int inflate (z_streamp strm, int flush);

inflate decompresses as much data as possible, and stops when the input buffer becomes empty or the output buffer becomes full. It may introduce some output latency (reading input without producing any output) except when forced to flush.

The detailed semantics are as follows. inflate performs one or both of the following actions:

  • Decompress more input starting at next_in and update next_in and avail_in accordingly. If not all input can be processed (because there is not enough room in the output buffer), next_in is updated and processing will resume at this point for the next call of inflate().
  • Provide more output starting at next_out and update next_out and avail_out accordingly. inflate() provides as much output as possible, until there is no more input data or no more space in the output buffer (see below about the flush parameter).

Before the call of inflate(), the application should ensure that at least one of the actions is possible, by providing more input and/or consuming more output, and updating the next_* and avail_* values accordingly. The application can consume the uncompressed output when it wants, for example when the output buffer is full (avail_out == 0), or after each call of inflate(). If inflate returns Z_OK and with zero avail_out, it must be called again after making room in the output buffer because there might be more output pending.

The flush parameter of inflate() can be Z_NO_FLUSH, Z_SYNC_FLUSH, Z_FINISH, Z_BLOCK, or Z_TREES. Z_SYNC_FLUSH requests that inflate() flush as much output as possible to the output buffer. Z_BLOCK requests that inflate() stop if and when it gets to the next deflate block boundary. When decoding the zlib or gzip format, this will cause inflate() to return immediately after the header and before the first block. When doing a raw inflate, inflate() will go ahead and process the first block, and will return when it gets to the end of that block, or when it runs out of data.

The Z_BLOCK option assists in appending to or combining deflate streams. Also to assist in this, on return inflate() will set strm->data_type to the number of unused bits in the last byte taken from strm->next_in, plus 64 if inflate() is currently decoding the last block in the deflate stream, plus 128 if inflate() returned immediately after decoding an end-of-block code or decoding the complete header up to just before the first byte of the deflate stream. The end-of-block will not be indicated until all of the uncompressed data from that block has been written to strm->next_out. The number of unused bits may in general be greater than seven, except when bit 7 of data_type is set, in which case the number of unused bits will be less than eight. data_type is set as noted here every time inflate() returns for all flush options, and so can be used to determine the amount of currently consumed input in bits.

The Z_TREES option behaves as Z_BLOCK does, but it also returns when the end of each deflate block header is reached, before any actual data in that block is decoded. This allows the caller to determine the length of the deflate block header for later use in random access within a deflate block. 256 is added to the value of strm->data_type when inflate() returns immediately after reaching the end of the deflate block header.

inflate() should normally be called until it returns Z_STREAM_END or an error. However if all decompression is to be performed in a single step (a single call of inflate), the parameter flush should be set to Z_FINISH. In this case all pending input is processed and all pending output is flushed; avail_out must be large enough to hold all the uncompressed data. (The size of the uncompressed data may have been saved by the compressor for this purpose.) The next operation on this stream must be inflateEnd to deallocate the decompression state. The use of Z_FINISH is never required, but can be used to inform inflate that a faster approach may be used for the single inflate() call.

In this implementation, inflate() always flushes as much output as possible to the output buffer, and always uses the faster approach on the first call. So the only effect of the flush parameter in this implementation is on the return value of inflate(), as noted below, or when it returns early because Z_BLOCK or Z_TREES is used.

If a preset dictionary is needed after this call (see inflateSetDictionary below), inflate sets strm->adler to the adler32 checksum of the dictionary chosen by the compressor and returns Z_NEED_DICT; otherwise it sets strm->adler to the adler32 checksum of all output produced so far (that is, total_out bytes) and returns Z_OK, Z_STREAM_END or an error code as described below. At the end of the stream, inflate() checks that its computed adler32 checksum is equal to that saved by the compressor and returns Z_STREAM_END only if the checksum is correct.

inflate() will decompress and check either zlib-wrapped or gzip-wrapped deflate data. The header type is detected automatically, if requested when initializing with inflateInit2(). Any information contained in the gzip header is not retained, so applications that need that information should instead use raw inflate, see inflateInit2() below, or inflateBack() and perform their own processing of the gzip header and trailer.

inflate() returns Z_OK if some progress has been made (more input processed or more output produced), Z_STREAM_END if the end of the compressed data has been reached and all uncompressed output has been produced, Z_NEED_DICT if a preset dictionary is needed at this point, Z_DATA_ERROR if the input data was corrupted (input stream not conforming to the zlib format or incorrect check value), Z_STREAM_ERROR if the stream structure was inconsistent (for example if next_in or next_out was NULL), Z_MEM_ERROR if there was not enough memory, Z_BUF_ERROR if no progress is possible or if there was not enough room in the output buffer when Z_FINISH is used. Note that Z_BUF_ERROR is not fatal, and inflate() can be called again with more input and more output space to continue decompressing. If Z_DATA_ERROR is returned, the application may then call inflateSync() to look for a good compression block if a partial recovery of the data is desired.