Easy XS

This library is a toolbox that assists with creation & maintenance of Perl XS code.


  1. Make this repository a git submodule of your own XS module.

  2. Replace the standard XS includes (EXTERN.h, perl.h, and XSUB.h) with just #include "easyxs/easyxs.h".

… and that’s it! You now have a suite of tools that’ll make writing XS easier and safer.


Perl’s C API makes lots of things possible without making them easy (or safe).

This library attempts to provide shims around that API that make it easy and safe (or, at least, safe-er!) to write XS code … maybe even fun! :-)

Library Components


init.h includes the standard boilerplate code you normally stick at the top of a *.xs file. It also includes a fix for the torrent of warnings that clang 12 throws in pre-5.36 perls. easyxs.h brings this in, but you can also #include "easyxs/init.h" on its own.

init.h also includes a fairly up-to-date ppport.h.

Calling Perl

void exs_call_sv_void(SV* callback, SV** args)

Like the Perl API’s call_sv() but handles argument-passing for you. args points to a NULL-terminated array of SV*s. (It may also be NULL.)

The method is called in void context, so nothing is returned.

This does not trap exceptions.

IMPORTANT: This mortalizes each args member. That means Perl will reduce each of those SVs’ reference counts at some point “soon” after. This is often desirable, but not always; to counteract it, do SvREFCNT_inc() around whichever arguments you want to be unaffected by the mortalization. (They’ll still be mortalized, but the eventual reference-count reduction will just have zero net effect.)

void exs_call_method_void(SV* object, const char* methname, SV** args)

Like exs_call_sv_void() but for calling object methods. See the Perl API’s call_method() for more details.

SV* exs_call_method_scalar(SV* object, const char* methname, SV** args)

Like exs_call_method_void() but calls the method in scalar context. The result is returned.

SV/Number Conversion

UV* exs_SvUV(SV* sv)

Like SvUV, but if the SV’s content can’t be an unsigned integer (e.g., the IV is negative, or the string has non-numeric characters) an exception is thrown.

SV/String Conversion

char* exs_SvPVbyte_nolen(SV* sv)

Like the Perl API’s SvPVbyte_nolen, but if there are any NULs in the PV then an exception is thrown.

char* exs_SvPVutf8_nolen(SV* sv)

Like exs_SvPVbyte_nolen() but returns the code points as UTF-8 rather than Latin-1/bytes.


exs_debug_sv_summary(SV* sv)

Writes a visual representation of the SV’s contents to Perl_debug_log. NO trailing newline is written.

exs_debug_showstack(const char *pattern, ...)

Writes a visual representation of Perl’s argument stack to Perl_debug_log.

Usage Notes

If you use GitHub Actions or similar, ensure that you grab the submodule as part of your workflow’s checkout. If you use GitHub’s own checkout workflow, that’s:

- with:
    submodules: true  # (or `recursive`)

Alternatively, run git submodule init && git submodule update during the workflow’s repository setup.

License & Copyright

Copyright 2022 by Gasper Software Consulting. All rights reserved.

This library is released under the terms of the MIT License.