CS374: Principles of Programming Languages - Libraries (100 Points)

Assignment Goals

The goals of this assignment are:
  1. To create a static library that can be shared with others
  2. To use dynamic loading to augment existing functionality such as malloc()

The Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to implement, load, and use, a static library (at compile time) in C++, and also to dynamically load functionality from a library (at runtime).

Part 1: Static Libraries [1]

Follow this tutorial on creating a library in C++. In summary, you will create a .cpp file with functionality inside, and a .h file with your header definition.

You may choose any library functionality you would like, and references are OK as long as they are cited in your source. Be creative - what are some functions that you might find useful to have someday (or might find useful to share with someone else)?

Part 2: Dynamic Library Loading [2]

Create a function called malloc that accepts an int size and returns a void *, just like malloc does. In that function, create a pointer static void*(*mymalloc)(int n) that you will assign to a call to dlsym(RTLD_NEXT, "malloc"). Call mymalloc(size) within this function, and store the result in a void * variable that your function will return. Also increment a global variable that you’ll store statically within your module. This call will look like this:

#include <dlfcn.h>
#include <stddef.h>

void* malloc(size_t size) {
    void*(*mymalloc)(size_t) = (void* (*)(size_t)) dlsym(RTLD_NEXT, "malloc");

Next, do the same for free, which is a void function that accepts a void * parameter, as opposed to a function that accepts a size_t parameter and returns a void * like malloc did. This time, decrement your counter, and print out that variable on each call to your custom malloc and free. Test it out with a main() function that calls malloc and free a few times so you can verify the result. You should have a count of 0 if you call free the same number of times as you call malloc!

To compile your library, you can save your file as mallocfree.c and run:

gcc mallocfree.c -ldl

And, to test, you can write a main() function that calls malloc and free, and compile and run it as usual. Here is an example:

int main(void) {
    int* x = (int*) malloc(sizeof(int)); 
    *x = 5;
    printf("%d\n", *x);
    // print your counter value, which you can declare as a static int in this module, and increment/decrement in malloc/free


  1. https://ncona.com/2019/03/building-and-using-a-library-in-cpp/ 

  2. https://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/academic/class/15213-f03/www/interposition/mymalloc.c 


In your submission, please include answers to any questions asked on the assignment page in your README file. If you wrote code as part of this assignment, please describe your design, approach, and implementation in your README file as well. Finally, include answers to the following questions:
  • Describe what you did, how you did it, what challenges you encountered, and how you solved them.
  • Please answer any questions found throughout the narrative of this assignment.
  • If collaboration with a buddy was permitted, did you work with a buddy on this assignment? If so, who? If not, do you certify that this submission represents your own original work?
  • Please identify any and all portions of your submission that were not originally written by you (for example, code originally written by your buddy, or anything taken or adapted from a non-classroom resource). It is always OK to use your textbook and instructor notes; however, you are certifying that any portions not designated as coming from an outside person or source are your own original work.
  • Approximately how many hours it took you to finish this assignment (I will not judge you for this at all...I am simply using it to gauge if the assignments are too easy or hard)?
  • Your overall impression of the assignment. Did you love it, hate it, or were you neutral? One word answers are fine, but if you have any suggestions for the future let me know.
  • Using the grading specifications on this page, discuss briefly the grade you would give yourself and why. Discuss each item in the grading specification.
  • Any other concerns that you have. For instance, if you have a bug that you were unable to solve but you made progress, write that here. The more you articulate the problem the more partial credit you will receive (it is fine to leave this blank).

Assignment Rubric

Description Pre-Emerging (< 50%) Beginning (50%) Progressing (85%) Proficient (100%)
Algorithm Implementation (60%) The algorithm fails on the test inputs due to major issues, or the program fails to compile and/or run The algorithm fails on the test inputs due to one or more minor issues The algorithm is implemented to solve the problem correctly according to given test inputs, but would fail if executed in a general case due to a minor issue or omission in the algorithm design or implementation A reasonable algorithm is implemented to solve the problem which correctly solves the problem according to the given test inputs, and would be reasonably expected to solve the problem in the general case
Code Quality and Documentation (30%) Code commenting and structure are absent, or code structure departs significantly from best practice, and/or the code departs significantly from the style guide Code commenting and structure is limited in ways that reduce the readability of the program, and/or there are minor departures from the style guide Code documentation is present that re-states the explicit code definitions, and/or code is written that mostly adheres to the style guide Code is documented at non-trivial points in a manner that enhances the readability of the program, and code is written according to the style guide
Writeup and Submission (10%) An incomplete submission is provided The program is submitted, but not according to the directions in one or more ways (for example, because it is lacking a readme writeup) The program is submitted according to the directions with a minor omission or correction needed, and with at least superficial responses to the bolded questions throughout The program is submitted according to the directions, including a readme writeup describing the solution, and thoughtful answers to the bolded questions throughout

Please refer to the Style Guide for code quality examples and guidelines.