Explain the use of bit fieild.

Explain the use of bit field.

Bit Fields allow the packing of data in a structure.

This is especially useful when memory or data storage is at a premium

The maximum length of the field should be less than or equal to the integer word length of the computer.some compilers may allow memory overlap for the fields.Some store the next field in the next word.

C lets us do this in a structure definition by putting :bit length after the variable:

struct pack
unsigned int funny_int:9;

Also, Boolean datatype flags can be stored compactly as a series of bits using the bits fields. Each Boolean flag is stored in a separate bit.

Packing of data in a structured format is allowed by using bit fields. When the memory is a premium, bit fields are extremely useful. For example:

- Picking multiple objects into a machine word : 1 bit flags can be compacted
- Reading external file formats : non-standard file formats could be read in, like 9 bit integers

This type of operations is supported in C language. This is achieved by putting :’bit length’ after the variable. Example:

struct packed_struct {
unsigned int var1:1;
unsigned int var2:1;
unsigned int var3:1;
unsigned int var4:1;
unsigned int var5:4;
unsigned int funny_int:9;
} pack;

packed-struct has 6 members: four of 1 bit flags each, and 1 4 bit type and 1 9 bit funny_int.

C packs the bit fields in the structure automatically, as compactly as possible, which provides the maximum length of the field is less than or equal to the integer word length the computer system.

The following points need to be noted while working with bit fields:

- The conversion of bit fields is always integer type for computation
- Normal types and bit fields could be mixed / combined
- Unsigned definitions are important.
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