Calling Convention – Part III (__fastcall)
Fast calling convention ( __fastcall )
Fast calling convention indicates that the first two arguments should be placed in registers (ECX & EDX) and rest are pushed on stack. This reduces the cost of a function call, because operations with registers are faster than with the stack.
We can explicitly declare a function to use the __fastcall convention as shown:
int __fastcall Add( int nValue1, int nValue2 );
The main characteristics of __fastcall calling convention are:
- The first two function arguments that require 32 bits or less are placed into registers ECX and EDX. The rest of them are pushed on the stack from right to left.
- Arguments are popped from the stack by the called function.
Function Name Decoration For fastcall
Function name is decorated by by prefixing a ‘@’ character and postfixing a ‘@’ and number of bytes of stack space required by the arguments at end of the function name.
@[email protected] //@ added before & after function name and number of bytes space required on stack
Note: Microsoft have reserved the right to change the registers for passing the arguments in future compiler versions.
Here goes an example:
; // put the arguments in the registers EDX and ECX mov edx,3 mov ecx,2 ; // call the function call @[email protected] ; // copy the return value from EAX to a local variable (int nResult) mov DWORD PTR [nResult], eax
The called function is shown below:
; // function prolog push ebp mov ebp, esp push ebx push esi push edi ; // return nValue1 + nValue2; mov eax, DWORD PTR [nValue1] add eax, DWORD PTR [nValue2] ; // function epilog pop ebx pop esi pop edi mov esp, ebp pop ebp ;//Stack cleanup and return ret 8
__fastcall calling convention is that it attempts to put arguments in registers, rather than on the stack, thus making function calls faster.
Disadvantage of __fastcall calling convention is that functions with variable number of arguments (like
printf()) can’t use __fastcall. Instead they must use
__cdecl, because it is the only calling convention who knows the number of arguments in each function call; therefore only the caller can perform the stack cleanup.
Final Part: Cont. Calling Convention – Part IV