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7.1 Usage

The special functions are available in two calling conventions, a natural form which returns the numerical value of the function and an error-handling form which returns an error code. The two types of function provide alternative ways of accessing the same underlying code.

The natural form returns only the value of the function and can be used directly in mathematical expressions. For example, the following function call will compute the value of the Bessel function J_0(x),

double y = gsl_sf_bessel_J0 (x);

There is no way to access an error code or to estimate the error using this method. To allow access to this information the alternative error-handling form stores the value and error in a modifiable argument,

gsl_sf_result result;
int status = gsl_sf_bessel_J0_e (x, &result);

The error-handling functions have the suffix _e. The returned status value indicates error conditions such as overflow, underflow or loss of precision. If there are no errors the error-handling functions return GSL_SUCCESS.