The functions in this file help the various ScriptBasic extension modules to avoid crashing the system even if the BASIC programs use the values passed by the module in a bad way.
For example a database handling module opens a database and allocates a structure describing the connection. The usual way to identify the structure is to return a BASIC string variable to the BASIC code that byte by byte holds the value of the pointer. This works on any machine having 32bit or 64bit pointers because strings can be arbitrary length in ScriptBasic.
When another external module function need access to the structure it needs a pointer to it. This is easily done by passing the string variable to the module. The module converts the string variable back byte by byte to a pointer and all is fine.
The issue is that the BASIC program may alter the pointer and pass a string containg garbage back to the module. The module has no way to check the correctness tries to use it and crashes the whole interpreter. (Even the other interpreters running in the same process in different threads.)
=bold ScriptBasic external modules should never ever pass pointers in strings back to the BASIC code. =nobold
(Even that some of the modules written by the ScriptBasic developers followed this method formerly.)
The better solution is to store these module pointers in arrays and pass the index of the pointer in the array to the basic application. This way the BASIC program will get INTEGER values instead of STRING and will not be able to alter the pointer value and crash the program.
To store the pointer and get the index (we call it a handle) these functions can be used.
Whenever a pointer needs a handle the module has to call GetHandle. This function stores the pointer and returns the handle to it. When the BASIC program passes the handle back to the module and the module needs the pointer associated with the handle it has to call GetPointer.
When a pointer is not needed anymore the handle should be freed calling FreeHandle.
This implementation uses arrays to hold the pointers. The handles are the indexes to the array. The index 0 is never used. Handle value zero is returned as an invalid handle value whenever some error occures, like out of memory condition.