001: unresolved external symbol "protected: static struct AFX_MSGMAP const CWnd2::messageMap" (?messageMap@CWnd2@@1UAFX_MSGMAP@@B)
The problem is that in Win32, you must explicitly declare any data as _declspec(dllexport) if it is to be exported from a DLL, and declare any data as _declspec(dllimport) if it is to be imported from a DLL. When you define _AFXEXT, the MFC headers make sure that AFX_EXT_CLASS is defined correctly. When you have multiple layers, one symbol such as AFX_EXT_CLASS is not sufficient because an extension DLL may be exporting new classes as well as importing other classes from another extension DLL.


To deal with this problem, use a special pre-processor symbol that indicates you are building the DLL itself versus just using the DLL. For example, imagine two extension DLLs (A.DLL and B.DLL). They each export some classes in A.H and B.H, respectively. B.DLL uses the classes from A.DLL. The header files would look something like this:
   // A.H
#ifdef A_IMPL
#define CLASS_DECL_A _declspec(dllexport)
#else
#define CLASS_DECL_A _declspec(dllimport)
#endif

class CLASS_DECL_A CExampleA : public CObject
{ ... class definition ... };

// B.H
#ifdef B_IMPL
#define CLASS_DECL_B _declspec(dllexport)
#else
#define CLASS_DECL_B _declspec(dllimport)
#endif

class CLASS_DECL_B CExampleB : public CExampleA
{ ... class definition .. };
When A.DLL is built, it is built with /D A_IMPL, and when B.DLL is built, it is built with /D B_IMPL. By using separate symbols for each DLL, you ensure that CExampleB is exported and CExampleA is imported when building B.DLL. CExampleA is exported when building A.DLL and imported when used by B.DLL or some other client. This type of layering cannot be done when using the built-in AFX_EXT_CLASS and _AFXEXT pre-processor symbols. The technique described above solves this problem in a manner not unlike the mechanism MFC itself uses when building its OLE, Database, and Network extension DLLs.

Not Exporting the Entire Class

Again you will have to take special care when you are not exporting an entire class. You have to ensure that the necessary data items created by the MFC macros are exported correctly. This can be done by re-defining AFX_DATA to your specific class' macro. This should be done any time you are not exporting the entire class.


For example:


   // A.H
#ifdef A_IMPL
#define CLASS_DECL_A _declspec(dllexport)
#else
#define CLASS_DECL_A _declspec(dllimport)
#endif

#undef AFX_DATA
#define AFX_DATA CLASS_DECL_A

class CExampleA : public CObject
{

DECLARE_DYNAMIC()
CLASS_DECL_A int SomeFunction();
//... class definition ...

};


#undef AFX_DATA
#define AFX_DATA

References

MFC TechNote #33.


The DLLHUSK sample.


The C++ Language Reference: Appendix B Microsoft-Specific Modifiers, under "Extended Storage-Class Attributes," under "Using dllimport and dllexport in C++."
Lastnosti

ID članka: 128199 – Zadnji pregled: 21. nov. 2006 – Revizija: 1

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