How do I pass an array of variable-sized PROPSHEETPAGE structures to PropertySheet?

Raymond

Last time, we noted that you can add your own custom data to the end of the PROPSHEETPAGE, and if you set the dwSize to include the custom data, then the system will copy that custom data into the HPROPSHEETPAGE.

This technique comes in handy if you need to create a property sheet page with Create­Prop­Sheet­Page, since it gives you a way to store more data than just the single lParam that comes with the PROPSHEETPAGE structure.

When you fill out a PROPSHEETHEADER structure, you can choose whether you’re passing an array of HPROPSHEETPAGE handles (created by Create­Prop­Sheet­Page) or an array of PROPSHEETPAGE structures. Passing an array of HPROPSHEETPAGE handles isn’t a problem, since all HPROPSHEETPAGE handles are the same size, regardless of the size of the PROPSHEETPAGE lurking inside them. But passing an array of variable-sized PROPSHEETPAGE structures is a trickier business.

What we want to do is lay out the memory like this:

page1.dwSize   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
    page1
 extra
  data
page2.dwSize   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
    page2
 extra
  data
page3.dwSize   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
    page3
 extra
  data

We can do this by manufacturing a structure to hold the three extended PROPSHEETPAGE structures.

struct ThreePages
{
    Page1Data page1;
    Page2Data page2;
    Page3Data page3;
};

ThreePages pages;

The naïve say of setting the dwSize members is to set each one to the size of the corresponding structure.

pages.page1.dwSize = sizeof(pages.page1);
pages.page2.dwSize = sizeof(pages.page2);
pages.page3.dwSize = sizeof(pages.page3);

This assumes that the three structures can be laid out next to each other without any inter-member padding. But that may not be true if the structures have different alignment requirements, say, if one of them contains a __mi128.

sizeof(page1)   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
    page1
 extra
  data
oops   (padding?)
sizeof(page2)   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
    page2
 extra
  data
oops   (padding?)
sizeof(page3)   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
    page3
 extra
  data
      (padding?)

In the presence of padding, we have a shortfall between the size of each page and the start of the next page, resulting in an “oops” gap highlighted above.

In order to accommodate varying alignment requirements, the dwSize must include the padding so that the property sheet manager can find the next structure.¹ I’ve marked some key addresses in the diagram below:

page1.dwSize   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
&page1
    page1
 extra
  data
    (padding?)
page2.dwSize   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
&page2
    page2
 extra
  data
page3.dwSize   PROPSHEETPAGE dwSize
dwFlags

lParam
&page3
    page3
 extra
  data
        &pages + 1
pages.page1.dwSize = static_cast<DWORD>(
    reinterpret_cast<DWORD_PTR>(std::addressof(pages.page2)) -
    reinterpret_cast<DWORD_PTR>(std::addressof(pages.page1)));
pages.page2.dwSize = static_cast<DWORD>(
    reinterpret_cast<DWORD_PTR>(std::addressof(pages.page3)) -
    reinterpret_cast<DWORD_PTR>(std::addressof(pages.page2)));
pages.page3.dwSize = static_cast<DWORD>(
    reinterpret_cast<DWORD_PTR>(std::addressof(pages + 1)) -
    reinterpret_cast<DWORD_PTR>(std::addressof(pages.page3)));

This is quite a mouthful, but the idea is that we want to measure the distance to the next thing. We use std::addressof instead of the traditional & operator to protect against the possibility that the & operator has been overloaded.²

Yes, this is quite annoying, but it’s also probably not something you’re likely to be doing, because you could just use a pointer to a stack-allocated object which will remain valid until Property­Sheet returns. The main value of the PROPSHEETPAGE payload is in the case where you need to produce an HPROPSHEETPAGE, since the HPROPSHEETPAGE is probably going to outlive any stack variables.

But it’s there if you need it.

¹ Don’t even think of using #pragma pack(1) to remove the padding. This will misalign the next structure and result in crashes on alignment-sensitive platforms.

² Overloading the & operator is something that annoys C++ library authors, although it’s still nowhere as annoying as overloading the comma operator.

3 comments

Leave a comment