Nested functions, how do they work (stack related)

Veek M vek.m1234 at
Tue Dec 13 07:11:53 EST 2016

Marko Rauhamaa wrote:

> Veek M <vek.m1234 at>:
>> 'Programming languages that support nested subroutines also have a
>> field in the call frame that points to the stack frame of the latest
>> activation of the procedure that most closely encapsulates the
>> callee, i.e. the immediate scope of the callee. This is called an
>> access link or static link (as it keeps track of static nesting
>> during dynamic and recursive calls) and provides the routine (as well
>> as any other routines it may invoke) access to the local data of its
>> encapsulating routines at every nesting level.
>> Some architectures, compilers, or optimization cases store one link
>> for each enclosing level (not just the immediately enclosing), so
>> that deeply nested routines that access shallow data do not have to
>> traverse several links; this strategy is often called a "display".'
>> 1. What is the difference between a 'call frame' and a 'stack frame'
>> in the above context?
> There's no difference.
>> 2. He's saying that within the 'call frame' (whatever that is)
>> there's an address to one of the previous stack frames of the wrapper
>> function ? What does all that mean in terms of nested functions?
>> Access link? How are nested function stacks setup..
> The classic C stack frame contains two addresses (in addition to the
> arguments and local variables):
>  * the return address in the calling function
>  * the frame pointer in the calling function
> Some languages (notably Pascal) add a third address:
>  * the frame pointer in the outer function
> Often, the outer function is the same as the calling function.
> However, if the inner functions call each other, the outer function
> may be further up the stack. Since the outer function's local
> variables are seen by the inner functions, the extra pointer is needed
> to access them directly.
> Python has nested functions. Thus, the same technique can be used to
> implement Python's internal call stack.
>> 3. What exactly is a traceback object
> It is an object that reports details of the call stack. It is mostly
> useful for troubleshooting.
>> How exactly does an exception fit in with tracebacks? How does all
>> this fit in with nested functions?
> Well, the traceback object contains also the exception since it is
> essential for troubleshooting.
>> 4. When you call a nested function (decorator), it generally returns
>> a wrapper function but I thought he was just returning a reference to
>> a function object but obviously since it can see it's environment,
>> how is the stack being setup?
> Now I don't exactly understand your question.
> Marko

Umm.. here's an article on windows exception handling.. i was hoping for 
something like that.. (it's very badly written but informative about 
win32 exception handling - i'm still reading it) wanted something 
similar.. I'll quote the highlights.. I KNOW NOTHING about ANY exception 
handling so..

' On the Intel Win32 platform, the FS register always points to the
current TIB. Thus, at FS:[0] you can find a pointer to an 
EXCEPTION_REGISTRATION structure. Now I'm getting somewhere! When an 
exception occurs, the system looks at the TIB of the faulting
thread and retrieves a pointer to an EXCEPTION_REGISTRATION structure. 
In this structure is a pointer to an _except_handler callback function.
The operating system now knows enough to call the _except_handler 

'When you use a compiler's _try/_except syntax, the compiler also builds 
the EXCEPTION_REGISTRATION struct on the stack. I'm simply showing you a 
simplified version of what a compiler would do if you used 

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