The different routines exist to accommodate different integral types in C with which values might be exchanged. The C integral types for which Tcl provides value exchange routines are int, long int, Tcl_WideInt, and mp_int. The int and long int types are provided by the C language standard. The Tcl_WideInt type is a typedef defined to be whatever signed integral type covers at least the 64-bit integer range (-9223372036854775808 to 9223372036854775807). Depending on the platform and the C compiler, the actual type might be long long int, or something else. The mp_int type is a multiple-precision integer type defined by the LibTomMath multiple-precision integer library.
The Tcl_NewIntObj, Tcl_NewLongObj, Tcl_NewWideIntObj, and Tcl_NewBignumObj routines each create and return a new Tcl value initialized to the integral value of the argument. The returned Tcl value is unshared.
The Tcl_SetIntObj, Tcl_SetLongObj, Tcl_SetWideIntObj, and Tcl_SetBignumObj routines each set the value of an existing Tcl value pointed to by objPtr to the integral value provided by the other argument. The objPtr argument must point to an unshared Tcl value. Any attempt to set the value of a shared Tcl value violates Tcl's copy-on-write policy. Any existing string representation or internal representation in the unshared Tcl value will be freed as a consequence of setting the new value.
The Tcl_GetIntForIndex routine attempts to retrieve an index value from the Tcl value objPtr. If the attempt succeeds, then TCL_OK is returned, and the value is written to the storage provided by the caller. The attempt might fail if objPtr does not hold an index value. If the attempt fails, then TCL_ERROR is returned, and if interp is non-NULL, an error message is left in interp. The Tcl_ObjType of objPtr may be changed to make subsequent calls to the same routine more efficient.
The Tcl_GetIntFromObj, Tcl_GetLongFromObj, Tcl_GetWideIntFromObj, Tcl_GetBignumFromObj, and Tcl_TakeBignumFromObj routines attempt to retrieve an integral value of the appropriate type from the Tcl value objPtr. If the attempt succeeds, then TCL_OK is returned, and the value is written to the storage provided by the caller. The attempt might fail if objPtr does not hold an integral value, or if the value exceeds the range of the target type. If the attempt fails, then TCL_ERROR is returned, and if interp is non-NULL, an error message is left in interp. The Tcl_ObjType of objPtr may be changed to make subsequent calls to the same routine more efficient. Unlike the other functions, Tcl_TakeBignumFromObj may set the content of the Tcl value objPtr to an empty string in the process of retrieving the multiple-precision integer value.
The choice between Tcl_GetBignumFromObj and Tcl_TakeBignumFromObj is governed by how the caller will continue to use objPtr. If after the mp_int value is retrieved from objPtr, the caller will make no more use of objPtr, then using Tcl_TakeBignumFromObj permits Tcl to detect when an unshared objPtr permits the value to be moved instead of copied, which should be more efficient. If anything later in the caller requires objPtr to continue to hold the same value, then Tcl_GetBignumFromObj must be chosen.
The Tcl_InitBignumFromDouble routine is a utility procedure that extracts the integer part of doubleValue and stores that integer value in the mp_int value bigValue.
Tcl_SetIntObj, Tcl_SetLongObj, Tcl_SetWideIntObj, and Tcl_SetBignumObj do not modify the reference count of their objPtr arguments, but do require that the object be unshared.
Tcl_GetIntFromObj, Tcl_GetIntForIndex, Tcl_GetLongFromObj, Tcl_GetWideIntFromObj, Tcl_GetBignumFromObj, and Tcl_TakeBignumFromObj do not modify the reference count of their objPtr arguments; they only read. Note however that this function may set the interpreter result; if that is the only place that is holding a reference to the object, it will be deleted. Also note that if Tcl_TakeBignumFromObj is given an unshared value, the value of that object may be modified; it is intended to be used when the value is “consumed” by the operation at this point.