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BitFlag.jl provides an Enum-like type for bit flag option values. The main motivations are:

  1. Members have implicit numbering with incrementing powers of 2.
  2. Binary OR (|) and AND (&) operations are supported among members.
  3. Values are pretty-printed by name, with OR chains when multiple bits are set.

This implementation is a relatively minor modification of Julia's Enum type implementation.

Basic usage

To create a new BitFlag type, use the @bitflag macro, provide a name, an optional integer type, and a list of the member options (and optional values). A new definition can be given in inline form:

@bitflag BitFlagName[::BaseType] value1[=x] value2[=y]

or as a block definition:

@bitflag BitFlagName[::BaseType] begin

Automatic numbering starts at 1, but an initial flag value may be explicitly set to the value of zero. If no explicit zero-valued member is given, then 0 is not a valid value for the BitFlag. In the following example, we build an 8-bit BitFlag with no value for bit 3 (value of 4).

julia> @bitflag MyStyle::UInt8 S_NONE=0 S_BOLD S_ITALIC S_LARGE=8

Combinations can be made using standard binary operations:

julia> S_BOLD | S_LARGE
(S_LARGE | S_BOLD)::MyStyle = 0x09

julia> ans & S_ITALIC
S_NONE::MyStyle = 0x00

Conversion to and from integers is permitted, but only for valid combinations of values:

julia> Int(S_BOLD)

julia> Integer(S_ITALIC)    # Abstract Integer uses native UInt8 type

julia> MyStyle(9)
(S_LARGE | S_BOLD)::MyStyle = 0x09

julia> MyStyle(4)    # MyStyle does not have a flag at 4
ERROR: ArgumentError: invalid value for BitFlag MyStyle: 4

In the above examples, both the bit flag type and member instances are added to the surrounding scope. If some members have common or conflicting names — or if scoped names are simply desired on principle — the @bitflagx macro can be used instead. This variation supports the same features and syntax as @bitflag (with respect to choosing the base integer type, inline versus block definitions, and setting particular flag values), but the definitions are instead placed within a [bare] module, avoiding adding anything but the module name to the surrounding scope.

For example, the following avoids shadowing the sin function:

julia> @bitflagx TrigFunctions sin cos tan csc sec cot

julia> TrigFunctions.sin
sin::TrigFunctions.T = 0x00000001

julia> sin(π)

julia> print(typeof(TrigFunctions.sin))

Because the module is named TrigFunction, the generated type must have a different name. By default, the name of the type is T, but it may be overridden by choosing using the keyword option T = new_name as the first argument:

julia> @bitflagx T=type HyperbolicTrigFunctions sinh cosh tanh csch sech coth

julia> HyperbolicTrigFunctions.tanh
tanh::HyperbolicTrigFunctions.type = 0x00000004

julia> print(typeof(HyperbolicTrigFunctions.tanh))


Each flag value is then printed with contextual information which is more user-friendly than a raw integer:

julia> S_BOLD
S_BOLD::MyStyle = 0x00000001

julia> S_BOLD | S_LARGE
(S_LARGE | S_BOLD)::MyStyle = 0x00000005

In a compact context (such as in multi-dimensional arrays), the pretty-printing takes on a shorter form:

julia> [S_NONE (S_BOLD | S_LARGE)]
1×2 Array{MyStyle,2}:

julia> show(IOContext(stdout, :compact => true), S_BOLD | S_LARGE)


BitFlags support writing to and reading from streams as integers:

julia> io = IOBuffer();

julia> write(io, UInt8(9));

julia> seekstart(io);

julia> read(io, MyStyle)
(S_LARGE | S_BOLD)::MyStyle = 0x09