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moc

Section: User Commands (1)
Updated: 24 June 2001
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NAME

moc - generate Qt meta object support code  

SYNOPSIS

moc [-o file] [-i] [-f] [-k] [-ldbg] [-nw] [-p path] [-q path] [-v] file  

DESCRIPTION

This page documents the Meta Object Compiler for the Qt GUI application framework. The moc reads one or more C++ class declarations from a C++ header or source file and generates one C++ source file containing meta object information for the classes. The C++ source file generated by the moc must be compiled and linked with the implementation of the class (or it can be #included into the class's source file).

If you use qmake to create your Makefiles, build rules will be included that call the moc when required, so you will not need to use the moc directly.

In brief, the meta object system is a structure used by Qt (see http://doc.trolltech.com) for component programming and run time type information. It adds properties and inheritance information to (some) classes and provides a new type of communication between those instances of those classes, signal-slot connections.  

OPTIONS

-o file
Write output to file rather than to stdout.
-f
Force the generation of an #include statement in the output. This is the default for files whose name matches the regular expression .[hH][^.]* (i.e. the extension starts with H or h ). This option is only useful if you have header files that do not follow the standard naming conventions.
-i
Do not generate an #include statement in the output. This may be used to run moc on a C++ file containing one or more class declarations. You should then #include the meta object code in the .cpp file (see USAGE below). If both -f and -i are present, the last one wins.
-nw
Do not generate any warnings. Not recommended.
-ldbg
Write a flood of lex debug information to stdout.
-p path
Makes moc prepend path/ to the file name in the generated #include statement (if one is generated).
-q path
Makes moc prepend path/ to the file name of qt #include files in the generated code.
-v
Displays the version of moc and Qt.

You can explicitly tell the moc not to parse parts of a header file. It recognizes any C++ comment (//) that contains the substrings MOC_SKIP_BEGIN or MOC_SKIP_END. They work as you would expect and you can have several levels of them. The net result as seen by the moc is as if you had removed all lines between a MOC_SKIP_BEGIN and a MOC_SKIP_END  

USAGE

moc is almost always invoked by make(1), not by hand.

moc is typically used with an input file containing class declarations like this:

class YourClass : public QObject {
    Q_OBJECT
    Q_PROPERTY( ... )
    Q_CLASSINFO( ... )

public:
    YourClass( QObject * parent=0, const char * name=0 );
    ~YourClass();

signals:

public slots:

};

Here is a useful makefile rule if you only use GNU make:

m%.cpp: %.h
        moc $< -o $@

If you want to write portably, you can use individual rules of the following form:

mNAME.cpp: NAME.h
        moc $< -o $@

You must also remember to add mNAME.cpp to your SOURCES (substitute your favorite name) variable and mNAME.o to your OBJECTS variable.

(While we prefer to name our C++ source files .cpp, the moc doesn't know that, so you can use .C, .cc, .CC, .cxx or even .c++ if you prefer.)

If you have class declarations in C++ files, we recommend that you use a makefile rule like this:

NAME.o: mNAME.cpp

mNAME.cpp: NAME.cpp
        moc -i $< -o $@

This guarantees that make(1) will run the moc before it compiles NAME.cpp. You can then put


     #include "nNAME.cpp"

at the end of NAME.cpp, where all the classes declared in that file are fully known.  

DIAGNOSTICS

Sometimes you may get linkage errors, saying that YourClass::className() is undefined or that YourClass lacks a vtbl. Those errors happen most often when you forget to compile the moc-generated C++ code or include that object file in the link command.

The moc will warn you about a number of dangerous or illegal constructs.  

BUGS

The moc does not expand #include or #define, it simply skips any preprocessor directives it encounters. This is regrettable, but is normally not a problem in practice.

The moc does not handle all of C++. The main problem is that class templates cannot have signals or slots. This is an important bug. Here is an example:

class SomeTemplate<int> : public QFrame {
    Q_OBJECT
    ....
signals:
    void bugInMocDetected( int );
};

Less importantly, the following constructs are illegal. All of them have have alternatives which we think are usually better, so removing these limitations is not a high priority for us.  

Multiple inheritance requires QObject to be first.

If you are using multiple inheritance, moc assumes that the first inherited class is a subclass of QObject. Also, be sure that only the first inherited class is a QObject.

class SomeClass : public QObject, public OtherClass {
    ...
};

This bug is almost impossible to fix; since the moc does not expand #include or #define, it cannot find out which one of the base classes is a QObject.  

Function pointers cannot be arguments to signals or slots.

In most cases where you would consider that, we think inheritance is a better alternative. Here is an example of illegal syntax:

class SomeClass : public QObject {
    Q_OBJECT
    ...
public slots:
    // illegal
    void apply( void (*apply)(List *, void *), void * );
};

You can work around this restriction like this:

typedef void (*ApplyFunctionType)( List *, void * );

class SomeClass : public QObject {
    Q_OBJECT
    ...
public slots:
    void apply( ApplyFunctionType, char * );
};

It may sometimes be even better to replace the function pointer with inheritance and virtual functions, signals or slots.  

Friend declarations cannot be placed in signals or slots sections

Sometimes it will work, but in general, friend declarations cannot be placed in signals or slots sections. Put them in the good old private, protected or public sections instead. Here is an example of the illegal syntax:

class SomeClass : public QObject {
    Q_OBJECT
    ...
signals:
    friend class ClassTemplate<char>; // illegal
};
 

Signals and slots cannot be upgraded

The C++ feature of upgrading an inherited member function to public status is not extended to cover signals and slots. Here is an illegal example:

class Whatever : public QButtonGroup {
    ...
public slots:
    QButtonGroup::buttonPressed; // illegal
    ...
};

The QButtonGroup::buttonPressed() slot is protected.

C++ quiz: What happens if you try to upgrade a protected member function which is overloaded?

- All the functions are upgraded.
- That is not legal C++.
 

Type macros cannot be used for signal and slot arguments

Since the moc does not expand #define, type macros that take an argument will not work in signals and slots. Here is an illegal example:

#ifdef ultrix
#define SIGNEDNESS(a) unsigned a
#else
#define SIGNEDNESS(a) a
#endif
class Whatever : public QObject {
    ...
signals:
    void someSignal( SIGNEDNESS(int) ); // illegal
};

A #define without arguments works.
 

Nested classes cannot be in the signals or slots sections nor have signals or slots

Here's an example:

class A {
    Q_OBJECT
public:
    class B {
    public slots: // illegal
        void b();
        ...
    };
signals:
    class B {  // illegal
        void b();
        ...
    }:
};

 

Constructors cannot be used in signals or slots sections

It is a mystery to us why anyone would put a constructor on either the signals or slots sections. You can't, anyway (except that it happens to work in some cases). Put them in private, protected or public sections, where they belong. Here is an example of the illegal syntax:

class SomeClass : public QObject {
    Q_OBJECT
public slots:
    SomeClass( QObject *parent, const char *name )
        : QObject( parent, name ) {} // illegal
    ...
};
 

Properties need to be declared before the public section that contains the respective get and set functions

Declaring the first property within or after the public section that contains the type definition and the respective get and set functions does not work as expected. The moc will complain that it can neither find the functions nor resolve the type. Here is an example of the illegal syntax:

class SomeClass : public QObject {
    Q_OBJECT
public:
    ...
    // illegal
    Q_PROPERTY( Priority priority READ priority WRITE setPriority )
    Q_ENUMS( Priority )
    enum Priority { High, Low, VeryHigh, VeryLow };
    void setPriority( Priority );
    Priority priority() const;
    ...
};

Work around this limitation by declaring all properties at the beginning of the class declaration, right after Q_OBJECT:

class SomeClass : public QObject {
    Q_OBJECT
    Q_PROPERTY( Priority priority READ priority WRITE setPriority )
    Q_ENUMS( Priority )
public:
    ...
    enum Priority { High, Low, VeryHigh, VeryLow };
    void setPriority( Priority );
    Priority priority() const;
    ...
};

 

SEE ALSO

http://www.trolltech.com, C++ ARM, section r.11.3 (for the answer to the quiz), and http://doc.trolltech.com (for complete Qt documentation).


 

Index

NAME
SYNOPSIS
DESCRIPTION
OPTIONS
USAGE
DIAGNOSTICS
BUGS
Multiple inheritance requires QObject to be first.
Function pointers cannot be arguments to signals or slots.
Friend declarations cannot be placed in signals or slots sections
Signals and slots cannot be upgraded
Type macros cannot be used for signal and slot arguments
Nested classes cannot be in the signals or slots sections nor have signals or slots
Constructors cannot be used in signals or slots sections
Properties need to be declared before the public section that contains the respective get and set functions
SEE ALSO




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