Anib February 2016

how can i write binary bits into binary file in C?

I am trying to implement Huffman encoding in C. I am done with the tree construction and obtained the codeword for each symbol as the algorithm proceeds. But now I am stuck with insertion of the codewords into binary files for the corresponding symbol. Can someone suggest how the codeword or binary bits can be written into binary file so that i can obtain the compressed file.

The codewords are of variable length.

A function to write and read these bits to/from the file would be helpful.

This is the code I have written

void create_compressed_file()
    char str[20],ch,*str2,str1[10],str_arr[6],str3[10];
    FILE *fp,*fp2,*fp3;
    int i,array[20],j=0;
    fp2=fopen("newfile.txt","r"); // contains the original text file
    fp3=fopen("codeword.txt","r"); // contains the symbol and codeword
            printf("str2= %s ",str_arr); //str2 stores the symbol(not char but a string)
            printf(" %s-",str2);
                    fscanf(fp3,"%s",&str1); // extracted corresponding codeword(1s and 0s) of   the symbol and stored it into str1
                    write_codeword_to_binaryfile(); // function that i want to create with is   incomplete and need your help.
                fscanf(fp3,"\n%s",&str1); // extract the codeword for(space)character  


anatolyg February 2016

First of all, you should open your file in binary mode:

fp = fopen("myfile", "wb"); // "b" means "binary"

This is a must in Windows, but not necessary on most other platforms (you don't need to do anything special to differentiate the platform; just use "wb").

To write bits into the file, you should use a buffer - a partially-filled byte. Write the buffer to the file when it fills up (contains exactly 8 filled bits).

uint8_t buffer = 0;

You should use a counter that tracks how many bits are filled.

int fullness = 0;

Your function, which writes to a file, should receive the buffer and its fullness. Since it will change them, you actually have to send pointers:

void write_codeword_to_binaryfile(
    const char *codeword, // codeword to write, in ASCII format
    FILE *file,           // destination file
    uint8_t *buffer,
    int *fullness)
    for (char c = *codeword++; c != '\0'; c = codeword++) // iterate
        int bit = c - '0'; // convert from ASCII to binary 0/1

There are two ways to arrange bits in a byte - little-endian (first bit is the least-significant bit) or big-endian (first bit is the most-significant bit). The customary way is to use big-endian ordering.

So if your buffer has a certain number of bits filled, how to fill the next bit? The following example shows a buffer with 5 bits filled:

next bit to fill (its position, starting from the left, is 2)

As you can see from this example, the position of the next bit is 7 - fullness. So, for each bit, do the following:

*buffer |= bit << (7 - *fullness);

See How do you set, clear and toggle a single bit in C/C++? for more info.

When the buffer is fu

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Asked in February 2016
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