Chapter 6
Kernel Related Tools

6.1   Introduction

The following manual sections describe various tools that might be useful for various kinds of users of the CGAL kernel. The kernel concept archetype describes a minimal model for the CGAL kernel that can be used for testing CGAL kernel compatibility of geometrical algorithm implementations. It can be useful for all people developing CGAL-style code that uses the CGAL kernel.

6.2   Kernel Concept Archetype

6.2.1   Introduction

CGAL defines the concept of a geometry kernel. Such a kernel provides types, construction objects and generalized predicates. Most implementations of CG algorithms and data structures in the basic library of CGAL were done in a way that classes or functions can be parametrized with a geometric traits class.

In most cases this geometric traits class must be a model of the CGAL geometry kernel concept (but there are some exceptions).

The CGAL distribution comes with a number of models (or geometry kernels), for instance the Cartesian kernel (CGAL::Cartesian) or the homogeneous kernel (CGAL::Homogeneous), that can be used with the packages of the basic library.

But does it mean that packages of the basic library are fully compatible with the CGAL kernel concept if they can be used with these CGAL kernel models? Not neccesarily, because such a package might also use member functions or global functions/operators, that are implemented for CGAL kernel types but not for other classes or kernels.

That's why it is important to verify whether the documented requirements of a package are really covered by the implementation. Manual verification is error prone, so there should be something better available in a generic library for this application.

That's why the CGAL kernel concept archetype CGAL::Kernel_archetype was developed. It provides all functionality required by the CGAL kernel concept, but nothing more, so it can be seen as a minimal implementation of a model for the CGAL kernel concept. It can be used for testing successful compilation of packages of the basic library with a minimal model. Deprecated kernel functionality is not supported. All geometrical types (like the 2d/3d point or segment types) of CGAL::Kernel_archetype have copy constructors, default constructors and an assignment operator, and nothing else. Comparison operators are by default not supported, but can be switched on by the flag CGAL_CONCEPT_ARCHETYPE_ALLOW_COMPARISONS.

The geometrical types of the concept archetype encapsulate no data members, so runtime checks with the archetype are not very useful (CGAL::Kernel_archetype is only meant for compilation checks with a minimal model in the testsuites of CGAL packages).

The header file for the concept archetype is CGAL/Kernel_archetype.h.

The package supports the two- and three-dimensional part of the CGAL kernel concept. The d-dimensional part is not supported.

6.2.2   Restricting the Interface

Normally packages of the Basic Library or Extension packages use only a small subset of the functionality offered by models of the CGAL kernel concept. In these cases testing with a model that offers only this (used and) documented subset makes sense. CGAL::Kernel_archetype normally offers the full functionality (all types, functors and constructions of a CGAL kernel model), but it is possible to restrict the interface.
If you want to do this, you have to define the macro CGAL_CA_LIMITED_INTERFACE (before the inclusion of CGAL/Kernel_archetype.h) for switching on the interface limitation. Now you have to tell the kernel archetype what types have to be provided by it. For every type you have to define a macro. The name of the macro is CGAL_CA_NAME_OF_KERNEL_TYPE, where NAME_OF_KERNEL_TYPE is the name of the kernel type (written in capitals) that has to be provided by the kernel archetype for a specific package. Lets have a look at a small example. The kernel archetype has to provide in some test suite a limited interface. The interface has to offer type definitions for Point_3 and Plane_3 and the 3d orientation functor type definition Orientation_3:

// limit interface of the Kernel_archetype
#define CGAL_CA_POINT_3
#define CGAL_CA_PLANE_3

#include <CGAL/Kernel_archetype.h>

Now other kernel functionality is removed from the interface of CGAL::Kernel_archetype, so access to these other kernel types will result in a compile-time error. Another option is to use an own archetype class that encapsulates only the needed type definitions and the corresponding member functions. See the following code snippet for a simple example.

#include <CGAL/Kernel_archetype.h>

// build an own archetype class ...

// get needed types from the kernel archetype ...
typedef CGAL::Kernel_archetype           KA;
typedef KA::Point_3                      KA_Point_3;
typedef KA::Plane_3                      KA_Plane_3;
typedef KA::Construct_opposite_plane_3   KA_Construct_opposite_plane_3;

// reuse the types from the kernel archetype in the own archetype class
struct My_archetype {
  typedef KA_Point_3                    Point_3;
  typedef KA_Plane_3                    Plane_3;
  typedef KA_Construct_opposite_plane_3 Construct_opposite_plane_3;
  { return Construct_opposite_plane_3(); }

6.2.3   Example Program

The following example shows a program for checking the 2d convex hull algorithm of CGAL with the archetype. You can see the usage of the CGAL::Kernel_archetype that replaces a CGAL kernel that is normally used.

test_convex_hull_2.C :

#include <CGAL/basic.h>
#include <CGAL/convex_hull_2.h>
#include <CGAL/Kernel_archetype.h>
#include <list>

typedef CGAL::Kernel_archetype      K;
typedef K::Point_2                  Point_2;

int main()
  std::list<Point_2> input;
  Point_2 act;

  std::list<Point_2> output;

  K  traits;

  CGAL::convex_hull_2(input.begin(), input.end(),
                      std::back_inserter(output), traits);		        
  return 0;