stdarg - variable argument list


     #include <stdarg.h>

     void va_start(va_list ap, argtypeN parmN)
     type va_arg(va_list ap, type)
     void va_end(va_list ap)


     This set of macros provides a means of writing portable  procedures  that
     accept  variable argument lists.  Routines having variable argument lists
     (such as printf(3)) that do not use stdarg  are  inherently  nonportable,
     since different machines use different argument passing conventions.

     A function that accepts a variable argument list is declared  with  "..."
     at  the  end  of  its  parameter  list.  It must have at least one normal
     argument before the "...".  For example:

          int printf(const char *format, ...) { /* code */ }
          int fprintf(FILE *stream, const char *format, ...) { /* code */ }

     va_list is a type which is used for the variable ap within the body of  a
     variable argument function which is used to traverse the list.

     va_start(ap, parmN) is called to initialize ap to the  beginning  of  the
     list.   The  last true parameter of the function, parmN, must be supplied
     to allow va_start to compute the address of the first variable parameter.

     va_arg(ap, type) will return the next argument in the list pointed to  by
     ap.   Type  is  the type to which the expected argument will be converted
     when passed as an argument.

     Different types can be mixed, but it is up to the routine  to  know  what
     type of argument is expected, since it cannot be determined at runtime.

     va_end(ap) must be used to finish up.

     Multiple  traversals,  each  bracketed  by  va_start  ...   va_end,   are


         #include <stdarg.h>

         execl(const char *path, ...)
             va_list ap;
             char *args[100];
             int argno = 0;
             va_start(ap, path);
             while ((args[argno++] = va_arg(ap, char *)) != NULL) {}
             return execv(path, args);


     It is up to the calling routine to determine  how  many  arguments  there
     are,  since  it  is  not possible to determine this from the stack frame.
     For example, execl passes a null pointer to signal the end of  the  list.
     Printf  can  tell  how  many  arguments  are  supposed to be there by the

     The macros va_start and va_end may be arbitrarily complex;  for  example,
     va_start  might  contain  an opening brace, which is closed by a matching
     brace in va_end.  Thus, they should only be  used  where  they  could  be
     placed within a single complex statement.


     It is impossible to properly show the macros as C declarations as is done
     in  the  synopsis.   They  can never be coded as C functions, because all
     three macros use their arguments  by  address,  and  the  type  field  is
     certainly impossible.  Just look at them as being part of the C language,
     like sizeof.