using strings with NIF

Jason Frame jasonwframe@REDACTED
Wed Dec 9 05:08:54 CET 2009


I am trying to use a string as an argument with NIF. I can't work out
how to extract the string on the c side though. Using a int is quite
simple with the enif_get_int function but there doesn't seem be a
similar function for strings. I have tried encoding a tuple with
term_to_binary then using erl_decode and then use erl_element and the
associated functions to extract the string. But it fails with a
segfault and I'm sure there is probably a better way to do this.

1> c(niftest).
2> niftest:init().
3> niftest:test().
Segmentation Fault (core dumped)

-export([init/0, hello/1, test/0]).
init() ->
      erlang:load_nif("./niftest", 0).
hello(_Value) ->
      "NIF library not loaded".
test() ->

/* niftest.c */
#include "erl_nif.h"
#include "erl_interface.h"
#include "ei.h"

static ERL_NIF_TERM hello(ErlNifEnv* env, ERL_NIF_TERM al)
    ErlNifBinary bin;
    ETERM *tuple;

    if (!enif_is_binary(env, al)) {
      return enif_make_badarg(env);

    enif_inspect_binary(env, al, &bin);
    tuple = erl_decode(; // fails here

    return enif_make_string(env, "dummy value");
static ErlNifFunc nif_funcs[] =
    {"hello", 1, hello}

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