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The CIF code generator can generate Matlab Simulink S-Function C code from a CIF specification. It is assumed the reader of this page is familiar with the general information of the CIF code generator tool. This page describes specific information applicable only to Simulink code generation.

The aim of the conversion from CIF to Simulink is to provide a smooth path from a CIF specification to a controlled real-time system.

At this page, all the details about the Simulink code generation are discussed. For an example of how to use this code generation in practice, read the example.

Supported specifications

The CIF code generator supports a subset of CIF specifications. See the Supported specifications section of the CIF code generator page for more information. Generation of Simulink S-Function C code adds a restriction to the type of CIF input variables caused by limitations in Simulink input ports.

Simulink input ports can only handle real and complex signals. The latter cannot be expressed in CIF, while the former creates the need for CIF input variables with data types that can be relatively easily converted to real number values. For this reason, CIF input variables must have a boolean, enumeration, integer, or real elementary type. Arrays (fixed length CIF lists) of these elementary types are also supported, they are converted to a vector of real numbers at a Simulink input port. Finally, arrays of arrays of the elementary types are converted to a matrix of real numbers at a Simulink input port.

Data types of all other CIF variables have no additional constraints. However, Simulink poses similar restrictions to its other data vectors, in particular the output ports. The CIF to Simulink code generator tool only makes variables available for output that are compatible with real number, vectors of real numbers, or matrices of real numbers. That means that use of the CIF string type, the tuple type, or arrays with a deeper nesting than two levels will not be available at the output.

Differences in output

When converting a real number to text, for example when printing a real value, the generated Simulink code does not preserve trailing zeroes of real number fractions while using %g. For example fmt("%.3g", 1.0) will output 1 rather than 1.000. This may cause real number values to be printed with less digits precision than indicated in the CIF program.

Strings have an upper limit in length that is set during compilation. Longer strings are silently truncated to this length.

The CIF print statement is supported, but only for the :stdout file. It is translated to the ssPrintf C function. This is also the only way to get a string to appear outside the Simulink S-Function block. Note that Simulink may drop the output function for platforms that have no output possibilities.


The CIF to Simulink code generator uses the common options that apply to all target languages/platforms of the CIF code generator. It also has the additional options:

  • Simulink Outputs: This option takes a list of CIF variables that should be made available as output of the generated S-Function. Only location variables (automata), discrete variables, continuous variables, and algebraic variables can be selected. The option also allows to use the wildcard character *, which represents zero or more characters from the name. You can use it to match several variables at once, for example *out matches all variables that end with out. The special name nothing means that no output should be produced at all.

  • Simulink sample time: This option controls how Simulink samples the generated block. Allowed values are continuous, inherited, variable, or a sample period. Check the MathWorks ssSetSampleTime function documentation for details which to use. By default, sample time is set to continuous.

  • Simulink sample offset: This option controls the offset of sampling. Its allowed values depend on the value of the Simulink sample time option. Possible values are fixed, 0.0, or a positive non-zero value. Check the MathWorks ssSetSampleOffset function documentation for details which to use. By default, this options is set to 0.0.

The code prefix that can be configured using a common option is used as name for the generated S-Function.

Generated files

Running the Simulink code generator produces two output files:

Generated file Contents


The generated Simulink S-Function C code.

Report file

Links CIF variables to Simulink entries.

where <prefix> is replaced by the value of the Code prefix option during code generation.

The <prefix>.c file contains the source code of the actual S-Function. The file can be compiled using the Matlab Mex C compiler. The resulting mex file can be used in Simulink (Open the Simulink Library, select User-defined functions, and then the S-Function block, drag it into the Simulink canvas, open the block , and type the <prefix> name into the Name field.)

The report file lists how CIF variables got mapped onto the input, mode, contstate, and output Simulink vectors. You can use this information to connect your CIF program with the other parts of the Simulink model.