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Choose Storage Class for Controlling Data Representation in Generated Code

A storage class is a code generation setting that you apply to data, such as parameters, signals, and states. During code configuration, use a storage class to control the appearance and placement of a data element in the generated code and to prevent optimizations from eliminating storage for that data element.

For model data, you can apply a storage class directly to a model data element by using the Code Mappings editor or code mappings API. Using either the editor or the API, apply a default storage class for categories of data, and then override that setting, as needed, for individual data elements.

For external data, you apply a storage class to a data object by using the Model Explorer or programmatically by using functions such as get_param and set_param.

Once you have specified a storage class for an element or category of elements, you can set properties for that storage class, such as header files, definition files, and memory sections.

Storage Class Properties

The property settings for a storage class define how and where the code generator represents data in the generated code. The properties that you can configure vary depending on the storage class. For most individual elements, you can configure an identifier for naming the data element in the code. To identify properties that you can configure for predefined storage classes, see the following information on specific storage classes.

When you create a storage class by using the Custom Storage Class Designer, you can choose whether the user of the storage class can specify additional settings. See Allow Users of Storage Class to Specify Property Value.

Default Storage Class

By default, the storage class for an individual data element is Auto. By using this default value, you are choosing to have the code generator handle storage class selection and application. In this case, the data element is subject to code generation optimizations, which can eliminate the element from the code or change the representation of the element. If optimizations do not eliminate the data element, the element appears as a field of a standard data structure in the generated code.

When using the Code Mappings editor or the code mappings API, a data element configured with storage class Auto that is not eliminated by optimizations acquires the default code generation settings for the corresponding data category. If you do not specify a code configuration for a category of data elements, the storage class is Default. When a data element category is using this storage class, data elements in that category appear as a field of a standard data structure in the generated code.

Built-in and Predefined Storage Classes

To prevent optimizations from eliminating storage for a data element, you can choose a storage class for the element based on your code generation requirements. Available storage classes include built-in storage classes, predefined storage classes in the Simulink package, and might also include other project-specific storage classes defined in an Embedded Coder Dictionary. If you have special requirements that are not met by the listed storage classes and you are generating code for an ERT-based target, you can define and use a new storage class. See Define Storage Classes, Memory Sections, and Function Templates for Software Architecture and Create Storage Classes by Using the Custom Storage Class Designer.

For Simulink® Coder™, you can choose from these built-in and predefined storage classes.

RequirementsStorage Class
Enable optimizations, potentially generating more efficient code.Auto (Individual data elements)
For data elements that cannot be optimized away, represent data as a field of a standard data structure.Default (Default mapping)
Prevent optimizations from eliminating storage for a data element.Model Default (Individual mapping)
Access data from an unstructured global variable. Generated code contains the variable declaration and definition.ExportedGlobal
Access data from an unstructured global variable. Generated code contains the variable declaration. Your external code provides the definition.ImportedExtern, ImportedExternPointer

If you have Embedded Coder®, you can choose from these additional predefined storage classes available in the Simulink package.

RequirementsStorage Class
Prevent optimizations from eliminating storage for a data element.Dictionary Default (Default mapping)
Generate unstructured variables.
Generate variables as fields of a structure.
Generate variables that have a value that is fixed during code compilation.
Generate variables that you access through a function call.GetSet

These storage classes are examples of storage classes that you can add to an Embedded Coder Dictionary. These examples are defined and made available when you prepare a model for code generation by using the Quick Start tool.

RequirementsStorage Class

Generate global structures that contain parameter data and signal or state data.

ParamStruct, SignalStruct

Auto

When you select this storage class, the code generator handles how to represent the data in the generated code and can enable optimizations to operate on the data element, potentially generating more efficient code.

Auto is the default storage class setting for each data element in a model. The data element is subject to code generation optimizations, which can eliminate the element from the code or change the representation of the element. For information about these optimizations, such as those on the Configuration Parameters > Code Generation > Optimization pane, see How Generated Code Stores Internal Signal, State, and Parameter Data.

Optimizations cannot eliminate some data, such as most block states, from the code. The remaining data acquires a default storage class that you specify on the Data Defaults tab of the Code Mappings editor (see Configure Default Code Generation for Data). If a data element cannot be eliminated, the name of the element in the code is based on naming rules that you specify by using model configuration parameters. See Identifier Format Control—requires Embedded Coder.

Default

On the Data Defaults tab of the Code Mappings editor, Default is the default storage class setting for each data element category. If you leave the storage class setting for a category at this value, data elements that are not subject to code generation optimizations appear as a field of a standard data structure. See How Generated Code Stores Internal Signal, State, and Parameter Data.

Model Default

When you configure an individual data element for code generation, use the Model Default storage class to prevent optimizations from eliminating storage for a data element. See How Generated Code Stores Internal Signal, State, and Parameter Data. With this storage class setting, the data element acquires the default storage class that you specify for the corresponding data category on the Data Defaults tab of the Code Mappings editor. The name of the data element in the code is the same as the name in the model.

Dictionary Default

In Embedded Coder, if you link a model to a data dictionary, which includes a coder dictionary that configures default code definitions for categories of data, you can use the Code Mappings editor to apply the dictionary defaults. On the Data Defaults tab, select a category, then set the storage class to Dictionary Default. For more information on configuring a default code mapping in a coder dictionary, see Configure Default Code Mapping in a Shared Dictionary.

ExportedGlobal

Use this built-in storage class to generate a global variable definition and declaration. By default, the name of the variable is the name of the data element. The code declares the variable in the generated file model.h, which you can include (#include) in your external code.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure this property.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

For an example that uses this storage class, see C Code Generation Configuration for Model Interface Elements.

ImportedExtern, ImportedExternPointer

Use the built-in storage class ImportedExtern to make a data element in a model represent a global variable that your external code defines. The generated algorithmic code uses the variable without defining it.

Generate code that reads from and writes to a global variable defined by your external code. The generated code declares the variable in the generated file model_private.h so that the model entry-point functions can read and write to the variable.

For example, you can apply the storage class ImportedExtern to a signal line, block state, or parameter object. For imported data:

  • The generated code does not initialize parameter data. Your code must initialize imported parameter data.

  • The generated initialization functions dynamically initialize some signal and state data. Unlike data that the generated code allocates, the code does not initialize imported signal or state data to a stored value of zero. Instead, the code immediately initializes the data to the real-world value that you specify in Simulink.

Use ImportedExternPointer when your external code defines a data element and provides a pointer for accessing that data. The generated code reads from and writes to that pointer. The generated code declares the variable in the generated file model_private.h and reads and writes to the data by dereferencing the pointer.

When you use these storage classes, you can also configure this property.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

Bitfield

Use this storage class to generate a structure that stores Boolean data in named bit fields.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

StructNameName of the structure for the data element in the generated code.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Bitfields.

CompilerFlag

Use this storage class to support preprocessor conditionals defined by using a compiler flag or option.

If you build the generated code by using Embedded Coder, to specify the compiler option, you can use the model configuration parameter Configuration Parameters > Code Generation > Custom Code > Additional build information > Defines. See Code Generation Pane: Custom Code: Additional Build Information: Defines.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure this property.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Generate Preprocessor Conditionals for Variant Systems.

Const, Volatile, and ConstVolatile

Use these storage classes to generate a global variable definition and declaration with the const, volatile, or const and volatile type qualifiers.

When you use these storage classes, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

HeaderFile

Source header file that contains declarations for global data read by the data element and external code.

DefinitionFile

Source definition file that contains definitions for global data read by the data element and external code.

Owner

Owner of global data that is defined with the code generated for one of multiple components that use that data.

PreserveDimensions

When model configuration parameter Array layout is set to Row-major, a flag that indicates whether to preserve dimensions of a data element that is represented in generated code as a multidimensional array.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Type Qualifiers.

Define, ImportedDefine

Use the Define storage class to generate a macro (#define directive) such as #define myParam 5.

Use ImportedDefine to generate code that uses a macro (#define directive) defined in a header file in your external code. For an example, see Macro Definitions (#define).

When you use these storage classes, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

HeaderFile

Source header file that contains declarations for global data that is read by the data element and external code.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Macro Definitions (#define).

ExportToFile

Generate a global variable definition and declaration to an external file. You can specify the name and placement of the files that define and declare the variable. See Control Placement of Global Data Definitions and Declarations in Generated Files.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

HeaderFile

Source header file where the code generator places the declarations for global data read by the data element and external code.

DefinitionFile

Source definition file where the code generator places the definitions for global data read by the data element and external code.

The code generator honors this setting only for single-instance models. The setting is ignored for reusable multi-instance models because the data definition is handled at the parent level.

Owner

A component in the model hierarchy where the code generator places a global data definition instead of placing it in the top component of the hierarchy. Requires that you set the model configuration parameter Use owner from data object for data definition placement.

PreserveDimensions

When model configuration parameter Array layout is set to Row-major, a flag that indicates whether to preserve dimensions of a data element that is represented in generated code as a multidimensional array.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Definition, Initialization, and Declaration of Parameter Data.

FileScope

Use this storage class to generate a global variable definition and declaration that has the static type qualifier. In the generated code, the scope of the variable is limited to the current file, which is typically model.c.

In a model reference hierarchy, if a referenced model uses a parameter object (such as Simulink.Parameter) that you create in the base workspace or a data dictionary, you cannot apply FileScope to the object. As a workaround, move the parameter object into the model workspace of the referenced model. Then, you can use FileScope.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

PreserveDimensions

When model configuration parameter Array layout is set to Row-major, a flag that indicates whether to preserve dimensions of a data element that is represented in generated code as a multidimensional array.

GetSet

Use this storage class to generate code that interacts with data by calling custom accessor functions. Your external code defines the data and provides the function definitions.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

HeaderFile

Source header file that contains declarations for global data that is read by the data element and external code.

GetFunctionData element that appears in the generated code as a call to a specified get function
SetFunctionData element that appears in the generated code as a call to a specified set function

For an example that uses this storage class, see Access Data Through Functions with Storage Class GetSet.

ImportFromFile

Use this storage class to generate code that reads from and writes to a global variable defined by your external code. ImportFromFile is similar to ExportToFile, but the generated code does not define the variable.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

HeaderFile

Source header file that contains declarations for global data that is read by the data element and external code.

PreserveDimensions

When model configuration parameter Array layout is set to Row-major, a flag that indicates whether to preserve dimensions of a data element that is represented in generated code as a multidimensional array.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Integrate External Application Code with Code Generated from PID Controller.

Localizable

For signals, if possible, minimize the use of global storage by using local variables.

  • If the variable is used in a single function, the variable is local to that function.

  • If the variable is used in a single file, the variable is local to that file.

  • If the variable is used in more than one function or file, the variable is a global.

Generating local variables prevents the code generator from removing the variables from the generated code.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

PreserveDimensions

When model configuration parameter Array layout is set to Row-major, a flag that indicates whether to preserve dimensions of a data element that is represented in generated code as a multidimensional array.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Generate Local Variables with Localizable Storage Class.

Reusable

Use this storage class to reuse the same variable for multiple independent signals in a model. The code generator stores intermediate calculations of a data path (a series of connected blocks) in a single, reused global variable. This storage class is available only for external data objects.

You can apply this storage class only to a Simulink.Signal object that represents multiple signal lines in a model.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure this property.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Specify Buffer Reuse by Using Simulink.Signal Objects.

Struct

Use this storage class to generate a global structure with a name that you can specify.

When you use this storage class, you can also configure these properties.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

StructNameName of the structure for the data element in the generated code.

For an example that uses this storage class, see Organize Parameter Data into a Structure by Using Struct Storage Class and Structures of Signals.

ParamStruct, SignalStruct

Use these storage classes to generate global structures that contain parameter and signal or state data, respectively. In a hierarchy of components (referenced models or atomic subsystems), you can use these storage classes to create a corresponding hierarchy of structures. These storage classes appear in the Code Mappings editor only after preparing a model for code generation by using the Quick Start tool.

These storage classes are available only for model-owned data.

When you use these storage classes, you can also configure this property.

PropertyDescription
Identifier

Identifier string that the code generator uses to name the data element in the generated code.

Storage Class Limitations

  • When you use storage classes in the Code Mappings editor (Embedded Coder) or code mappings API, some limitations apply. See Limitations.

  • Data objects cannot use an Embedded Coder storage class and a multiword data type.

  • For Embedded Coder storage classes in models that use referenced models:

    • If you apply a grouped storage class, such as Struct or Bitfield, to multiple data items, you must set the storage class Data scope property to Imported and you must provide the data declaration in an external header file. Grouped storage classes use a single variable in the generated code to represent multiple data objects.

    • If a parameter object exists in the base workspace or a data dictionary, and a referenced model uses the object, you cannot apply the storage class FileScope. To apply this storage class to the parameter object, move the object into the model workspace of the referenced model.

  • You cannot apply the storage class FileScope to data items used by a data exchange interface (C API, external mode, or ASAP2) or MAT-file logging. File-scoped data is not externally accessible.

  • You cannot apply the storage class FileScope to data that is used in multiple files.

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