Pass String to C

NOTE: Also check the tutorial on Arrays to understand this better.

In this example, we will pass a string to the C driver and print it out to STDOUT using printf funcion in the C-driver.

Strings in C are nothing else than char arrays. Strings also can be represented as char pointers with char *. When using the representation as a pointer, the char * variable actually saves the first character's memory address as its value. So there are two ways to use the received parametre as a char * string in C.



#include "cdecl.h"
#include "stdio.h"

size_t PRE_CDECL asm_main( void ) POST_CDECL;

int main() {
    size_t address = asm_main();
    char *string = (char *) address;
    printf("%s\n", string);
    return 0;

The above code uses the received unsigned 32-bit integer value as the address to the pointer on the first char element of the string. So a char * pointer is set to that address and the casting makes sure the received values are interpreted as a char * string. The below example in contrast takes that address and uses that address to the first char element as the value of the char * string. The above example shows clearly, that only a pointer is received, while the below example might confuse one to think the string as a whole would've been received. But both versions work and it is a matter of style to choose from.


#include "cdecl.h"
#include "stdio.h"

char * PRE_CDECL asm_main( void ) POST_CDECL;

int main() {
    char *string = asm_main();
    printf("%s\n", string);
    return 0;

NOTE: size_t will be a 32-bit integer in x86 compilation and that is exactly what we need as asm_main will return the RAM address of the first character of the string (or null terminated char array to be precise).

ASM Code


segment .data
    array: times 10 db 0        ; def and init array = (0,0,...,0), 10 elements

segment .text
    global asm_main

    INC ecx     ; incr the array pointer
    DEC eax     ; decrement the sizecounter

addElement:     ; enter the byte to be added to DL register
                ; void addElement(DL) where DL subset of EDX
    mov [ecx], dl

addCountedElements:     ; REQ: EAX Size, BL Counter, ECX *array
                        ; SET: DL in EDX elementToAdd
    mov dl, al
    add dl, 0x41        ; add 'A' to the counter
    call addElement
    call goToNextElement

    CMP eax, 0         ; if eax > 0 -> do addCountedElements
    JG addCountedElements

    mov dl, 0x0 ; if ebx = 0 -> add NULL as last element & return
    call addElement
    ret ; else return

asm_main:                ;linker entry point
    enter 0,0

    ; initialize required values
    mov eax, 10         ; size of the array
    mov ecx, array      ; store pointer to the current element of the array

    call addCountedElements

    ; pop stack values and return to the caller
    mov eax, array

This ASM code will deliver a pointer to the string "KJIHGFEDCB" to the caller.


$ gcc -m32 -c printfdriver.c
$ nasm -f elf c-array.asm
$ gcc -m32 -o c-array printfdriver.o c-array.o


$ ./c-array