type safe memory allocation with dart ffi


I’m trying to make my code a little more robust when allocating memory for ffi.

I’ve written the following function:

void withMemory<T extends NativeType>(
    int size, void Function(Pointer<T> memory) action) {
  final memory = calloc<Int8>(size);
  try {
  } finally {

To call the above function I use:

withMemory<Uint32>(sizeOf<Uint32>(), (phToken) {
  // use the memory allocated to phToken

This works but as you can see I need to pass Uint32 twice as well as the sizeOf.

What I really want to write is:

withMemory<Uint32>((phToken) {
  // use the memory allocated to phToken

The problem is that you can’t pass a generic type to either calloc or sizeOf without the error:

The type arguments to […] must be compile time constants but type
parameters are not constants. Try changing the type argument to be a
constant type.

Is there any way around this problem?


This can now be done with the Arena allocator from package:ffi.

using((Arena arena) {
  final p = arena<Uint32>();
  // Use the memory allocated to `p`.
// Memory freed.


Answered By – Daco Harkes

Answer Checked By – Marilyn (FlutterFixes Volunteer)

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