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Article #16373: Stack Overflow, Runtime error 202;

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FAQ1373D.txt   Stack Overflow, Runtime error 202;
Category   :Object Pascal
Platform    :All
Product    :All 32 bit  

Question:
How can I avoid getting a Stack overflow runtime error 202?

Answer:
Simply put, stack overflows are caused by putting too much on the
stack. Usually, they are caused by recursive procedures that never
end. A good example would be creating an event handler for the TMemo's
onChange event, and making a change to the Memo during the processing
of the event. Every time the OnChange event gets fired, another change
is made, so the OnChange event gets fired again in an almost endless
loop. The loop finally ends when the stack overflows, and the
application crashes.

Here is an example of a recursive procedure:

procedure RecursiveBlowTheStack;
begin
  RecursiveBlowTheStack;
end;

Sometimes, a stack overflow is caused by too many large procedures.
Each procedure calls another procedure, until the stack simply
overflows. This can be remidied by breaking up large procedures into
smaller ones. A good rule of thumb in regard to a procedures size is
if the procedure's source code takes up more than a screen, its time
to break it down into smaller procedures.

Finally, stack overflows can be caused by creating very large local
variables inside a procedure, or passing a large variable by value to
another procedure. Consider the passing of string variables. If the
string is 255 characters (plus the length byte), if passed by value,
you are actually taking up 256 bytes off the stack. If the procedure
you are calling passes the string by value to yet another procedure,
the string now takes 512 bytes of stack space. Passing the string (or
other variable) as a var or const parameter takes only 4 bytes, since
var and const parameters are simply pointers to the actual data. You
can also create large variables on the heap by dynamic allocation of
the memory;

The following code demonstrates two procedures BlowTheStack(), and
NoBlowTheStack(). The BlowTheStack procedure attempts to allocate a
large local variable designed to be large enough to crash the
application. The NoBlowTheStack() procedure allocates the same large
variable but allocates it on the heap so the function will succeed.

type
  PBigArray = ^TBigArray;
{$IFDEF WIN32}
  TBigArray = array[0..10000000] of byte;
{$ELSE}
  TBigArray = array[0..64000] of byte;
{$ENDIF}

procedure BlowTheStack;
var
  BigArray : TBigArray;
begin
  BigArray[0] := 10;
end;

procedure NoBlowTheStack;
var
  BigArray : PBigArray;
begin
  GetMem(BigArray, sizeof(BigArray^));
  BigArray^[0] := 10;
  FreeMem(BigArray, sizeof(BigArray^));
end;

Finally, the following code demonstrates creating procedures that
accept large variables as parameters. The PassByValueAnCrash()
procedure is designed to crash since the value parameter is too large
for the stack. The PassByVar(), PassByPointer(), and PassByConst will
succeed, since these procedures only use 4 bytes of stack space. Note
that you cannot modify a parameter passed as const, as a const
parameter is assumed to be read only.

Example:

procedure PassByValueAnCrash(BigArray : TBigArray);
begin
  BigArray[0] := 10;
end;

procedure PassByVar(var BigArray : TBigArray);
begin
  BigArray[0] := 10;
end;

procedure PassByPointer(BigArray : PBigArray);
begin
  PBigArray^[0] := 10;
end;

procedure PassByConst(const BigArray : TBigArray);
begin
  ShowMessage(IntToStr(BigArray[0]));
end;

7/16/98 4:31:28 PM
 

Last Modified: 01-SEP-99