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ParallelIO (mathlink windows program) Help Please

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  • Subject: [mg61763] ParallelIO (mathlink windows program) Help Please
  • From: Zhe Hu <iamhuzhe at>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 03:26:00 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Inspired by SerialIO (a mathlink program accessing the serial port), I tried
to have Mathematica be able to read/write the parallel port on the Windows

There is a graceful solution (built upon native device driver) to read/write
parallel port under Windows XP at All
you need is a dll (no need to install or anything), which exports both inp32
that reads the parallel port and outp32 that writes to the port.

So the rest of the work seemed quite textbooky at first thought. (I use VC++
6.0 and Mathlink V4r11)

(0) define the template file as:

:Function: Inp32
:Pattern: ParallelRead[port_]
:Arguments: {port}
:ArgumentTypes: {ShortInteger}
:ReturnType: ShortInteger

:Function: Out32
:Pattern: ParallelWrite[port_, data_]
:Arguments: {port, data}
:ArgumentTypes: {ShortInteger, ShortInteger}
:ReturnType: Manual

(1) write the entry point as:

int main(int argc, char* argv[])
return MLMain(argc, argv);

(2) wrap the built exe file in a *.m file as




$Link = Install["ParallelIO"];

End[]; (* `Private` *)



However things weren't so smooth at all.

(1) if all the files are in C, the VC linker just can't find Inp32 and
Out32, though I definitely incorporate the lib file. So I have to rename
each file to *.cpp, including "mprep <> -o
parallel.cpp" which is against the "rule"

(2) The original definition
short _stdcall Inp32(short PortAddress);
void _stdcall Out32(short PortAddress, short data);

has to be wrapped into

short mInp32(short Port)
return Inp32(Port);

void mOut32(short Port, short data)
Out32(Port, data);

(3) Then MathLink got stuck once I do ParallelWrite[888, (someNumber)] in
Mathematica. So I have to change to
int mOut32(short Port, short data)
Out32(Port, data);
return 0;


:Function: mOut32
:Pattern: ParallelWrite[port_, data_]
:Arguments: {port, data}
:ArgumentTypes: {ShortInteger, ShortInteger}
:ReturnType: Integer


The surprise is that after all these twists of trial and error, the thing

So my confusion is that:
(1) How well does MathLink code go with C++? I don't mean to use class, jus=
work with other C++ files in VC++ compiler. (There is pretty much
contradictory discussion that can be googled already. Please someone at
least show some sample VC++ project files)
(2) If a C/C++ function return type is "void", is that the ":ReturnType:"
should be "Manual". But then does this function need to send some package
back or free something at the end, otherwise the link seems to get stuck.

I'd love to send my source code, etc. in a zipped file to anyone who would
be interested in taking a look.

Thanks a lot.

Hu Zhe

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