Simplified Wrapper and Interface Generator

An introduction to the uses and advantages of SWIG.
SWIG Advantages

SWIG's advantages are evident in a number of ways. It adds flexibility to testing procedures, it can be used for prototyping and helps in system integration. Very few modifications of the code are needed. Moreover, SWIG directives can be easily extended.

On the other hand, the wrapper has some limitations when it comes to C and C++ programs, because SWIG's author did not mean it to be a fully blown parser.

The following are some examples of unacceptable input.

  • Functions with variable-length parameters will not work.

  • Function pointers and array declarations are problematic; they could be hidden from the interface file by using typdef.

  • Most features of C++ such as templates and operator overloading are not supported.

Nevertheless, SWIG is still a powerful tool, especially since it can be integrated with Microsoft Visual C++.

The End

SWIG is a powerful tool that runs on multiple platforms and supports multiple languages. It served my goal of testing the system within the specified time constraints. It is a neat tool that still has much room for expansion. If you are in the business of testing, prototyping SWIG is the way to go.

Wael Hassan is a graduate student in computer science at Concordia University. He is studying for his master's degree and has interests in Linux, cryptography, CORBA and e-commerce. Wael can be reached by e-mail at