Embedding Perl In a Visual C++ App (Console and GUI)


Environment: VC6, SP4

This is mostly taken from the perlembed document, but with slight modifications that should clarify embedding a perl interpreter in a VC++ app. It is assumed that you have perl installed on your machine. You may want to get the source code too.

The screenshot above is what the included GUI project should look like. The app is in no way useful. It just demonstrates how to embed and use a perl interpreter in your VC++ application. Take a look at the event handler method for the Try It button click in the demo project below.

The following steps show how to create a console application that embeds a perl interpreter.

  1. Run 'perl -MExtUtils::Embed -e xsinit' from the command line to generate the perlxsi.c file.
  2. In Visual C++, create a new "Win32 Console Application" project and name it interp. (If you select "Win32 Application", it won't build properly).
  3. Insert the following files into your project by selecting Projet -> Add To Project -> Files...:
    • perlxsi.c
    • perl56.lib (yes, actually insert it into the project)
    • interp.c (the first example app from perlembed)

    Typically you'll find perl.lib in C:\perl\lib\CORE, if not, you should see the CORE directory relative to perl -V:archlib.

    The studio will also need this path so it knows where to find Perl include files. This path can be added via the Tools -> Options -> Directories tab.

  4. Finally, select Build -> Build interp.exe and you're ready to go.

The problems I've run into were apparently just environment related, so your results may vary. I am not a VC++ expert, so it took me a bit to figure it out. I was also able to build a Win32 Windows executable (See sample project) that works. Here's the steps involved to at least add the interpreter to a GUI application. You'll have to add the perl parsing code yourself. See the demo project for more details.

  1. Run 'perl -MExtUtils::Embed -e xsinit' from the command line to generate the perlxsi.c file.
  2. Rename perlxsi.c to perlxsi.cpp
  3. Create a new "MFC AppWizard (exe)" project and name it perldlg. Select "Dialog Based Application" and Finish.
  4. Copy perlxsi.cpp to your main project directory
  5. Insert the following files into your project by selecting Projet -> Add To Project -> Files...:
    • perlxsi.cpp
    • perl56.lib

  6. Place the following line in the bottom of perldlgDlg.h:
              static PerlInterpreter *my_perl;

  7. Add the following includes to the top of perldlgDlg.h:
              #include <EXTERN.h>
              #include <perl.h>

  8. Place the following code at the bottom of your perlxsi.cpp file. IT MUST BE PLACED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE FILE AFTER EVERYTHING ELSE OR IT WON'T BUILD.
            #include "stdafx.h"

  9. Use the perl interpreter pointer declared earlier (*my_perl) in perldlgDlg.h to access perl functionality.
  10. Build perldlg.exe by selecting Build -> Build perldlg.exe

You may get some compiler warnings about EXTERN_C being redefined. I just removed the second definition. While this may not be desirable, it does allow the application to compile, link, and run.

Please understand that I am not certain as to why a lot of this was needed or how it all works, but I was successful in getting it to build. If you have questions, I'll do my best to help. Good luck!!


Download demo project - 32.6 Kb

This article was originally published on January 18th, 2002

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