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Using GSL error reporting in your own functions

If you are writing numerical functions in a program which also uses GSL code you may find it convenient to adopt the same error reporting conventions as in the library.

To report an error you need to call the function gsl_error with a string describing the error and then return an appropriate error code from gsl_errno.h, or a special value, such as NaN. For convenience the file gsl_errno.h defines two macros which carry out these steps:

GSL_ERROR (reason, gsl_errno) Macro

This macro reports an error using the GSL conventions and returns a status value of gsl_errno. It expands to the following code fragment,

          gsl_error (reason, __FILE__, __LINE__, gsl_errno);
          return gsl_errno;

The macro definition in gsl_errno.h actually wraps the code in a do { ... } while (0) block to prevent possible parsing problems.

Here is an example of how the macro could be used to report that a routine did not achieve a requested tolerance. To report the error the routine needs to return the error code GSL_ETOL.

     if (residual > tolerance)
         GSL_ERROR("residual exceeds tolerance", GSL_ETOL);

GSL_ERROR_VAL (reason, gsl_errno, value) Macro

This macro is the same as GSL_ERROR but returns a user-defined value of value instead of an error code. It can be used for mathematical functions that return a floating point value.

The following example shows how to return a NaN at a mathematical singularity using the GSL_ERROR_VAL macro,

     if (x == 0)
         GSL_ERROR_VAL("argument lies on singularity",
                       GSL_ERANGE, GSL_NAN);