Structures and Unions-C Programming


C Programming – Structures and Unions

In this tutorial you will learn about C Programming –  Structures and Unions, Giving values to members, Initializing structure, Functions and structures, Passing structure to elements to functions, Passing entire function to functions, Arrays of structure, Structure within a structure and Union.

Arrays are used to store large set of data and manipulate them but the disadvantage is that all the elements stored in an array are to be of the same data type. If we need to use a collection of different data type items it is not possible using an array. When we require using a collection of different data items of different data types we can use a structure. Structure is a method of packing data of different types. A structure is a convenient method of handling a group of related data items of different data types.

structure definition:
general format:
struct tag_name
{
data type member1;
data type member2;


}

Example:
struct lib_books
{
char title[20];
char author[15];
int pages;
float price;
};

the keyword struct declares a structure to holds the details of four fields namely title, author pages and price. These are members of the structures. Each member may belong to different or same data type. The tag name can be used to define objects that have the tag names structure. The structure we just declared is not a variable by itself but a template for the structure.

We can declare structure variables using the tag name any where in the program. For example the statement,

struct lib_books book1,book2,book3;

declares book1,book2,book3 as variables of type struct lib_books each declaration has four elements of the structure lib_books. The complete structure declaration might look like this

struct lib_books
{
char title[20];
char author[15];
int pages;
float price;
};

struct lib_books, book1, book2, book3;

structures do not occupy any memory until it is associated with the structure variable such as book1. the template is terminated with a semicolon. While the entire declaration is considered as a statement, each member is declared independently for its name and type in a separate statement inside the template. The tag name such as lib_books can be used to declare structure variables of its data type later in the program.

We can also combine both template declaration and variables declaration in one statement, the declaration

struct lib_books
{
char title[20];
char author[15];
int pages;
float price;
} book1,book2,book3;
is valid. The use of tag name is optional for example
struct
{



}

book1, book2, book3 declares book1,book2,book3 as structure variables representing 3 books but does not include a tag name for use in the declaration.

A structure is usually defines before main along with macro definitions. In such cases the structure assumes global status and all the functions can access the structure.

Giving values to members:

As mentioned earlier the members themselves are not variables they should be linked to structure variables in order to make them meaningful members. The link between a member and a variable is established using the member operator ‘.’ Which is known as dot operator or period operator.

For example:

Book1.price

Is the variable representing the price of book1 and can be treated like any other ordinary variable. We can use scanf statement to assign values like

scanf(“%s”,book1.file);
scanf(“%d”,& book1.pages);

Or we can assign variables to the members of book1

strcpy(book1.title,”basic”);
strcpy(book1.author,”Balagurusamy”);
book1.pages=250;
book1.price=28.50;

/* Example program for using a structure*/
#include< stdio.h >
void main()
{
int id_no;
char name[20];
char address[20];
char combination[3];
int age;
}newstudent;

printf(“Enter the student information”);
printf(“Now Enter the student id_no”);
scanf(“%d”,&newstudent.id_no);
printf(“Enter the name of the student”);
scanf(“%s”,&new student.name);
printf(“Enter the address of the student”);
scanf(“%s”,&new student.address);

printf(“Enter the cmbination of the student”);
scanf(“%d”,&new student.combination);

printf(“Enter the age of the student”);
scanf(“%d”,&new student.age);
printf(“Student information\n”);
printf(“student id_number=%d\n”,newstudent.id_no);
printf(“student name=%s\n”,newstudent.name);
printf(“student Address=%s\n”,newstudent.address);
printf(“students combination=%s\n”,newstudent.combination);
printf(“Age of student=%d\n”,newstudent.age);
}

Initializing structure:

Like other data type we can initialize structure when we declare them. As for initalization goes structure obeys the same set of rules as arrays we initalize the fields of a structure by the following structure declaration with a list containing values for weach fileds as with arrays these values must be evaluate at compile time.

Example:

Struct student newstudent
{
12345,
“kapildev”
“Pes college”;
“Cse”;
19;
};

this initializes the id_no field to 12345, the name field to “kapildev”, the address field to “pes college” the field combination to “cse” and the age field to 19.

Functions and structures:

We can pass structures as arguments to functions. Unlike array names however, which always point to the start of the array, structure names are not pointers. As a result, when we change structure parameter inside a function, we don’t effect its corresponding argument.

Passing structure to elements to functions:
A structure may be passed into a function as individual member or a separate variable.
A program example to display the contents of a structure passing the individual elements to a function is shown below.

# include < stdio.h >
void main()
{
int emp_id;
char name[25];
char department[10];
float salary;
};

static struct emp1={125,”sampath”,”operator”,7500.00};
/* pass only emp_id and name to display function*/
display(emp1.emp_id,emp1.name);
}
/* function to display structure variables*/
display(e_no,e_name)
int e_no,e_name;
{
printf(“%d%s”,e_no,e_name);

in the declaration of structure type, emp_id and name have been declared as integer and character array. When we call the function display() using display(emp1.emp_id,emp1.name);
we are sending the emp_id and name to function display(0);
it can be immediately realized that to pass individual elements would become more tedious as the number of structure elements go on increasing a better way would be to pass the entire structure variable at a time.

Passing entire function to functions:

In case of structures having to having numerous structure elements passing these individual elements would be a tedious task. In such cases we may pass whole structure to a function as shown below:

# include stdio.h>
{
int emp_id;
char name[25];
char department[10];
float salary;
};
void main()
{
static struct employee emp1=
{
12,
“sadanand”,
“computer”,
7500.00
};


/*sending entire employee structure*/
isplay(emp1);
}

/*function to pass entire structure variable*/
display(empf)
struct employee empf
{
printf(“%d%s,%s,%f”, empf.empid,empf.name,empf.department,empf.salary);
}

Arrays of structure:

It is possible to define a array of structures for example if we are maintaining information of all the students in the college and if 100 students are studying in the college. We need to use an array than single variables. We can define an array of structures as shown in the following example:

structure information
{
int id_no;
char name[20];
char address[20];
char combination[3];
int age;
}
student[100];

An array of structures can be assigned initial values just as any other array can. Remember that each element is a structure that must be assigned corresponding initial values as illustrated below.

#include< stdio.h >
{
struct info
{
int id_no;
char name[20];
char address[20];
char combination[3];
int age;
}
struct info std[100];
int I,n;
printf(“Enter the number of students”);
scanf(“%d”,&n);
printf(“ Enter Id_no,name address combination age\m”);
for(I=0;I < n;I++)
scanf(%d%s%s%s%d”,&std[I].id_no,std[I].name,std[I].address,std[I].combination,&std[I].age);
printf(“\n Student information”);
for (I=0;I< n;I++)
printf(“%d%s%s%s%d\n”, ”,std[I].id_no,std[I].name,std[I].address,std[I].combination,std[I].age);
}

Structure within a structure:

A structure may be defined as a member of another structure. In such structures the declaration of the embedded structure must appear before the declarations of other structures.

struct date
{
int day;
int month;
int year;
};
struct student
{
int id_no;
char name[20];
char address[20];
char combination[3];
int age;
structure date def;
structure date doa;
}oldstudent, newstudent;

the sturucture student constains another structure date as its one of its members.

Union:

Unions like structure contain members whose individual data types may differ from one another. However the members that compose a union all share the same storage area within the computers memory where as each member within a structure is assigned its own unique storage area. Thus unions are used to observe memory. They are useful for application involving multiple members. Where values need not be assigned to all the members at any one time. Like structures union can be declared using the keyword union as follows:

union item
{
int m;
float p;
char c;
}
code;

this declares a variable code of type union item. The union contains three members each with a different data type. However we can use only one of them at a time. This is because if only one location is allocated for union variable irrespective of size. The compiler allocates a piece of storage that is large enough to access a union member we can use the same syntax that we use to access structure members. That is

code.m
code.p
code.c

are all valid member variables. During accessing we should make sure that we are accessing the member whose value is currently stored.
For example a statement such as

code.m=456;
code.p=456.78;
printf(“%d”,code.m);

Would prodece erroneous result.

In effect a union creates a storage location that can be used by one of its members at a time. When a different number is assigned a new value the new value supercedes the previous members value. Unions may be used in all places where a structure is allowed. The notation for accessing a union member that is nested inside a structure remains the same as for the nested structure.

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2 responses to “Structures and Unions-C Programming

  1. To read this complete article, I copied the full article then pasted it into MS Word …
    Pls change the theme or change the font color… or increase the font size…….

    Anyhow Good Work… Very Well Writtennnnnnn………

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