Using a C++ DLL in Cube

One thing that can drastically speed Cube is using a DLL to do big tasks, like Nested Logit Mode Choice. However, doing this can be fraught with hair-pulling errors.  This post shows some techniques to keep your hair on your head.  This post is written for a travel demand modeler, not a computer science person!

RTFM (Read The Fine Manual)

Read the help file for Matrix CALL statement.  The struct statement is pretty important, and the sprintf lines will be used throughout.

Memory Pointers

One of the most important things to understand is that because there are so many variables that can be passed between Cube and the C++ DLL, the memory pointers are passed instead.  Also, one of those "pull your hair out" things relates to this - if you attempt to access a memory pointer that hasn't been initialized, you get a crash that gives no error.

Because of this, the variables in the struct statement have a *, which notes that it is a memory pointer.

To keep from getting the crash-with-no-error, the following statement works well to test and allows a default to be used if the variable 'MarketSegments' is not set in Cube.

int MarketSegments=4;

if(Stack->pfFindVar("MarketSegments")!=0)
MarketSegments=(int)*Stack->pfFindVar("MarketSegments");

Matrix In, Matrix Out

While the Help file says that you can get to defined working matrixes using

static double **MW;
MW=(*Stack->pfFindVar)("MW",1);

I can't get it to work using C++ (I have gotten it to work in C).  Instead, use the following:

static double **MW=NULL;
MW=Stack->MW;

This will enable you to use MW[m][j] (where m is the MW number, and j is the j-zone).

You can also set the MW variables, but it does NOTHING if you don't set the MW to something in Cube Voyager.  Ergo, if you set

MW[101][j]=10;

Your output will be 0 unless you do the following in Cube Voyager

MW[101]=0
CALL...

Array Variables

One of the tricks I use to get array variables out of Cube is this

float ArrayVariable[7]={0,0,0,0,0,0,0};  //Note: I'm using 1-6.  Setting this to 7 means 0-6.  Setting it to 6 would mean 0-5
if(Stack->pfFindVar("ArrayVariable")>0){
double* tmpAV=NULL;
tmpAV=Stack->pfFindVar("ArrayVariable",1,2,3,4,5,6);
for(int x=1;x<=6;x++)
ArrayVariable[x]=tmpAV[x];
}

This code above checks that the ArrayVariable, fills them into a temporary variable, and then sets the actual variable.

Compilation Linker Settings

When compiling, you need to set the EXPORT flag so the name is predictable and correct.  To do this, go to your project's property pages - Configuration Properties - Linker - Command Line.  You need to add "/EXPORT:FunctionName" under Additional Options.  See the screenshot below

.

Other Weird Stuff

Any error in C++ that does not cause a compilation error results in one of those useless "this program has an error and will be closed" and crashes Task Monitor.  That being said, write messages to the output file frequently (if at least during debugging).  This can assist with finding typos (like, say, %10.65f in an sprintf statement, which means 65 decimal places in a 10-width line).

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