x64 ABI: Intro to the Windows x64 calling convention

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2012-May-28 | Tags: 32to64programing

Start64!I've become fascinated with x64 code recently, and have taken on a quest to learn about it. There's a fair amount of information on the net, but there isn't nearly as much for x64 as for x86 code. Some of the sources I've found were wishy-washy, too, since they were created before or shortly after the rules were agreed upon. I have found very little in the way of explaining the performance considerations that are not immediately apparent and would come as a surprise to x86 experts.

If you're here, I'm sure you're just as interested as I am about it. let me tell you what I know…

What is an ABI? - ABI stands for Application Binary Interface. It's a set of rules that describe what happens when a function is called in your program, and answers questions like how to handle parameters and the stack for a function call, what registers (if any) are special, how big data types are…those sorts of things.

These are the rules that the compiler guys follow when they're determining the correct assembly to use for some bit of code. There are a lot of rules in the x64 ABI, but the rules that are most open to interpretation make up what's known as the calling convention.


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