I'm building a SCPI electronics lab instrument for Linux.

This post is an object oriented one again: testing if I can create a stream-like socket server in C++.

TL;DR yes

If you are interested in object oriented design, you may want to stay and read.


This blog post is a preparation for the SCPI programmable instrument I'm building for the Raspberry Pi and the PiFace Digital hat.

The SCPI parser will be in plain C: SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 1: Proof of Concept.

The instrument itself - a digital I/O device that's controlled by that SPI engine, will be written in C++. It's basically to feed my own interest .


The instrument will run as a service on the Pi, listening on a port for commands from the SCPI parser (that one will run a s a service listening to some port too).

In C++, input and output is typically done to and from streams. I'm going to test an example that provides a stream wrapper over TCP/IP sockets.


Sockets as Streams


The common way to create a socket listener in C is to use the network APIs.


#include <sys/socket.h>
#include <netinet/in.h>

// ...

  //Create socket
  socket_desc = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_STREAM, 0);
  if (socket_desc == -1) {
    printf("Could not create socket");
  puts("Socket created");

  //Prepare the sockaddr_in structure
  server.sin_family = AF_INET;
  server.sin_addr.s_addr = INADDR_ANY;
  server.sin_port = htons(portno);

  if (bind(socket_desc, (struct sockaddr *) &server, sizeof(server)) < 0) {
    //print the error message
    perror("bind failed. Error");
    return 1;
  puts("bind done");
  while (1) {

    listen(socket_desc, 3);

// ...


This works perfectly. The code above is part of the SCPI parser for my project.


But how to switch to a C++ io stream? The libraries have stream implementations for files and other OS resources, but not for TCP/IP traffic.

The boost.org C++ libraries do have a TCP/IP IO stream. I'm investigating their example here.

This is how a C++ TCP/IP socket server looks like:


    boost::asio::io_service io_service;

    tcp::endpoint endpoint(tcp::v4(), 2223);
    tcp::acceptor acceptor(io_service, endpoint);

    for (;;)
      tcp::iostream stream;
      stream << make_daytime_string();
  catch (std::exception& e)
    std::cerr << e.what() << std::endl;

(I changed the port from boost's example from 13 to 2223, because 13 is in a range that needs elevated rights (sudo) access)


The program above is just an example. It accepts a request. Upon connection, it sends the current time.

Because the loop creates a new stream each time, the original connection closes and you get a new one.



That's behaviour I may want to change or not. I don't know yet if I want to keep the communication between my SCPI parser and the instrument service open or not.

That's a decision I'll make once I integrate the two parts.

I'll create a side blog on how to get and build the BOOST libraries, and how to include them in your project.


related blog
SCPI on a Linux Board - Letter of Intent

SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 1: Proof of Concept

SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 2a: PiFace Digital C programming

SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 2b: PiFace Digital C++ programming
SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 3: TCP/IP Socket C++ programming
SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 4: TCP/IP SCPI and Instrument Service
SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 4b: TCP/IP SCPI and Instrument Service 100% Working
SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 4c: TCP/IP SCPI and Instrument Service - Run as a Daemon
SCPI on a Linux Board - Part 5a: LabVIEW Driver for LAB Switch: Open, Close and Switch functions