Fuck you, Microsoft: near and far macros

If you target the Windows platform, chances are that your code will have this:

#include <windows.h>

Which in turns includes <windef.h>, which unconditionally defines the following macros:

#define far
#define near

Right. Because there’s no chance in hell that, writing 3D code for Windows, someone’s gonna name any of their variables near or far. Never happens. Never will.

Fuck you, Microsoft, for not even providing a way to disable that monstrosity with a global macro such as NOFUCKINGMACROSFROMTHEEIGHTIES but instead requiring me to #undef those macros after each inclusion of <windows.h>. And it’s not like you don’t know how to do that, because you provide NOMINMAX which deactivates your min() and max() macros in the same fucking file. Fuck you for silently breaking code that compiles cleanly on every platform, Mac OS X, Android or the Playstation.

I refuse to be swayed by your terror tactics and name my variables m_fNearPlaneClipDistance or whatever deranged mind decides is better. My near and far values are called near and far, because I love this naming scheme, and if you don’t, fuck you and your fat wife.

  • Posted: 2011-03-04 13:44 (Updated: 2011-03-04 14:54)
  • Author: sam
  • Categories: windows rant code


1. anonymous -- 2012-03-21 01:00

One day I defined a function that took parameters measured in radians called "rad1" and "rad2". Turns out that Microsoft has #defined rad1 0x0420 and rad2 0x0421. Fine, whatever, but the resulting error message doesn't give me any clue why the heck my perfectly reasonable function declaration wouldn't compile. Then later I defined a pair of variables called "large" and "small". Well, Microsoft's rpcndr.h (whatever that is) has "#define small char".

2. anonymous -- 2012-06-18 21:46

I'm totally agree with you. I had a same trouble today!

3. Pietro Gagliardi (andlabs) -- 2014-05-06 03:56

Some years late, but.

Welcome to the wonderful world of compatibility. Specifically, in the dark age of 16-bit Windows, before 3D programming was really a thing (yes I know this is inaccurate), you had these things called "near pointers" and "far pointers". Raymond Chen talks about them here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2004/11/01/250610.aspx (and a few other places).

And so to continue to support this ancient code, which they MUST support (Raymond Chen again: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2004/03/01/82103.aspx), you get these macros.

It's a shame Microsoft doesn't provide an override switch like they do with min()/max(). Here's a silent #define to get (as far as I know, legitimately) angry about: #define small char From what I can tell it's a MIDL leftover in rpcndr.h.

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