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Combination values and macros

Some MIL functions make use of combination values and macros. Combination values and macros are mechanisms by which you can specify multiple pieces of information to one parameter.

Combination values

Some parameters in MIL functions can take a combination of constants added together; typically these parameters take a primary constant added with what is referred to as a combination value. Combination value are used to indicate an additional setting without requiring an additional parameter or increasing the number of possible constants to cover all permutations. An example of a parameter that can take a combination of constants is the Attribute parameter of MbufAlloc...(); you can set this parameter to:


This specifies that the function should allocate an image type buffer, and that it should be displayable. This mechanism works because in these cases, both the primary constant and the combination value are bit-encoded; that said, it is recommended that you combine them using an addition (+) operation and not a bitwise OR operation. This makes your code more legible because the combination values typically indicate an additional setting instead of an alternative setting.

If using the addition operation, be careful not to mistakenly add the same combination value to the primary constant more than once. This has a cumulative effect on the respective bits, leading to what could be a technically valid, yet incorrect constant. For parameters that take combination values, you should also be careful to pass the right constants to the parameter. This is because adding the wrong constants could also lead to a technically valid, yet incorrect constant.

Constants that can be combined with combination values listed in a separate table denote this fact with a plus (+) sign. If you hover over the plus (+) sign, a hover box will appear indicating the table names containing the possible combination values. If the combination value's table is only supported for a subset of the systems for which the primary constant is supported, these will be listed in the combination table and in the hover box.

A combination values table is placed after the table with the last primary constant that can be combined with the values in the combination values table. A combination values table will, at the top of the table, list the primary constants that can (or must) be combined with the combination values in the table.

Combination values are typically optional, but at times are required. When a combination value is required, it is indicated in the description of the primary constant and in the preamble of the combination table. In some rare cases, constants can be combined with constants in the same table; in these cases, the fact that they can be combined is indicated in text above the table (for example, the constants for the Operation parameter in MblobDraw()).

Some combination values can be further combined with other combination values. An example of this is when allocating an image buffer for compressed data using MbufAlloc...(); you could pass its Attribute parameter M_IMAGE + M_COMPRESS and further combine these with an M_JPEG... constant to indicate the compression algorithm. For example, if you want to allocate an image buffer to hold JPEG2000 lossless compressed data, you would specify:


Function-like macros

Some parameters in MIL functions have their values passed through a macro (for example, M_RGB888()). These macros can take one or more parameters, and will perform some internal operation, the result of which will be returned to the parameter calling the macro. Essentially, macros are like calling a function. For example, the M_RGB888() macro takes three 8-bit values, representing each color element (red, green, and blue), and converts them to an encoded RGB value. The following is an example of setting a MIL function's parameter using a macro:

MdispControl(DisplayID, M_TRANSPARENT_COLOR, M_RGB888(20,32,24));

Note that when you set a control type to a value using a macro (for example, M_TRANSPARENT_COLOR with M_RGB888()), and then you inquire this value, you need to use a different macro to decode the returned value. For example, to retrieve the red, green, and blue components of the encoded RGB value, you must use the M_RGB888_R, M_RGB888_G, and M_RGB888_B macros respectively. The following snippet shows how to use the RGB unpacking macros:

//Inquire the encoded RGB value
MdispInquire(DisplayId, M_TRANSPARENT_COLOR, &RGBValue);

//Unpack encoded RGB value into its constituent parts.
RGB_R_Value = M_RGB888_R(RGBValue);
RGB_G_Value = M_RGB888_G(RGBValue);
RGB_B_Value = M_RGB888_B(RGBValue);

Some parameters can take one of several macros. For example, the LabelOrIndex parameter of MbeadControl() can take the label and index macros (M_TEMPLATE_LABEL() and M_TEMPLATE_INDEX() respectively); these macros bit-shift values so MIL understands whether a label or an index is being specified as the value for a function's parameter. Some parameters can take a combination of macros; in such cases, the macros are bit-encoded (for example, M_SEQ_OUTPUT() + M_SEQ_DEST()). This means that they must respect the same rules that were outlined above for when combining with combination values.

Strings passed directly to a MIL function are passed through the MIL_TEXT macro. This macro detects and declares the string in the proper character encoding scheme required for the application at hand. If you intend to pass a string in a variable, you must pass the variable to the parameter without enclosing the variable in the MIL_TEXT macro. The MIL_TEXT macro is different from other macros; this distinction is due to the fact that, because it is completely resolved at compile-time, it cannot take a variable as a parameter. The following snippet shows how to properly use the MIL_TEXT macro:

//Using the MIL_TEXT macro on its own to specify a file path
MbufSave(MIL_TEXT(".Documents/Matrox Imaging/MIL/Examples"), MILImageBuf);

//Passing a string to the MIL_TEXT macro, which is then enclosed in a variable
MIL_CONST_TEXT_PTR MILFilePath = MIL_TEXT(".Documents/Matrox Imaging/MIL/Examples");

//Passing the variable as the argument for the file name parameter. Beware to not enclose the variable in MIL_TEXT()
MbufSave(MILFilePath, MILImageBuf);

Note that the MIL_TEXT macro is only required in C and C++. For more information on dealing with strings in other languages, see the Using .NET strings with MIL section of Chapter 45: Using MIL with .NET and the Using strings in Python subsection of the MIL functions and constants in Python section of Chapter 44: Using MIL with Python.