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DLL Conventions: Issues and Solutions, Part I

Have you ever experienced compatibility issues between Dynamic Link Libraries developed using different tools? It is not irrational to use a DLL developed with one tool in a different tool; sometimes there are very good reasons to do so. This first article in a three-part series explaining how to resolve the issues presents the problem plainly.

Author Info:
By: Digvijay Chauhan
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April 04, 2005
  1. · DLL Conventions: Issues and Solutions, Part I
  2. · A simple problem
  3. · Where is the actual problem?
  4. · In the Next Article

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DLL Conventions: Issues and Solutions, Part I - In the Next Article
(Page 4 of 4 )

We can try to solve these problems in different ways depending on how the Visual C++ DLL was developed. Don't worry if you don't know about that too, because we have a lot of tools at our disposal that make it visible to us.

So in the next part of this series we'll discuss what these Calling Conventions are and how can we identify exported symbols and the used calling convention. And later we will discuss how to solve the problem.


This article presented the roadblocks that developers encounter while a Visual C++ DLL is to be used from a C++ Builder project.

You might have noticed that we're discussing only "How to call C style functions in a DLL" and there is not a word about classes exported by DLLs, but in future articles we shall discuss them to the extent possible. This is done intentionally because Visual C++ DLLs present more problems, because linker names for classes' member functions are mangled. The name mangling scheme is employed in order to support function overloading.

But again, there are differences in the schemes that different vendors adopt to mangle member names. The ANSI C++ standard does not govern the specifications of how a compiler should mangle class member names. Today, in absence of a strict standard in place, all the vendors have each developed their own techniques for name mangling, and the resulting conventions are certainly not compatible. But surely we now have ways to eradicate these subtle issues.

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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