# m4.info   [plain text]

This is m4.info, produced by makeinfo version 4.8 from
/home/eblake/m4-patch/doc/m4.texinfo.

This manual is for GNU M4 (version 1.4.6, 24 August 2006), a package
containing an implementation of the m4 macro language.

Copyright (C) 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2005, 2006
Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this
document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License,
Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and
no Back-Cover Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the
section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License."

INFO-DIR-SECTION GNU programming tools
START-INFO-DIR-ENTRY
* M4: (m4).                     A powerful macro processor.
END-INFO-DIR-ENTRY

File: m4.info,  Node: Top,  Next: Preliminaries,  Up: (dir)

GNU M4
******

This manual is for GNU M4 (version 1.4.6, 24 August 2006), a package
containing an implementation of the m4 macro language.

Copyright (C) 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2005, 2006
Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this
document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License,
Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and
no Back-Cover Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the
section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License."

GNU m4' is an implementation of the traditional UNIX macro
processor.  It is mostly SVR4 compatible, although it has some
extensions (for example, handling more than 9 positional parameters to
macros).  m4' also has builtin functions for including files, running
shell commands, doing arithmetic, etc.  Autoconf needs GNU m4' for
generating configure' scripts, but not for running them.

GNU m4' was originally written by Rene' Seindal, with subsequent
changes by Franc,ois Pinard and other volunteers on the Internet.  All
names and email addresses can be found in the files AUTHORS' and
THANKS' from the GNU M4 distribution.

This is release 1.4.6.  It is now considered stable:  future
releases in the 1.4.x series are only meant to fix bugs, increase speed,
or improve documentation.  However...

An experimental feature, which would improve m4' usefulness, allows
for changing the syntax for what is a "word" in m4'.  You should use:
./configure --enable-changeword
if you want this feature compiled in.  The current implementation
slows down m4' considerably and is hardly acceptable.  In the future,
m4' 2.0 will come with a different set of new features that provide
similar capabilities, but without the inefficiencies, so changeword
will go away and _you should not count on it_.

* Preliminaries::               Introduction and preliminaries
* Syntax::                      Lexical and syntactic conventions

* Macros::                      How to invoke macros
* Definitions::                 How to define new macros
* Conditionals::                Conditionals, loops, and recursion

* Debugging::                   How to debug macros and input

* Input Control::               Input control
* File Inclusion::              File inclusion
* Diversions::                  Diverting and undiverting output

* Text handling::               Macros for text handling
* Arithmetic::                  Macros for doing arithmetic
* Shell commands::              Macros for running shell commands
* Miscellaneous::               Miscellaneous builtin macros

* Compatibility::               Compatibility with other versions of m4
* Answers::                     Correct version of some examples
* Copying This Manual::         How to make copies of this manual
* Indices::                     Indices of concepts and macros

--- The Detailed Node Listing ---

Introduction and preliminaries

* Intro::                       Introduction to m4'
* History::                     Historical references
* Invoking m4::                 Invoking m4'
* Bugs::                        Problems and bugs
* Manual::                      Using this manual

Lexical and syntactic conventions

* Names::                       Macro names
* Quoted strings::              Quoting input to m4
* Other tokens::                Other kinds of input tokens
* Input processing::            How m4 copies input to output

How to invoke macros

* Invocation::                  Macro invocation
* Inhibiting Invocation::       Preventing macro invocation
* Macro Arguments::             Macro arguments
* Quoting Arguments::           On Quoting Arguments to macros
* Macro expansion::             Expanding macros

How to define new macros

* Define::                      Defining a new macro
* Arguments::                   Arguments to macros
* Pseudo Arguments::            Pseudo arguments to macros
* Undefine::                    Deleting a macro
* Defn::                        Renaming macros
* Pushdef::                     Temporarily redefining macros

* Indir::                       Indirect call of macros
* Builtin::                     Indirect call of builtins

Conditionals, loops, and recursion

* Ifdef::                       Testing if a macro is defined
* Ifelse::                      If-else construct, or multibranch
* Loops::                       Loops and recursion in m4

How to debug macros and input

* Dumpdef::                     Displaying macro definitions
* Trace::                       Tracing macro calls
* Debug Levels::                Controlling debugging output
* Debug Output::                Saving debugging output

Input control

* Dnl::                         Deleting whitespace in input
* Changequote::                 Changing the quote characters
* Changecom::                   Changing the comment delimiters
* Changeword::                  Changing the lexical structure of words
* M4wrap::                      Saving input until end of input

File inclusion

* Include::                     Including named files
* Search Path::                 Searching for include files

Diverting and undiverting output

* Divert::                      Diverting output
* Undivert::                    Undiverting output
* Divnum::                      Diversion numbers

Macros for text handling

* Len::                         Calculating length of strings
* Index macro::                 Searching for substrings
* Regexp::                      Searching for regular expressions
* Substr::                      Extracting substrings
* Translit::                    Translating characters
* Patsubst::                    Substituting text by regular expression
* Format::                      Formatting strings (printf-like)

Macros for doing arithmetic

* Incr::                        Decrement and increment operators
* Eval::                        Evaluating integer expressions

Running shell commands

* Platform macros::             Determining the platform
* Syscmd::                      Executing simple commands
* Esyscmd::                     Reading the output of commands
* Sysval::                      Exit status
* Maketemp::                    Making names for temporary files

Miscellaneous builtin macros

* Errprint::                    Printing error messages
* Location::                    Printing current location
* M4exit::                      Exiting from m4

* Using frozen files::          Using frozen files
* Frozen file format::          Frozen file format

Compatibility with other versions of m4'

* Extensions::                  Extensions in GNU M4
* Incompatibilities::           Facilities in System V m4 not in GNU M4
* Other Incompatibilities::     Other incompatibilities

Copying This Manual

Indices

* Concept index::               Index for many concepts
* Macro index::                 Index for all m4 macros

File: m4.info,  Node: Preliminaries,  Next: Syntax,  Prev: Top,  Up: Top

1 Introduction and preliminaries
********************************

This first chapter explains what GNU m4' is, where m4' comes from,
how to read and use this documentation, how to call the m4' program,
and how to report bugs about it.  It concludes by giving tips for
reading the remainder of the manual.

The following chapters then detail all the features of the m4'
language.

* Intro::                       Introduction to m4'
* History::                     Historical references
* Invoking m4::                 Invoking m4'
* Bugs::                        Problems and bugs
* Manual::                      Using this manual

File: m4.info,  Node: Intro,  Next: History,  Up: Preliminaries

1.1 Introduction to m4'
========================

m4' is a macro processor, in the sense that it copies its input to the
output, expanding macros as it goes.  Macros are either builtin or
user-defined, and can take any number of arguments.  Besides just doing
macro expansion, m4' has builtin functions for including named files,
running shell commands, doing integer arithmetic, manipulating text in
various ways, performing recursion, etc....  m4' can be used either as
a front-end to a compiler, or as a macro processor in its own right.

The m4' macro processor is widely available on all UNIXes, and has
been standardized by POSIX.  Usually, only a small percentage of users
are aware of its existence.  However, those who find it often become
committed users.  The popularity of GNU Autoconf, which requires GNU
m4' for _generating_ configure' scripts, is an incentive for many to
install it, while these people will not themselves program in m4'.
GNU m4' is mostly compatible with the System V, Release 3 version,
except for some minor differences.  *Note Compatibility::, for more
details.

Some people find m4' to be fairly addictive.  They first use m4'
for simple problems, then take bigger and bigger challenges, learning
how to write complex sets of m4' macros along the way.  Once really
addicted, users pursue writing of sophisticated m4' applications even
to solve simple problems, devoting more time debugging their m4'
scripts than doing real work.  Beware that m4' may be dangerous for
the health of compulsive programmers.

File: m4.info,  Node: History,  Next: Invoking m4,  Prev: Intro,  Up: Preliminaries

1.2 Historical references
=========================

GPM' was an important ancestor of m4'.  See C. Stratchey: "A General
Purpose Macro generator", Computer Journal 8,3 (1965), pp. 225 ff.
GPM' is also succinctly described into David Gries classic "Compiler
Construction for Digital Computers".

The classic B. Kernighan and P.J. Plauger: "Software Tools",
Addison-Wesley, Inc. (1976) describes and implements a Unix
macro-processor language, which inspired Dennis Ritchie to write m3',
a macro processor for the AP-3 minicomputer.

Kernighan and Ritchie then joined forces to develop the original
m4', as described in "The M4 Macro Processor", Bell Laboratories
(1977).  It had only 21 builtin macros.

While GPM' was more _pure_, m4' is meant to deal with the true
intricacies of real life: macros can be recognized without being
pre-announced, skipping whitespace or end-of-lines is easier, more
constructs are builtin instead of derived, etc.

Originally, the Kernighan and Plauger macro-processor, and then
m3', formed the engine for the Rational FORTRAN preprocessor, that is,
the Ratfor' equivalent of cpp'.  Later, m4' was used as a frontend
for Ratfor', C' and Cobol'.

Rene' Seindal released his implementation of m4', GNU m4', in
1990, with the aim of removing the artificial limitations in many of
the traditional m4' implementations, such as maximum line length,
macro size, or number of macros.

The late Professor A. Dain Samples described and implemented a
further evolution in the form of M5': "User's Guide to the M5 Macro
Language: 2nd edition", Electronic Announcement on comp.compilers
newsgroup (1992).

Franc,ois Pinard took over maintenance of GNU m4' in 1992, until
1994 when he released GNU m4' 1.4, which was the stable release for 10
years.  It was at this time that GNU Autoconf decided to require GNU
m4' as its underlying engine, since all other implementations of m4'

More recently, in 2004, Paul Eggert released 1.4.1 and 1.4.2 which
addressed some long standing bugs in the venerable 1.4 release.  Then
in 2005 Gary V. Vaughan collected together the many patches to GNU m4'
1.4 that were floating around the net and released 1.4.3 and 1.4.4.
And in 2006, Eric Blake joined the team and prepared patches for the
release of 1.4.5 and 1.4.6.

Meanwhile, development has continued on new features for m4', such
m4' 2.0 will start a new series of releases.

File: m4.info,  Node: Invoking m4,  Next: Bugs,  Prev: History,  Up: Preliminaries

1.3 Invoking m4'
=================

The format of the m4' command is:

m4' [OPTION...] [FILE...]

All options begin with -', or if long option names are used, with a
--'.  A long option name need not be written completely, any
unambiguous prefix is sufficient.  Options may be intermixed with files,
use --' as a marker to denote the end of options.  m4' understands
the following options, grouped by functionality.

Several options control the overall operation of m4':

--help'
Print a help summary on standard output, then immediately exit
m4' without reading any input files.

--version'
Print the version number of the program on standard output, then
immediately exit m4' without reading any input files.

-E'
--fatal-warnings'
Stop execution and exit m4' once the first warning has been
issued, considering all of them to be fatal.

-e'
--interactive'
Makes this invocation of m4' interactive.  This means that all
output will be unbuffered, and interrupts will be ignored.

-P'
--prefix-builtins'
the prefix m4_'.  For example, using this option, one should write
m4_define' instead of define', and m4___file__' instead of
__file__'.  This option has no effect if -R' is also specified.

-Q'
--quiet'
--silent'
Suppress warnings, such as missing or superfluous arguments in
macro calls, or treating the empty string as zero.

-W REGEXP'
--word-regexp=REGEXP'
Use REGEXP as an alternative syntax for macro names.  This
experimental option will not be present on all GNU m4'
implementations (*note Changeword::).

Several options allow m4' to behave more like a preprocessor.
Macro definitions and deletions can be made on the command line, the
search path can be altered, and the output file can track where the
input came from.  These features occur with the following options:

-D NAME[=VALUE]'
--define=NAME[=VALUE]'
This enters NAME into the symbol table, before any input files are
read.  If =VALUE' is missing, the value is taken to be the empty
string.  The VALUE can be any string, and the macro can be defined
to take arguments, just as if it was defined from within the
input.  This option may be given more than once; order is
significant, and redefining the same NAME loses the previous value.

-I DIRECTORY'
--include=DIRECTORY'
in the current working directory.  *Note Search Path::, for more
details.  This option may be given more than once.

-s'
--synclines'
Generate synchronization lines, for use by the C preprocessor or
other similar tools.  This is useful, for example, when m4' is
used as a front end to a compiler.  Source file name and line
number information is conveyed by directives of the form #line
LINENUM "FILE"', which are inserted as needed into the middle of
the output.  Such directives mean that the following line
originated or was expanded from the contents of input file FILE at
line LINENUM.  The "FILE"' part is often omitted when the file
name did not change from the previous directive.

Synchronization directives are always given on complete lines by
themselves.  When a synchronization discrepancy occurs in the
middle of an output line, the associated synchronization directive
is delayed until the beginning of the next generated line.

-U NAME'
--undefine=NAME'
This deletes any predefined meaning NAME might have.  Obviously,
only predefined macros can be deleted in this way.  This option
may be given more than once; undefining a NAME that does not have a
definition is silently ignored.

There are some limits within m4' that can be tuned.  For
compatibility, m4' also accepts some options that control limits in
other implementations, but which are automatically unbounded (limited
only by your hardware constraints) in GNU m4'.

-G'
Suppress all the extensions made in this implementation, compared
to the System V version.  *Note Compatibility::, for a list of
these.

-H NUM'
--hashsize=NUM'
Make the internal hash table for symbol lookup be NUM entries big.
For better performance, the number should be prime, but this is not
checked.  The default is 509 entries.  It should not be necessary
to increase this value, unless you define an excessive number of
macros.

-L NUM'
--nesting-limit=NUM'
Artificially limit the nesting of macro calls to NUM levels,
stopping program execution if this limit is ever exceeded.  When
not specified, nesting is limited to 1024 levels.

The precise effect of this option might be more correctly
associated with textual nesting than dynamic recursion.  It has
been useful when some complex m4' input was generated by
mechanical means.  Most users would never need this option.  If
shown to be obtrusive, this option (which is still experimental)
might well disappear.

This option does _not_ have the ability to break endless
rescanning loops, since these do not necessarily consume much
memory or stack space.  Through clever usage of rescanning loops,
one can request complex, time-consuming computations from m4'
with useful results.  Putting limitations in this area would break
m4' power.  There are many pathological cases:
define(a', a')a' is only the simplest example (but *note
Compatibility::).  Expecting GNU m4' to detect these would be a
little like expecting a compiler system to detect and diagnose
endless loops: it is a quite _hard_ problem in general, if not
undecidable!

-B NUM'
-S NUM'
-T NUM'
These options are present for compatibility with System V m4', but
do nothing in this implementation.

-N NUM'
--diversions=NUM'
These options are present only for compatibility with previous
versions of GNU m4', and were controlling the number of possible
diversions which could be used at the same time.  They do nothing,
because there is no fixed limit anymore.

GNU m4' comes with a feature of freezing internal state (*note
Frozen files::).  This can be used to speed up m4' execution when
reusing a common initialization script.

-F FILE'
--freeze-state=FILE'
Once execution is finished, write out the frozen state on the
specified FILE.  It is conventional, but not required, for FILE to
end in .m4f'.

-R FILE'
--reload-state=FILE'
Before execution starts, recover the internal state from the
specified frozen FILE.  The options -D', -U', and -t' take
effect after state is reloaded, but before the input files are

Finally, there are several options for aiding in debugging m4'
scripts.

-d[FLAGS]'
--debug[=FLAGS]'
Set the debug-level according to the flags FLAGS.  The debug-level
controls the format and amount of information presented by the
debugging functions.  *Note Debug Levels::, for more details on
the format and meaning of FLAGS.  If omitted, FLAGS defaults to
aeq'.

-l NUM'
--arglength=NUM'
Restrict the size of the output generated by macro tracing to NUM
characters per trace line.  If unspecified or zero, output is
unlimited.  *Note Debug Levels::, for more details.

-o FILE'
--error-output=FILE'
Redirect dumpdef' output, debug messages, and trace output to the
named FILE.  Warnings, error messages, and errprint' output are
still printed to standard error.  If unspecified, debug output goes
to standard error; if empty, debug output is discarded.  *Note
Debug Output::, for more details.

-t NAME'
--trace=NAME'
This enables tracing for the macro NAME, at any point where it is
defined.  NAME need not be defined when this option is given.
This option may be given more than once.  *Note Trace::, for more
details.

The remaining arguments on the command line are taken to be input
file names.  If no names are present, the standard input is read.  A
file name of -' is taken to mean the standard input.  It is
conventional, but not required, for input files to end in .m4'.

The input files are read in the sequence given.  The standard input
can only be read once, so the file name -' should only appear once on
the command line.  It is an error if an input file ends in the middle of
argument collection, a comment, or a quoted string.

If none of the input files invoked m4exit' (*note M4exit::), the
exit status of m4' will be 0 for success, 1 for general failure (such
as problems with reading an input file), and 63 for version mismatch
(*note Using frozen files::).

If you need to read a file whose name starts with a -', you can
specify it as ./-file', or use --' to mark the end of options.

File: m4.info,  Node: Bugs,  Next: Manual,  Prev: Invoking m4,  Up: Preliminaries

1.4 Problems and bugs
=====================

If you have problems with GNU M4 or think you've found a bug, please
report it.  Before reporting a bug, make sure you've actually found a
real bug.  Carefully reread the documentation and see if it really says
you can do what you're trying to do.  If it's not clear whether you
should be able to do something or not, report that too; it's a bug in
the documentation!

Before reporting a bug or trying to fix it yourself, try to isolate
it to the smallest possible input file that reproduces the problem.
Then send us the input file and the exact results m4' gave you.  Also
say what you expected to occur; this will help us decide whether the
problem was really in the documentation.

Once you've got a precise problem, send e-mail to (Internet)
<bug-m4@gnu.org>.  Please include the version number of m4' you are
using.  You can get this information with the command m4 --version'.
Also provide details about the platform you are executing on.

Non-bug suggestions are always welcome as well.  If you have
questions about things that are unclear in the documentation or are
just obscure features, please report them too.

File: m4.info,  Node: Manual,  Prev: Bugs,  Up: Preliminaries

1.5 Using this manual
=====================

This manual contains a number of examples of m4' input and output, and
a simple notation is used to distinguish input, output and error
messages from m4'.  Examples are set out from the normal text, and
shown in a fixed width font, like this

This is an example of an example!

To distinguish input from output, all output from m4' is prefixed
by the string =>', and all error messages by the string error-->'.
Thus

Example of input line
=>Output line from m4
error-->and an error message

The sequence ^D' in an example indicates the end of the input file.
The majority of these examples are self-contained, and you can run them
with similar results by invoking m4 -d'.  In fact, the testsuite that
is bundled in the GNU M4 package consists of the examples in this
document!

As each of the predefined macros in m4' is described, a prototype
call of the macro will be shown, giving descriptive names to the
arguments, e.g.,

-- Composite: example (STRING, [COUNT = 1'], [ARGUMENT]...)
This is a sample prototype.  There is not really a macro named
example', but this documents that if there were, it would be a
Composite macro, rather than a Builtin.  It requires at least one
argument, STRING.  Remember that in m4', there must not be a
space between the macro name and the opening parenthesis, unless
it was intended to call the macro without any arguments.  The
brackets around COUNT and ARGUMENT show that these arguments are
optional.  If COUNT is omitted, the macro behaves as if count were
1', whereas if ARGUMENT is omitted, the macro behaves as if it
were the empty string.  A blank argument is not the same as an
omitted argument.  For example, example(a')', example(a',1')',
and example(a',1',)' would behave identically with COUNT set to
1'; while example(a',)' and example(a',')' would explicitly
pass the empty string for COUNT.  The ellipses (...') show that
the macro processes additional arguments after ARGUMENT, rather
than ignoring them.

All macro arguments in m4' are strings, but some are given special
interpretation, e.g., as numbers, file names, regular expressions, etc.
The documentation for each macro will state how the parameters are
interpreted, and what happens if the argument cannot be parsed
according to the desired interpretation.  Unless specified otherwise, a
parameter specified to be a number is parsed as a decimal, even if the
argument has leading zeros; and parsing the empty string as a number
results in 0 rather than an error, although a warning will be issued.

This document consistently writes and uses "builtin", without a
hyphen, as if it were an English word.  This is how the builtin'
primitive is spelled within m4'.

File: m4.info,  Node: Syntax,  Next: Macros,  Prev: Preliminaries,  Up: Top

2 Lexical and syntactic conventions
***********************************

As m4' reads its input, it separates it into "tokens".  A token is
either a name, a quoted string, or any single character, that is not a
part of either a name or a string.  Input to m4' can also contain
comments.  GNU m4' does not yet understand locales; all operations are
byte-oriented rather than character-oriented.  However, m4' is
eight-bit clean, so you can use non-ASCII characters in quoted strings
(*note Changequote::), comments (*note Changecom::), and macro names
(*note Indir::), with the exception of the NUL character (the zero byte
'\0'').

* Names::                       Macro names
* Quoted strings::              Quoting input to m4
* Other tokens::                Other kinds of input tokens
* Input processing::            How m4 copies input to output

File: m4.info,  Node: Names,  Next: Quoted strings,  Up: Syntax

2.1 Names
=========

A name is any sequence of letters, digits, and the character _'
(underscore), where the first character is not a digit.  m4' will use
the longest such sequence found in the input.  If a name has a macro
definition, it will be subject to macro expansion (*note Macros::).
Names are case-sensitive.

Examples of legal names are: foo', _tmp', and name01'.

File: m4.info,  Node: Quoted strings,  Next: Comments,  Prev: Names,  Up: Syntax

2.2 Quoted strings
==================

A quoted string is a sequence of characters surrounded by quote
strings, defaulting to ' and '', where the nested begin and end
quotes within the string are balanced.  The value of a string token is
the text, with one level of quotes stripped off.  Thus

'
=>

is the empty string, and double-quoting turns into single-quoting.

quoted''
=>quoted'

The quote characters can be changed at any time, using the builtin
macro changequote'.  *Note Changequote::, for more information.

File: m4.info,  Node: Comments,  Next: Other tokens,  Prev: Quoted strings,  Up: Syntax

============

Comments in m4' are normally delimited by the characters #' and
newline.  All characters between the comment delimiters are ignored,
but the entire comment (including the delimiters) is passed through to

Comments cannot be nested, so the first newline after a #' ends the
comment.  The commenting effect of the begin-comment string can be
inhibited by quoting it.

quoted text' # commented text'
=>quoted text # commented text'
quoting inhibits' #' comments'

The comment delimiters can be changed to any string at any time,
using the builtin macro changecom'.  *Note Changecom::, for more
information.

File: m4.info,  Node: Other tokens,  Next: Input processing,  Prev: Comments,  Up: Syntax

2.4 Other tokens
================

Any character, that is neither a part of a name, nor of a quoted string,
nor a comment, is a token by itself.  When not in the context of macro
expansion, all of these tokens are just copied to output.  However,
during macro expansion, whitespace characters (space, tab, newline,
formfeed, carriage return, vertical tab), parentheses ((' and )'),
comma (,'), and dollar ($') have additional roles, explained later. File: m4.info, Node: Input processing, Prev: Other tokens, Up: Syntax 2.5 Input Processing ==================== As m4' reads the input token by token, it will copy each token directly to the output immediately. The exception is when it finds a word with a macro definition. In that case m4' will calculate the macro's expansion, possibly reading more input to get the arguments. It then inserts the expansion in front of the remaining input. In other words, the resulting text from a macro call will be read and parsed into tokens again. m4' expands a macro as soon as possible. If it finds a macro call when collecting the arguments to another, it will expand the second call first. For a running example, examine how m4' handles this input: format(Result is %d', eval(2**15')) First, m4' sees that the token format' is a macro name, so it collects the tokens (', Result is %d'', ,', and  ', before encountering another potential macro. Sure enough, eval' is a macro name, so the nested argument collection picks up (', 2**15'', and )', invoking the eval macro with the lone argument of 2**15'. The expansion of eval(2**15)' is 32768', which is then rescanned as the five tokens 3', 2', 7', 6', and 8'; and combined with the next )', the format macro now has all its arguments, as if the user had typed: format(Result is %d', 32768) The format macro expands to Result is 32768', and we have another round of scanning for the tokens Result',  ', is',  ', 3', 2', 7', 6', and 8'. None of these are macros, so the final output is =>Result is 32768 The order in which m4' expands the macros can be explored using the *Note Trace:: facilities of GNU m4'. This process continues until there are no more macro calls to expand and all the input has been consumed. File: m4.info, Node: Macros, Next: Definitions, Prev: Syntax, Up: Top 3 How to invoke macros ********************** This chapter covers macro invocation, macro arguments and how macro expansion is treated. * Menu: * Invocation:: Macro invocation * Inhibiting Invocation:: Preventing macro invocation * Macro Arguments:: Macro arguments * Quoting Arguments:: On Quoting Arguments to macros * Macro expansion:: Expanding macros File: m4.info, Node: Invocation, Next: Inhibiting Invocation, Up: Macros 3.1 Macro invocation ==================== Macro invocations has one of the forms name which is a macro invocation without any arguments, or name(arg1, arg2, ..., argN) which is a macro invocation with N arguments. Macros can have any number of arguments. All arguments are strings, but different macros might interpret the arguments in different ways. The opening parenthesis _must_ follow the NAME directly, with no spaces in between. If it does not, the macro is called with no arguments at all. For a macro call to have no arguments, the parentheses _must_ be left out. The macro call name() is a macro call with one argument, which is the empty string, not a call with no arguments. File: m4.info, Node: Inhibiting Invocation, Next: Macro Arguments, Prev: Invocation, Up: Macros 3.2 Preventing macro invocation =============================== An innovation of the m4' language, compared to some of its predecessors (like Stratchey's GPM', for example), is the ability to recognize macro calls without resorting to any special, prefixed invocation character. While generally useful, this feature might sometimes be the source of spurious, unwanted macro calls. So, GNU m4' offers several mechanisms or techniques for inhibiting the recognition of names as macro calls. First of all, many builtin macros cannot meaningfully be called without arguments. For any of these macros, whenever an opening parenthesis does not immediately follow their name, the builtin macro call is not triggered. This solves the most usual cases, like for include' or eval'. Later in this document, the sentence "This macro is recognized only with parameters" refers to this specific provision. There is also a command line option (--prefix-builtins', or -P', *note Invoking m4::) which requires all builtin macro names to be prefixed by m4_' for them to be recognized. The option has no effect whatsoever on user defined macros. For example, with this option, one has to write m4_dnl' and even m4_m4exit'. Another alternative is to redefine problematic macros to a name less likely to cause conflicts, *Note Definitions::. If your version of GNU m4' has the changeword' feature compiled in, it offers far more flexibility in specifying the syntax of macro names, both builtin or user-defined. *Note Changeword::, for more information on this experimental feature. Of course, the simplest way to prevent a name from being interpreted as a call to an existing macro is to quote it. The remainder of this section studies a little more deeply how quoting affects macro invocation, and how quoting can be used to inhibit macro invocation. Even if quoting is usually done over the whole macro name, it can also be done over only a few characters of this name (provided, of course, that the unquoted portions are not also a macro). It is also possible to quote the empty string, but this works only _inside_ the name. For example: divert' =>divert d'ivert =>divert diver't =>divert div'ert =>divert all yield the string divert'. While in both: 'divert => divert' => the divert' builtin macro will be called, which expands to the empty string. The output of macro evaluations is always rescanned. The following example would yield the string de', exactly as if m4' has been given substr(abcde', 3', 2')' as input: define(x', substr(ab') => define(y', cde, 3', 2')') => x'y =>de Unquoted strings on either side of a quoted string are subject to being recognized as macro names. In the following example, quoting the empty string allows for the second macro' to be recognized as such: define(macro', m') => macro(m')macro =>mmacro macro(m')'macro =>mm Quoting may prevent recognizing as a macro name the concatenation of a macro expansion with the surrounding characters. In this example: define(macro', di$1')
=>
macro(v')ert'
=>divert
macro(v')ert
=>

the input will produce the string divert'.  When the quotes were
removed, the divert' builtin was called instead.

File: m4.info,  Node: Macro Arguments,  Next: Quoting Arguments,  Prev: Inhibiting Invocation,  Up: Macros

3.3 Macro arguments
===================

When a name is seen, and it has a macro definition, it will be expanded
as a macro.

If the name is followed by an opening parenthesis, the arguments
will be collected before the macro is called.  If too few arguments are
supplied, the missing arguments are taken to be the empty string.
However, some builtins are documented to behave differently for a
missing optional argument than for an explicit empty string.  If there
are too many arguments, the excess arguments are ignored.  Unquoted
leading whitespace is stripped off all arguments.

Normally m4' will issue warnings if a builtin macro is called with
an inappropriate number of arguments, but it can be suppressed with the
-Q' command line option (*note Invoking m4::).  For user defined
macros, there is no check of the number of arguments given.

Macros are expanded normally during argument collection, and whatever
commas, quotes and parentheses that might show up in the resulting
expanded text will serve to define the arguments as well.  Thus, if FOO
expands to , b, c', the macro call

bar(a foo, d)

is a macro call with four arguments, which are a ', b', c' and d'.
To understand why the first argument contains whitespace, remember that
leading unquoted whitespace is never part of an argument, but trailing
whitespace always is.

It is possible for a macro's definition to change during argument
collection, in which case the expansion uses the definition that was in
effect at the time the opening (' was seen.

define(f', 1')
=>
f(define(f', 2'))
=>1
f
=>2

It is an error if the end of file occurs while collecting arguments.

define(
^D
error-->m4:stdin:1: ERROR: end of file in argument list

File: m4.info,  Node: Quoting Arguments,  Next: Macro expansion,  Prev: Macro Arguments,  Up: Macros

3.4 Quoting macro arguments
===========================

Each argument has leading unquoted whitespace removed.  Within each
argument, all unquoted parentheses must match.  For example, if FOO is
a macro,

foo(() ((') (')

is a macro call, with one argument, whose value is () (() ('.  Commas
separate arguments, except when they occur inside quotes, comments, or
unquoted parentheses, *Note Pseudo Arguments::, for examples.

It is common practice to quote all arguments to macros, unless you
are sure you want the arguments expanded.  Thus, in the above example
with the parentheses, the right' way to do it is like this:

foo(() (() (')

It is, however, in certain cases necessary or convenient to leave out
quotes for some arguments, and there is nothing wrong in doing it.  It
just makes life a bit harder, if you are not careful.  For consistency,
this manual follows the rule of thumb that each layer of parentheses
introduces another layer of single quoting, except when showing the
consequences of quoting rules.  This is done even when the quoted string
cannot be a macro, such as with integers.

File: m4.info,  Node: Macro expansion,  Prev: Quoting Arguments,  Up: Macros

3.5 Macro expansion
===================

When the arguments, if any, to a macro call have been collected, the
macro is expanded, and the expansion text is pushed back onto the input
(unquoted), and reread.  The expansion text from one macro call might
therefore result in more macros being called, if the calls are included,
completely or partially, in the first macro calls' expansion.

Taking a very simple example, if FOO expands to bar', and BAR
expands to Hello world', the input

foo

will expand first to bar', and when this is reread and expanded, into
Hello world'.

File: m4.info,  Node: Definitions,  Next: Conditionals,  Prev: Macros,  Up: Top

4 How to define new macros
**************************

Macros can be defined, redefined and deleted in several different ways.
Also, it is possible to redefine a macro without losing a previous
value, and bring back the original value at a later time.

* Define::                      Defining a new macro
* Arguments::                   Arguments to macros
* Pseudo Arguments::            Pseudo arguments to macros
* Undefine::                    Deleting a macro
* Defn::                        Renaming macros
* Pushdef::                     Temporarily redefining macros

* Indir::                       Indirect call of macros
* Builtin::                     Indirect call of builtins

File: m4.info,  Node: Define,  Next: Arguments,  Up: Definitions

4.1 Defining a macro
====================

The normal way to define or redefine macros is to use the builtin
define':

-- Builtin: define (NAME, [EXPANSION])
Defines NAME to expand to EXPANSION.  If EXPANSION is not given,
it is taken to be empty.

The expansion of define' is void.  The macro define' is
recognized only with parameters.

The following example defines the macro FOO to expand to the text
Hello World.'.

define(foo', Hello world.')
=>
foo
=>Hello world.

The empty line in the output is there because the newline is not a
part of the macro definition, and it is consequently copied to the
output.  This can be avoided by use of the macro dnl'.  *Note Dnl::,
for details.

The first argument to define' should be quoted; otherwise, if the
macro is already defined, you will be defining a different macro.  This
example shows the problems with underquoting, since we did not want to
redefine one':

define(foo, one)
=>
define(foo, two)
=>
one
=>two

As a GNU extension, the first argument to define' does not have to
be a simple word.  It can be any text string, even the empty string.  A
macro with a non-standard name cannot be invoked in the normal way, as
the name is not recognised.  It can only be referenced by the builtins
*Note Indir:: and *Note Defn::.

Arrays and associative arrays can be simulated by using this trick.

define(array', defn(format(array[%d]'', $1'))') => define(array_set', define(format(array[%d]'', $1'), $2')') => array_set(4', array element no. 4') => array_set(17', array element no. 17') => array(4') =>array element no. 4 array(eval(10 + 7')) =>array element no. 17 Change the %d' to %s' and it is an associative array. File: m4.info, Node: Arguments, Next: Pseudo Arguments, Prev: Define, Up: Definitions 4.2 Arguments to macros ======================= Macros can have arguments. The Nth argument is denoted by $n' in the
expansion text, and is replaced by the Nth actual argument, when the
macro is expanded.  Replacement of arguments happens before rescanning,
regardless of how many nesting levels of quoting appear in the
expansion.  Here is an example of a macro with two arguments.  It
simply exchanges the order of the two arguments.

define(exch', $2,$1')
=>
exch(arg1', arg2')
=>arg2, arg1

This can be used, for example, if you like the arguments to define'
to be reversed.

define(exch', $2,$1')
=>
define(exch(expansion text'', macro''))
=>
macro
=>expansion text

*Note Quoting Arguments::, for an explanation of the double quotes.
(You should try and improve this example so that clients of exch do not
have to double quote.  *note Answers::)

GNU m4' allows the number following the $' to consist of one or more digits, allowing macros to have any number of arguments. This is not so in UNIX implementations of m4', which only recognize one digit. As a special case, the zeroth argument, $0', is always the name of
the macro being expanded.

define(test', Macro name: $0'') => test =>Macro name: test If you want quoted text to appear as part of the expansion text, remember that quotes can be nested in quoted strings. Thus, in define(foo', This is macro foo'.') => foo =>This is macro foo. The foo' in the expansion text is _not_ expanded, since it is a quoted string, and not a name. File: m4.info, Node: Pseudo Arguments, Next: Undefine, Prev: Arguments, Up: Definitions 4.3 Special arguments to macros =============================== There is a special notation for the number of actual arguments supplied, and for all the actual arguments. The number of actual arguments in a macro call is denoted by $#' in
the expansion text.  Thus, a macro to display the number of arguments
given can be

define(nargs', $#') => nargs =>0 nargs() =>1 nargs(arg1', arg2', arg3') =>3 nargs(commas can be quoted, like this') =>1 nargs(arg1#inside comments, commas do not separate arguments still arg1) =>1 nargs((unquoted parentheses, like this, group arguments)) =>1 The notation $*' can be used in the expansion text to denote all
the actual arguments, unquoted, with commas in between.  For example

define(echo', $*') => echo(arg1, arg2, arg3 , arg4) =>arg1,arg2,arg3 ,arg4 Often each argument should be quoted, and the notation $@' handles
that.  It is just like $*', except that it quotes each argument. A simple example of that is: define(echo', $@')
=>
echo(arg1,    arg2, arg3 , arg4)
=>arg1,arg2,arg3 ,arg4

Where did the quotes go?  Of course, they were eaten, when the
expanded text were reread by m4'.  To show the difference, try

define(echo1', $*') => define(echo2', $@')
=>
define(foo', This is macro foo'.')
=>
echo1(foo)
=>This is macro This is macro foo..
echo1(foo')
=>This is macro foo.
echo2(foo)
=>This is macro foo.
echo2(foo')
=>foo

*Note Trace::, if you do not understand this.  As another example of the
difference, remember that comments encountered in arguments are passed
untouched to the macro, and that quoting disables comments.

define(echo1', $*') => define(echo2', $)'
=>
define(foo', bar')
=>
echo1(#foo'foo
foo)
=>#foo'foo
=>bar
echo2(#foo'foo
foo)
=>#foobar
=>bar'

A $' sign in the expansion text, that is not followed by anything m4' understands, is simply copied to the macro expansion, as any other text is. define(foo', $$hello$$$')
=>
foo
=>$$hello$$$If you want a macro to expand to something like $12', put a pair of
quotes after the $'. This will prevent m4' from interpreting the $'
sign as a reference to an argument.

File: m4.info,  Node: Undefine,  Next: Defn,  Prev: Pseudo Arguments,  Up: Definitions

4.4 Deleting a macro
====================

A macro definition can be removed with undefine':

-- Builtin: undefine (NAME...)
For each argument, remove the macro NAME.  The macro names must
necessarily be quoted, since they will be expanded otherwise.

The expansion of undefine' is void.  The macro undefine' is
recognized only with parameters.

foo bar blah
=>foo bar blah
define(foo', some')define(bar', other')define(blah', text')
=>
foo bar blah
=>some other text
undefine(foo')
=>
foo bar blah
=>foo other text
undefine(bar', blah')
=>
foo bar blah
=>foo bar blah

Undefining a macro inside that macro's expansion is safe; the macro
still expands to the definition that was in effect at the ('.

define(f', $0':$1')
=>
f(f(f(undefine(f')hello world')))
=>f:f:f:hello world
f(bye')
=>f(bye)

It is not an error for NAME to have no macro definition.  In that
case, undefine' does nothing.

File: m4.info,  Node: Defn,  Next: Pushdef,  Prev: Undefine,  Up: Definitions

4.5 Renaming macros
===================

It is possible to rename an already defined macro.  To do this, you need
the builtin defn':

-- Builtin: defn (NAME)
Expands to the _quoted definition_ of NAME.  If the argument is
not a defined macro, the expansion is void.

If NAME is a user-defined macro, the quoted definition is simply
the quoted expansion text.  If, instead, NAME is a builtin, the
expansion is a special token, which points to the builtin's
internal definition.  This token is only meaningful as the second
argument to define' (and pushdef'), and is ignored in any other
context.

The macro defn' is recognized only with parameters.

Its normal use is best understood through an example, which shows
how to rename undefine' to zap':

define(zap', defn(undefine'))
=>
zap(undefine')
=>
undefine(zap')
=>undefine(zap)

In this way, defn' can be used to copy macro definitions, and also
definitions of builtin macros.  Even if the original macro is removed,
the other name can still be used to access the definition.

The fact that macro definitions can be transferred also explains why
you should use $0', rather than retyping a macro's name in its definition: define(foo', This is $0'')
=>
define(bar', defn(foo'))
=>
bar
=>This is bar

Macros used as string variables should be referred through defn',
to avoid unwanted expansion of the text:

define(string', The macro dnl is very useful
')
=>
string
=>The macro defn(string')
=>The macro dnl is very useful
=>

However, it is important to remember that m4' rescanning is purely
textual.  If an unbalanced end-quote string occurs in a macro
definition, the rescan will see that embedded quote as the termination
of the quoted string, and the remainder of the macro's definition will
be rescanned unquoted.  Thus it is a good idea to avoid unbalanced
end-quotes in macro definitions or arguments to macros.

define(foo', a'a)
=>
define(a', A')
=>
define(echo', $)' => foo =>A'A defn(foo') =>aA' echo(foo) =>AA' File: m4.info, Node: Pushdef, Next: Indir, Prev: Defn, Up: Definitions 4.6 Temporarily redefining macros ================================= It is possible to redefine a macro temporarily, reverting to the previous definition at a later time. This is done with the builtins pushdef' and popdef': -- Builtin: pushdef (NAME, [EXPANSION]) -- Builtin: popdef (NAME...) Analogous to define' and undefine'. These macros work in a stack-like fashion. A macro is temporarily redefined with pushdef', which replaces an existing definition of NAME, while saving the previous definition, before the new one is installed. If there is no previous definition, pushdef' behaves exactly like define'. If a macro has several definitions (of which only one is accessible), the topmost definition can be removed with popdef'. If there is no previous definition, popdef' behaves like undefine'. The expansion of both pushdef' and popdef' is void. The macros pushdef' and popdef' are recognized only with parameters. define(foo', Expansion one.') => foo =>Expansion one. pushdef(foo', Expansion two.') => foo =>Expansion two. pushdef(foo', Expansion three.') => pushdef(foo', Expansion four.') => popdef(foo') => foo =>Expansion three. popdef(foo', foo') => foo =>Expansion one. popdef(foo') => foo =>foo If a macro with several definitions is redefined with define', the topmost definition is _replaced_ with the new definition. If it is removed with undefine', _all_ the definitions are removed, and not only the topmost one. define(foo', Expansion one.') => foo =>Expansion one. pushdef(foo', Expansion two.') => foo =>Expansion two. define(foo', Second expansion two.') => foo =>Second expansion two. undefine(foo') => foo =>foo Local variables within macros are made with pushdef' and popdef'. At the start of the macro a new definition is pushed, within the macro it is manipulated and at the end it is popped, revealing the former definition. It is possible to temporarily redefine a builtin with pushdef' and defn'. File: m4.info, Node: Indir, Next: Builtin, Prev: Pushdef, Up: Definitions 4.7 Indirect call of macros =========================== Any macro can be called indirectly with indir': -- Builtin: indir (NAME, ...) Results in a call to the macro NAME, which is passed the rest of the arguments. If NAME is not defined, an error message is printed, and the expansion is void. The macro indir' is recognized only with parameters. This can be used to call macros with "invalid" names (define' allows such names to be defined): define($$internalmacro', Internal macro (name 0')') =>$$internal$macro
=>$$internalmacro indir($$internal$macro') =>Internal macro (name $$internalmacro) The point is, here, that larger macro packages can have private macros defined, that will not be called by accident. They can _only_ be called through the builtin indir'. File: m4.info, Node: Builtin, Prev: Indir, Up: Definitions 4.8 Indirect call of builtins ============================= Builtin macros can be called indirectly with builtin': -- Builtin: builtin (NAME, ...) Results in a call to the builtin NAME, which is passed the rest of the arguments. If NAME does not name a builtin, an error message is printed, and the expansion is void. The macro builtin' is recognized only with parameters. This can be used even if NAME has been given another definition that has covered the original, or been undefined so that no macro maps to the builtin. pushdef(define', hidden') => undefine(undefine') => define(foo', bar') =>hidden foo =>foo builtin(define', foo', BAR') => foo =>BAR undefine(foo') =>undefine(foo) foo =>BAR builtin(undefine', foo') => foo =>foo Note that this can be used to invoke builtins without arguments, even when they normally require parameters to be recognized; but it will provoke a warning, and result in a void expansion. builtin =>builtin builtin() error-->m4:stdin:2: undefined builtin ' => builtin(builtin') error-->m4:stdin:3: Warning: too few arguments to builtin builtin' => builtin(builtin',) error-->m4:stdin:4: undefined builtin ' => File: m4.info, Node: Conditionals, Next: Debugging, Prev: Definitions, Up: Top 5 Conditionals, loops, and recursion ************************************ Macros, expanding to plain text, perhaps with arguments, are not quite enough. We would like to have macros expand to different things, based on decisions taken at run-time. For that, we need some kind of conditionals. Also, we would like to have some kind of loop construct, so we could do something a number of times, or while some condition is true. * Menu: * Ifdef:: Testing if a macro is defined * Ifelse:: If-else construct, or multibranch * Loops:: Loops and recursion in m4 File: m4.info, Node: Ifdef, Next: Ifelse, Up: Conditionals 5.1 Testing macro definitions ============================= There are two different builtin conditionals in m4'. The first is ifdef': -- Builtin: ifdef (NAME, STRING-1, [STRING-2]) If NAME is defined as a macro, ifdef' expands to STRING-1, otherwise to STRING-2. If STRING-2 is omitted, it is taken to be the empty string (according to the normal rules). The macro ifdef' is recognized only with parameters. ifdef(foo', foo' is defined', foo' is not defined') =>foo is not defined define(foo', ') => ifdef(foo', foo' is defined', foo' is not defined') =>foo is defined ifdef(no_such_macro', yes', no', extra argument') error-->m4:stdin:4: Warning: excess arguments to builtin ifdef' ignored =>no File: m4.info, Node: Ifelse, Next: Loops, Prev: Ifdef, Up: Conditionals 5.2 Comparing strings ===================== The other conditional, ifelse', is much more powerful. It can be used as a way to introduce a long comment, as an if-else construct, or as a multibranch, depending on the number of arguments supplied: -- Builtin: ifelse (COMMENT) -- Builtin: ifelse (STRING-1, STRING-2, EQUAL, [NOT-EQUAL]) -- Builtin: ifelse (STRING-1, STRING-2, EQUAL-1, STRING-3, STRING-4, EQUAL-2, ...) Used with only one argument, the ifelse' simply discards it and produces no output. If called with three or four arguments, ifelse' expands into EQUAL, if STRING-1 and STRING-2 are equal (character for character), otherwise it expands to NOT-EQUAL. If called with six or more arguments, and STRING-1 and STRING-2 are equal, ifelse' expands into EQUAL, otherwise the first three arguments are discarded and the processing starts again. The macro ifelse' is recognized only with parameters. Using only one argument is a common m4' idiom for introducing a block comment, as an alternative to repeatedly using dnl'. This special usage is recognized by GNU m4', so that in this case, the warning about missing arguments is never triggered. ifelse(some comments') => ifelse(foo', bar') error-->m4:stdin:2: Warning: too few arguments to builtin ifelse' => Using three or four arguments provides decision points. ifelse(foo', bar', true') => ifelse(foo', foo', true') =>true define(foo', bar') => ifelse(foo, bar', true', false') =>true ifelse(foo, foo', true', false') =>false Notice how the first argument was used unquoted; it is common to compare the expansion of a macro with a string. With this macro, you can now reproduce the behavior of many of the builtins, where the macro is recognized only with arguments. define(foo', ifelse(#', 0', 0'', arguments:#')') => foo =>foo foo() =>arguments:1 foo(a', b', c') =>arguments:3 However, ifelse' can take more than four arguments. If given more than four arguments, ifelse' works like a case' or switch' statement in traditional programming languages. If STRING-1 and STRING-2 are equal, ifelse' expands into EQUAL-1, otherwise the procedure is repeated with the first three arguments discarded. This calls for an example: ifelse(foo', bar', third', gnu', gnats', sixth', seventh') =>seventh Naturally, the normal case will be slightly more advanced than these examples. A common use of ifelse' is in macros implementing loops of various kinds. File: m4.info, Node: Loops, Prev: Ifelse, Up: Conditionals 5.3 Loops and recursion ======================= There is no direct support for loops in m4', but macros can be recursive. There is no limit on the number of recursion levels, other than those enforced by your hardware and operating system. Loops can be programmed using recursion and the conditionals described previously. There is a builtin macro, shift', which can, among other things, be used for iterating through the actual arguments to a macro: -- Builtin: shift (...) Takes any number of arguments, and expands to all but the first argument, separated by commas, with each argument quoted. The macro shift' is recognized only with parameters. shift =>shift shift(bar') => shift(foo', bar', baz') =>bar,baz An example of the use of shift' is this macro: -- Composite: reverse (...) Takes any number of arguments, and reverse their order. It is implemented as: define(reverse', ifelse(#', 0', , #', 1', 1'', reverse(shift(@)), 1'')') => reverse => reverse(foo') =>foo reverse(foo', bar', gnats', and gnus') =>and gnus, gnats, bar, foo While not a very interesting macro, it does show how simple loops can be made with shift', ifelse' and recursion. Here is an example of a loop macro that implements a simple for loop. -- Composite: forloop (ITERATOR, START, END, TEXT) Takes the name in ITERATOR, which must be a valid macro name, and successively assign it each integer value from START to END, inclusive. For each assignment to ITERATOR, append TEXT to the expansion of the forloop'. TEXT may refer to ITERATOR. Any definition of ITERATOR prior to this invocation is restored. It can, for example, be used for simple counting: include(forloop.m4') => forloop(i', 1', 8', i ') =>1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 For-loops can be nested, like: include(forloop.m4') => forloop(i', 1', 4', forloop(j', 1', 8',  (i, j)') ') => (1, 1) (1, 2) (1, 3) (1, 4) (1, 5) (1, 6) (1, 7) (1, 8) => (2, 1) (2, 2) (2, 3) (2, 4) (2, 5) (2, 6) (2, 7) (2, 8) => (3, 1) (3, 2) (3, 3) (3, 4) (3, 5) (3, 6) (3, 7) (3, 8) => (4, 1) (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) (4, 5) (4, 6) (4, 7) (4, 8) => The implementation of the forloop' macro is fairly straightforward. The forloop' macro itself is simply a wrapper, which saves the previous definition of the first argument, calls the internal macro _forloop', and re-establishes the saved definition of the first argument. The macro _forloop' expands the fourth argument once, and tests to see if it is finished. If it has not finished, it increments the iteration variable (using the predefined macro incr', *note Incr::), and recurses. Here is the actual implementation of forloop', distributed as examples/forloop.m4' in this package: undivert(forloop.m4') =>divert(-1') =># forloop(var, from, to, stmt) =>define(forloop', => pushdef(1', 2')_forloop(1', 2', 3', 4')popdef(1')') =>define(_forloop', => 4'ifelse(1, 3', , => define(1', incr(1))_forloop(1', 2', 3', 4')')') =>divert'dnl => Notice the careful use of quotes. Only three macro arguments are unquoted, each for its own reason. Try to find out _why_ these three arguments are left unquoted, and see what happens if they are quoted. Now, even though these two macros are useful, they are still not robust enough for general use. They lack even basic error handling of cases like start value less than final value, and the first argument not being a name. Correcting these errors are left as an exercise to the reader. File: m4.info, Node: Debugging, Next: Input Control, Prev: Conditionals, Up: Top 6 How to debug macros and input ******************************* When writing macros for m4', they often do not work as intended on the first try (as is the case with most programming languages). Fortunately, there is support for macro debugging in m4'. * Menu: * Dumpdef:: Displaying macro definitions * Trace:: Tracing macro calls * Debug Levels:: Controlling debugging output * Debug Output:: Saving debugging output File: m4.info, Node: Dumpdef, Next: Trace, Up: Debugging 6.1 Displaying macro definitions ================================ If you want to see what a name expands into, you can use the builtin dumpdef': -- Builtin: dumpdef (...) Accepts any number of arguments. If called without any arguments, it displays the definitions of all known names, otherwise it displays the definitions of the names given. The output is printed to the current debug file (usually standard error), and is sorted by name. If an unknown name is encountered, a warning is printed. The expansion of dumpdef' is void. define(foo', Hello world.') => dumpdef(foo') error-->foo: Hello world.' => dumpdef(define') error-->define: <define> => The last example shows how builtin macros definitions are displayed. The definition that is dumped corresponds to what would occur if the macro were to be called at that point, even if other definitions are still live due to redefining a macro during argument collection. pushdef(f', 0'1')pushdef(f', 0'2') => f(popdef(f')dumpdef(f')) error-->f: 0'1' =>f2 f(popdef(f')dumpdef(f')) error-->m4:stdin:3: undefined macro f' =>f1 *Note Debug Levels::, for information on controlling the details of the display. File: m4.info, Node: Trace, Next: Debug Levels, Prev: Dumpdef, Up: Debugging 6.2 Tracing macro calls ======================= It is possible to trace macro calls and expansions through the builtins traceon' and traceoff': -- Builtin: traceon (...) -- Builtin: traceoff (...) When called without any arguments, traceon' and traceoff' will turn tracing on and off, respectively, for all defined macros. When called with arguments, only the named macros are affected, whether or not they are currently defined. The expansion of traceon' and traceoff' is void. Whenever a traced macro is called and the arguments have been collected, the call is displayed. If the expansion of the macro call is not void, the expansion can be displayed after the call. The output is printed to the current debug file (usually standard error). define(foo', Hello World.') => define(echo', @') => traceon(foo', echo') => foo error-->m4trace: -1- foo -> Hello World.' =>Hello World. echo(gnus, and gnats) error-->m4trace: -1- echo(gnus', and gnats') -> gnus',and gnats'' =>gnus,and gnats The number between dashes is the depth of the expansion. It is one most of the time, signifying an expansion at the outermost level, but it increases when macro arguments contain unquoted macro calls. The maximum number that will appear between dashes is controlled by the option --nesting-limit' (*note Invoking m4::). Tracing by name is an attribute that is preserved whether the macro is defined or not. This allows the -t' option to select macros to trace before those macros are defined. traceoff(foo') => traceon(foo') => foo =>foo define(foo', bar') => foo error-->m4trace: -1- foo -> bar' =>bar undefine(foo') => ifdef(foo', yes', no') =>no indir(foo') error-->m4:stdin:8: undefined macro foo' => define(foo', blah') => foo error-->m4trace: -1- foo -> blah' =>blah traceoff => foo =>blah Tracing even works on builtins. However, defn' (*note Defn::) does not transfer tracing status. traceon(eval', m4_divnum') => define(m4_eval', defn(eval')) => define(m4_divnum', defn(divnum')) => eval(divnum) error-->m4trace: -1- eval(0') -> 0' =>0 m4_eval(m4_divnum) error-->m4trace: -2- m4_divnum -> 0' =>0 *Note Debug Levels::, for information on controlling the details of the display. File: m4.info, Node: Debug Levels, Next: Debug Output, Prev: Trace, Up: Debugging 6.3 Controlling debugging output ================================ The -d' option to m4' (*note Invoking m4::) controls the amount of details presented, when using the macros described in the preceding sections. The FLAGS following the option can be one or more of the following: a' Show the actual arguments in each macro call. This applies to all macro calls if the t' flag is used, otherwise only the macros covered by calls of traceon'. c' Show several trace lines for each macro call. A line is shown when the macro is seen, but before the arguments are collected; a second line when the arguments have been collected and a third line after the call has completed. e' Show the expansion of each macro call, if it is not void. This applies to all macro calls if the t' flag is used, otherwise only the macros covered by calls of traceon'. f' Show the name of the current input file in each trace output line. i' Print a message each time the current input file is changed, giving file name and input line number. l' Show the current input line number in each trace output line. p' Print a message when a named file is found through the path search mechanism (*note Search Path::), giving the actual file name used. q' Quote actual arguments and macro expansions in the display with the current quotes. t' Trace all macro calls made in this invocation of m4'. x' Add a unique macro call id' to each line of the trace output. This is useful in connection with the c' flag above. V' A shorthand for all of the above flags. If no flags are specified with the -d' option, the default is aeq'. The examples throughout this manual assume the default flags. There is a builtin macro debugmode', which allows on-the-fly control of the debugging output format: -- Builtin: debugmode ([FLAGS]) The argument FLAGS should be a subset of the letters listed above. As special cases, if the argument starts with a +', the flags are added to the current debug flags, and if it starts with a -', they are removed. If no argument is present, all debugging flags are cleared (as if no -d' was given), and with an empty argument the flags are reset to the default of aeq'. The expansion of debugmode' is void. define(foo', FOO') => traceon(foo') => debugmode() => foo error-->m4trace: -1- foo -> FOO' =>FOO debugmode => foo error-->m4trace: -1- foo =>FOO debugmode(+l') => foo error-->m4trace:8: -1- foo =>FOO File: m4.info, Node: Debug Output, Prev: Debug Levels, Up: Debugging 6.4 Saving debugging output =========================== Debug and tracing output can be redirected to files using either the -o' option to m4' (*note Invoking m4::), or with the builtin macro debugfile': -- Builtin: debugfile ([FILE]) Sends all further debug and trace output to FILE. If FILE is empty, debug and trace output are discarded. If debugfile' is called without any arguments, debug and trace output are sent to standard error. This does not affect warnings, error messages, or errprint' output, which are always sent to standard error. If FILE cannot be opened, the current debug file is unchanged. The expansion of debugfile' is void. traceon(divnum') => divnum(extra') error-->m4:stdin:2: Warning: excess arguments to builtin divnum' ignored error-->m4trace: -1- divnum(extra') -> 0' =>0 debugfile() => divnum(extra') error-->m4:stdin:4: Warning: excess arguments to builtin divnum' ignored =>0 debugfile => divnum error-->m4trace: -1- divnum -> 0' =>0 File: m4.info, Node: Input Control, Next: File Inclusion, Prev: Debugging, Up: Top 7 Input control *************** This chapter describes various builtin macros for controlling the input to m4'. * Menu: * Dnl:: Deleting whitespace in input * Changequote:: Changing the quote characters * Changecom:: Changing the comment delimiters * Changeword:: Changing the lexical structure of words * M4wrap:: Saving input until end of input File: m4.info, Node: Dnl, Next: Changequote, Up: Input Control 7.1 Deleting whitespace in input ================================ The builtin dnl' stands for "Discard to Next Line": -- Builtin: dnl All characters, up to and including the next newline, are discarded without performing any macro expansion. The expansion of dnl' is void. It is often used in connection with define', to remove the newline that follows the call to define'. Thus define(foo', Macro foo'.')dnl A very simple macro, indeed. foo =>Macro foo. The input up to and including the next newline is discarded, as opposed to the way comments are treated (*note Comments::). Usually, dnl' is immediately followed by an end of line or some other whitespace. GNU m4' will produce a warning diagnostic if dnl' is followed by an open parenthesis. In this case, dnl' will collect and process all arguments, looking for a matching close parenthesis. All predictable side effects resulting from this collection will take place. dnl' will return no output. The input following the matching close parenthesis up to and including the next newline, on whatever line containing it, will still be discarded. dnl(args are ignored, but side effects occur', define(foo', like this')) while this text is ignored: undefine(foo') error-->m4:stdin:2: Warning: excess arguments to builtin dnl' ignored See how foo' was defined, foo? =>See how foo was defined, like this? If the end of file is encountered without a newline character, a warning is issued and dnl stops consuming input. define(hi', HI') => m4wrap(m4wrap(2 hi ')0 hi dnl 1 hi') => ^D error-->m4: Warning: end of file treated as newline =>0 HI 2 HI File: m4.info, Node: Changequote, Next: Changecom, Prev: Dnl, Up: Input Control 7.2 Changing the quote characters ================================= The default quote delimiters can be changed with the builtin changequote': -- Builtin: changequote ([START = '], [END = '']) This sets START as the new begin-quote delimiter and END as the new end-quote delimiter. If any of the arguments are missing, the default quotes (' and '') are used instead of the void arguments. The expansion of changequote' is void. changequote([', ]') => define([foo], [Macro [foo].]) => foo =>Macro foo. The quotation strings can safely contain eight-bit characters. If no single character is appropriate, START and END can be of any length. changequote([[[', ]]]') => define([[[foo]]], [[[Macro [[[[[foo]]]]].]]]) => foo =>Macro [[foo]]. Changing the quotes to the empty strings will effectively disable the quoting mechanism, leaving no way to quote text. define(foo', Macro FOO'.') => changequote(, ) => foo =>Macro FOO'. foo' =>Macro FOO'.' There is no way in m4' to quote a string containing an unmatched begin-quote, except using changequote' to change the current quotes. If the quotes should be changed from, say, [' to [[', temporary quote characters have to be defined. To achieve this, two calls of changequote' must be made, one for the temporary quotes and one for the new quotes. Macros are recognized in preference to the begin-quote string, so if a prefix of START can be recognized as a potential macro name, the quoting mechanism is effectively disabled. Unless you use changeword' (*note Changeword::), this means that START should not begin with a letter or _' (underscore). define(hi', HI') => changequote(q', Q') => q hi Q hi =>q HI Q HI changequote => changequote(-', EOF') => - hi EOF hi => hi HI Quotes are recognized in preference to argument collection. In particular, if START is a single (', then argument collection is effectively disabled. For portability with other implementations, it is a good idea to avoid (', ,', and )' as the first character in START. define(echo', #:') => define(hi', HI') => changequote((',)') => echo(hi) =>0::hi changequote => changequote(((', ))') => echo(hi) =>1:HI: echo((hi)) =>0::hi changequote => changequote(,', )') => echo(hi,hi)bye) =>1:HIhibye: If END is a prefix of START, the end-quote will be recognized in preference to a nested begin-quote. In particular, changing the quotes to have the same string for START and END disables nesting of quotes. When quote nesting is disabled, it is impossible to double-quote strings across macro expansions, so using the same string is not done very often. define(hi', HI') => changequote(""', "') => ""hi"""hi" =>hihi ""hi" ""hi" =>hi hi ""hi"" "hi" =>hi" "HI" changequote => hihi'hi' =>hihi'hi changequote("', "') => "hi"hi"hi" =>hiHIhi It is an error if the end of file occurs within a quoted string. dangling quote ^D error-->m4:stdin:1: ERROR: end of file in string File: m4.info, Node: Changecom, Next: Changeword, Prev: Changequote, Up: Input Control 7.3 Changing comment delimiters =============================== The default comment delimiters can be changed with the builtin macro changecom': -- Builtin: changecom ([START], [END]) This sets START as the new begin-comment delimiter and END as the new end-comment delimiter. If only one argument is provided, newline becomes the new end-comment delimiter. The comment delimiters can be of any length. Omitting the first argument, or using the empty string as the first argument, disables comments. The expansion of changecom' is void. define(comment', COMMENT') => # A normal comment =># A normal comment changecom(/*', */') => # Not a comment anymore =># Not a COMMENT anymore But: /* this is a comment now */ while this is not a comment =>But: /* this is a comment now */ while this is not a COMMENT Note how comments are copied to the output, much as if they were quoted strings. If you want the text inside a comment expanded, quote the begin-comment delimiter. Calling changecom' without any arguments, or with an empty string for the first argument, disables the commenting mechanism completely. To restore the original comment start of #', you must explicitly ask for it. define(comment', COMMENT') => changecom => # Not a comment anymore =># Not a COMMENT anymore changecom(#') => # comment again =># comment again The comment strings can safely contain eight-bit characters. Comments are recognized in preference to macros. However, this is not compatible with other implementations, where macros and even quoting takes precedence over comments, so it may change in a future release. For portability, this means that START should not begin with a letter or _' (underscore), and that neither the start-quote nor the start-comment string should be a prefix of the other. define(hi', HI') => changecom(q', Q') => q hi Q hi =>q hi Q HI Comments are recognized in preference to argument collection. In particular, if START is a single (', then argument collection is effectively disabled. For portability with other implementations, it is a good idea to avoid (', ,', and )' as the first character in START. define(echo', #:') => define(hi', HI') => changecom((',)') => echo(hi) =>0::(hi) changecom => changecom(((', ))') => echo(hi) =>1:HI: echo((hi)) =>0::((hi)) changecom(,', )') => echo(hi,hi)bye) =>1:HI,hi)bye: It is an error if the end of file occurs within a comment. changecom(/*', */') => /*dangling comment ^D error-->m4:stdin:1: ERROR: end of file in comment File: m4.info, Node: Changeword, Next: M4wrap, Prev: Changecom, Up: Input Control 7.4 Changing the lexical structure of words =========================================== The macro changeword' and all associated functionality is experimental. It is only available if the --enable-changeword' option was given to configure', at GNU m4' installation time. The functionality will go away in the future, to be replaced by other new features that are more efficient at providing the same capabilities. _Do not rely on it_. Please direct your comments about it the same way you would do for bugs. A file being processed by m4' is split into quoted strings, words (potential macro names) and simple tokens (any other single character). Initially a word is defined by the following regular expression: [_a-zA-Z][_a-zA-Z0-9]* Using changeword', you can change this regular expression: -- Optional builtin: changeword (REGEX) Changes the regular expression for recognizing macro names to be REGEX. If REGEX is empty, use [_a-zA-Z][_a-zA-Z0-9]*'. REGEX must obey the constraint that every prefix of the desired final pattern is also accepted by the regular expression. If REGEX contains grouping parentheses, the macro invoked is the portion that matched the first group, rather than the entire matching string. The expansion of changeword' is void. The macro changeword' is recognized only with parameters. Relaxing the lexical rules of m4' might be useful (for example) if you wanted to apply translations to a file of numbers: ifdef(changeword', ', errprint( skipping: no changeword support ')m4exit(77')')dnl changeword([_a-zA-Z0-9]+') => define(1', 0')1 =>0 Tightening the lexical rules is less useful, because it will generally make some of the builtins unavailable. You could use it to prevent accidental call of builtins, for example: ifdef(changeword', ', errprint( skipping: no changeword support ')m4exit(77')')dnl define(_indir', defn(indir')) => changeword(_[_a-zA-Z0-9]*') => esyscmd(foo') =>esyscmd(foo) _indir(esyscmd', echo hi') =>hi => Because m4' constructs its words a character at a time, there is a restriction on the regular expressions that may be passed to changeword'. This is that if your regular expression accepts foo', it must also accept f' and fo'. changeword' has another function. If the regular expression supplied contains any grouped subexpressions, then text outside the first of these is discarded before symbol lookup. So: ifdef(changeword', ', errprint( skipping: no changeword support ')m4exit(77')')dnl changecom(/*', */')dnl define(foo', bar')dnl changeword(#$$[_a-zA-Z0-9]*$$') => #esyscmd(echo foo \#foo') =>foo bar => m4' now requires a #' mark at the beginning of every macro invocation, so one can use m4' to preprocess plain text without losing various words like divert'. In m4', macro substitution is based on text, while in TeX, it is based on tokens. changeword' can throw this difference into relief. For example, here is the same idea represented in TeX and m4'. First, the TeX version: \def\a{\message{Hello}} \catcode\@=0 \catcode\\=12 @a @bye =>Hello Then, the m4' version: ifdef(changeword', ', errprint( skipping: no changeword support ')m4exit(77')')dnl define(a', errprint(Hello')')dnl changeword(@$$[_a-zA-Z0-9]*$$') => @a =>errprint(Hello) In the TeX example, the first line defines a macro a' to print the message Hello'. The second line defines <@> to be usable instead of <\> as an escape character. The third line defines <\> to be a normal printing character, not an escape. The fourth line invokes the macro a'. So, when TeX is run on this file, it displays the message Hello'. When the m4' example is passed through m4', it outputs errprint(Hello)'. The reason for this is that TeX does lexical analysis of macro definition when the macro is _defined_. m4' just stores the text, postponing the lexical analysis until the macro is _used_. You should note that using changeword' will slow m4' down by a factor of about seven, once it is changed to something other than the default regular expression. You can invoke changeword' with the empty string to restore the default word definition, and regain the parsing speed. File: m4.info, Node: M4wrap, Prev: Changeword, Up: Input Control 7.5 Saving input ================ It is possible to save' some text until the end of the normal input has been seen. Text can be saved, to be read again by m4' when the normal input has been exhausted. This feature is normally used to initiate cleanup actions before normal exit, e.g., deleting temporary files. To save input text, use the builtin m4wrap': -- Builtin: m4wrap ([STRING], ...) Stores STRING in a safe place, to be reread when end of input is reached. As a GNU extension, additional arguments are concatenated with a space to the STRING. The expansion of m4wrap' is void. The macro m4wrap' is recognized only with parameters. define(cleanup', This is the cleanup' action. ') => m4wrap(cleanup') => This is the first and last normal input line. =>This is the first and last normal input line. ^D =>This is the cleanup action. The saved input is only reread when the end of normal input is seen, and not if m4exit' is used to exit m4'. It is safe to call m4wrap' from saved text, but then the order in which the saved text is reread is undefined. If m4wrap' is not used recursively, the saved pieces of text are reread in the opposite order in which they were saved (LIFO--last in, first out). However, this behavior is likely to change in a future release, to match POSIX, so you should not depend on this order. Here is an example of implementing a factorial function using m4wrap': define(f', ifelse(1', 0', Answer: 0!=1 ', eval(1>1'), 0', Answer: 21=eval(21') ', m4wrap(f(decr(1'), 21*')')')') => f(10') => ^D =>Answer: 10*9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2*1=3628800 Invocations of m4wrap' at the same recursion level are concatenated and rescanned as usual: define(aa', AA ') => m4wrap(a')m4wrap(a') => ^D =>AA however, the transition between recursion levels behaves like an end of file condition between two input files. m4wrap(m4wrap()')len(abc') => ^D error-->m4: ERROR: end of file in argument list File: m4.info, Node: File Inclusion, Next: Diversions, Prev: Input Control, Up: Top 8 File inclusion **************** m4' allows you to include named files at any point in the input. * Menu: * Include:: Including named files * Search Path:: Searching for include files File: m4.info, Node: Include, Next: Search Path, Up: File Inclusion 8.1 Including named files ========================= There are two builtin macros in m4' for including files: -- Builtin: include (FILE) -- Builtin: sinclude (FILE) Both macros cause the file named FILE to be read by m4'. When the end of the file is reached, input is resumed from the previous input file. The expansion of include' and sinclude' is therefore the contents of FILE. If FILE does not exist (or cannot be read), the expansion is void, and include' will fail with an error while sinclude' is silent. The empty string counts as a file that does not exist. The macros include' and sinclude' are recognized only with parameters. include(none') => error-->m4:stdin:1: cannot open none': No such file or directory include() => error-->m4:stdin:2: cannot open ': No such file or directory sinclude(none') => sinclude() => The rest of this section assumes that m4' is invoked with the -I' option (*note Invoking m4::) pointing to the examples' directory shipped as part of the GNU m4' package. The file examples/incl.m4' in the distribution contains the lines: Include file start foo Include file end Normally file inclusion is used to insert the contents of a file into the input stream. The contents of the file will be read by m4' and macro calls in the file will be expanded: define(foo', FOO') => include(incl.m4') =>Include file start =>FOO =>Include file end => The fact that include' and sinclude' expand to the contents of the file can be used to define macros that operate on entire files. Here is an example, which defines bar' to expand to the contents of incl.m4': define(bar', include(incl.m4')) => This is bar': >>bar<< =>This is bar: >>Include file start =>foo =>Include file end =><< This use of include' is not trivial, though, as files can contain quotes, commas, and parentheses, which can interfere with the way the m4' parser works. GNU m4' seamlessly concatenates the file contents with the next character, even if the included file ended in the middle of a comment, string, or macro call. These conditions are only treated as end of file errors if specified as input files on the command line. File: m4.info, Node: Search Path, Prev: Include, Up: File Inclusion 8.2 Searching for include files =============================== GNU m4' allows included files to be found in other directories than the current working directory. If a file is not found in the current working directory, and the file name is not absolute, the file will be looked for in a specified search path. First, the directories specified with the -I' option will be searched, in the order found on the command line (*note Invoking m4::). Second, if the M4PATH' environment variable is set, it is expected to contain a colon-separated list of directories, which will be searched in order. If the automatic search for include-files causes trouble, the p' debug flag (*note Debug Levels::) can help isolate the problem. File: m4.info, Node: Diversions, Next: Text handling, Prev: File Inclusion, Up: Top 9 Diverting and undiverting output ********************************** Diversions are a way of temporarily saving output. The output of m4' can at any time be diverted to a temporary file, and be reinserted into the output stream, "undiverted", again at a later time. Numbered diversions are counted from 0 upwards, diversion number 0 being the normal output stream. The number of simultaneous diversions is limited mainly by the memory used to describe them, because GNU m4' tries to keep diversions in memory. However, there is a limit to the overall memory usable by all diversions taken altogether (512K, currently). When this maximum is about to be exceeded, a temporary file is opened to receive the contents of the biggest diversion still in memory, freeing this memory for other diversions. So, it is theoretically possible that the number of diversions be limited by the number of available file descriptors. * Menu: * Divert:: Diverting output * Undivert:: Undiverting output * Divnum:: Diversion numbers * Cleardiv:: Discarding diverted text File: m4.info, Node: Divert, Next: Undivert, Up: Diversions 9.1 Diverting output ==================== Output is diverted using divert': -- Builtin: divert ([NUMBER = 0']) The current diversion is changed to NUMBER. If NUMBER is left out or empty, it is assumed to be zero. If NUMBER cannot be parsed, the diversion is unchanged. The expansion of divert' is void. When all the m4' input will have been processed, all existing diversions are automatically undiverted, in numerical order. divert(1') This text is diverted. divert => This text is not diverted. =>This text is not diverted. ^D => =>This text is diverted. Several calls of divert' with the same argument do not overwrite the previous diverted text, but append to it. Diversions are printed after any wrapped text is expanded. define(text', TEXT') => divert(1')diverted text.' divert => m4wrap(Wrapped text preceeds ') => ^D =>Wrapped TEXT preceeds diverted text. If output is diverted to a non-existent diversion, it is simply discarded. This can be used to suppress unwanted output. A common example of unwanted output is the trailing newlines after macro definitions. Here is how to avoid them. divert(-1') define(foo', Macro foo'.') define(bar', Macro bar'.') divert => This is a common programming idiom in m4'. Note that divert' is an English word, but also an active macro without arguments. When processing plain text, the word might appear in normal text and be unintentionally swallowed as a macro invocation. One way to avoid this is to use the -P' option to rename all builtins (*note Invoking m4::). Another is to write a wrapper that requires a parameter to be recognized. We decided to divert the stream for irrigation. =>We decided to the stream for irrigation. define(divert', ifelse(#', 0', 0'', builtin(0', @)')') => divert(-1) Ignored text. divert(0) => We decided to divert the stream for irrigation. =>We decided to divert the stream for irrigation. File: m4.info, Node: Undivert, Next: Divnum, Prev: Divert, Up: Diversions 9.2 Undiverting output ====================== Diverted text can be undiverted explicitly using the builtin undivert': -- Builtin: undivert ([NUMBER]...) Undiverts the diversions given by the arguments, in the order given. If no arguments are supplied, all diversions are undiverted, in numerical order. As a GNU extension, if NUMBER is not numeric, treat it as a file name instead. The expansion of undivert' is void. divert(1') This text is diverted. divert => This text is not diverted. =>This text is not diverted. undivert(1') => =>This text is diverted. => Notice the last two blank lines. One of them comes from the newline following undivert', the other from the newline that followed the divert'! A diversion often starts with a blank line like this. When diverted text is undiverted, it is _not_ reread by m4', but rather copied directly to the current output, and it is therefore not an error to undivert into a diversion. Undiverting the empty string is the same as specifying diversion 0; in either case nothing happens since the output has already been flushed. divert(1')diverted text divert => undivert() => undivert(0') => undivert =>diverted text => When a diversion has been undiverted, the diverted text is discarded, and it is not possible to bring back diverted text more than once. divert(1') This text is diverted first. divert(0')undivert(1')dnl => =>This text is diverted first. undivert(1') => divert(1') This text is also diverted but not appended. divert(0')undivert(1')dnl => =>This text is also diverted but not appended. Attempts to undivert the current diversion are silently ignored. Thus, when the current diversion is not 0, the current diversion does not get rearranged among the other diversions. divert(1')one divert(2')two divert(3')three divert(2')undivert'dnl divert'undivert'dnl =>two =>one =>three GNU m4' allows named files to be undiverted. Given a non-numeric argument, the contents of the file named will be copied, uninterpreted, to the current output. This complements the builtin include' (*note Include::). To illustrate the difference, the file examples/foo' contains the word bar': define(bar', BAR') => undivert(foo') =>bar => include(foo') =>BAR => If the file is not found (or cannot be read), an error message is issued, and the expansion is void. File: m4.info, Node: Divnum, Next: Cleardiv, Prev: Undivert, Up: Diversions 9.3 Diversion numbers ===================== The current diversion is tracked by the builtin divnum': -- Builtin: divnum Expands to the number of the current diversion. Initial divnum =>Initial 0 divert(1') Diversion one: divnum divert(2') Diversion two: divnum ^D => =>Diversion one: 1 => =>Diversion two: 2 File: m4.info, Node: Cleardiv, Prev: Divnum, Up: Diversions 9.4 Discarding diverted text ============================ Often it is not known, when output is diverted, whether the diverted text is actually needed. Since all non-empty diversion are brought back on the main output stream when the end of input is seen, a method of discarding a diversion is needed. If all diversions should be discarded, the easiest is to end the input to m4' with divert(-1')' followed by an explicit undivert': divert(1') Diversion one: divnum divert(2') Diversion two: divnum divert(-1') undivert ^D No output is produced at all. Clearing selected diversions can be done with the following macro: -- Composite: cleardivert ([DIVERSION]...) Discard the contents of each listed diversion. define(cleardivert', pushdef(_n', divnum)divert(-1')undivert(@)divert(_n)popdef(_n')') => It is called just like undivert', but the effect is to clear the diversions, given by the arguments. (This macro has a nasty bug! You should try to see if you can find it and correct it. *note Answers::) File: m4.info, Node: Text handling, Next: Arithmetic, Prev: Diversions, Up: Top 10 Macros for text handling *************************** There are a number of builtins in m4' for manipulating text in various ways, extracting substrings, searching, substituting, and so on. * Menu: * Len:: Calculating length of strings * Index macro:: Searching for substrings * Regexp:: Searching for regular expressions * Substr:: Extracting substrings * Translit:: Translating characters * Patsubst:: Substituting text by regular expression * Format:: Formatting strings (printf-like) File: m4.info, Node: Len, Next: Index macro, Up: Text handling 10.1 Calculating length of strings ================================== The length of a string can be calculated by len': -- Builtin: len (STRING) Expands to the length of STRING, as a decimal number. The macro len' is recognized only with parameters. len() =>0 len(abcdef') =>6 File: m4.info, Node: Index macro, Next: Regexp, Prev: Len, Up: Text handling 10.2 Searching for substrings ============================= Searching for substrings is done with index': -- Builtin: index (STRING, SUBSTRING) Expands to the index of the first occurrence of SUBSTRING in STRING. The first character in STRING has index 0. If SUBSTRING does not occur in STRING, index' expands to -1'. The macro index' is recognized only with parameters. index(gnus, gnats, and armadillos', nat') =>7 index(gnus, gnats, and armadillos', dag') =>-1 Omitting SUBSTRING evokes a warning, but still produces output. index(abc') error-->m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin index' =>0 File: m4.info, Node: Regexp, Next: Substr, Prev: Index macro, Up: Text handling 10.3 Searching for regular expressions ====================================== Searching for regular expressions is done with the builtin regexp': -- Builtin: regexp (STRING, REGEXP, [REPLACEMENT]) Searches for REGEXP in STRING. The syntax for regular expressions is the same as in GNU Emacs. *Note Syntax of Regular Expressions: (emacs)Regexps. If REPLACEMENT is omitted, regexp' expands to the index of the first match of REGEXP in STRING. If REGEXP does not match anywhere in STRING, it expands to -1. If REPLACEMENT is supplied, and there was a match, regexp' changes the expansion to this argument, with \N' substituted by the text matched by the Nth parenthesized sub-expression of REGEXP, up to nine sub-expressions. The escape \&' is replaced by the text of the entire regular expression matched. For all other characters, \' treats the next character literally. A warning is issued if there were fewer sub-expressions than the \N' requested, or if there is a trailing \'. If there was no match, regexp' expands to the empty string. The macro regexp' is recognized only with parameters. regexp(GNUs not Unix', \<[a-z]\w+') =>5 regexp(GNUs not Unix', \<Q\w*') =>-1 regexp(GNUs not Unix', \w$$\w+$$', *** \& *** \1 ***') =>*** Unix *** nix *** regexp(GNUs not Unix', \<Q\w*', *** \& *** \1 ***') => Here are some more examples on the handling of backslash: regexp(abc', $$b$$', \\\10\a') =>\b0a regexp(abc', b', \1\') error-->m4:stdin:2: Warning: sub-expression 1 not present error-->m4:stdin:2: Warning: trailing \ ignored in replacement => regexp(abc', $$\(d$$?\)$$c$$', \1\2\3\4\5\6') error-->m4:stdin:3: Warning: sub-expression 4 not present error-->m4:stdin:3: Warning: sub-expression 5 not present error-->m4:stdin:3: Warning: sub-expression 6 not present =>c Omitting REGEXP evokes a warning, but still produces output. regexp(abc') error-->m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin regexp' =>0 File: m4.info, Node: Substr, Next: Translit, Prev: Regexp, Up: Text handling 10.4 Extracting substrings ========================== Substrings are extracted with substr': -- Builtin: substr (STRING, FROM, [LENGTH]) Expands to the substring of STRING, which starts at index FROM, and extends for LENGTH characters, or to the end of STRING, if LENGTH is omitted. The starting index of a string is always 0. The expansion is empty if there is an error parsing FROM or LENGTH, if FROM is beyond the end of STRING, or if LENGTH is negative. The macro substr' is recognized only with parameters. substr(gnus, gnats, and armadillos', 6') =>gnats, and armadillos substr(gnus, gnats, and armadillos', 6', 5') =>gnats Omitting FROM evokes a warning, but still produces output. substr(abc') error-->m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin substr' =>abc substr(abc',) error-->m4:stdin:2: empty string treated as 0 in builtin substr' =>abc File: m4.info, Node: Translit, Next: Patsubst, Prev: Substr, Up: Text handling 10.5 Translating characters =========================== Character translation is done with translit': -- Builtin: translit (STRING, CHARS, [REPLACEMENT]) Expands to STRING, with each character that occurs in CHARS translated into the character from REPLACEMENT with the same index. If REPLACEMENT is shorter than CHARS, the excess characters are deleted from the expansion. If REPLACEMENT is omitted, all characters in STRING that are present in CHARS are deleted from the expansion. As a GNU extension, both CHARS and REPLACEMENT can contain character-ranges, e.g., a-z' (meaning all lowercase letters) or 0-9' (meaning all digits). To include a dash -' in CHARS or REPLACEMENT, place it first or last. It is not an error for the last character in the range to be larger' than the first. In that case, the range runs backwards, i.e., 9-0' means the string 9876543210'. The macro translit' is recognized only with parameters. translit(GNUs not Unix', A-Z') =>s not nix translit(GNUs not Unix', a-z', A-Z') =>GNUS NOT UNIX translit(GNUs not Unix', A-Z', z-a') =>tmfs not fnix The first example deletes all uppercase letters, the second converts lowercase to uppercase, and the third mirrors' all uppercase letters, while converting them to lowercase. The two first cases are by far the most common. Omitting CHARS evokes a warning, but still produces output. translit(abc') error-->m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin translit' =>abc File: m4.info, Node: Patsubst, Next: Format, Prev: Translit, Up: Text handling 10.6 Substituting text by regular expression ============================================ Global substitution in a string is done by patsubst': -- Builtin: patsubst (STRING, REGEXP, [REPLACEMENT]) Searches STRING for matches of REGEXP, and substitutes REPLACEMENT for each match. The syntax for regular expressions is the same as in GNU Emacs (*note Regexp::). The parts of STRING that are not covered by any match of REGEXP are copied to the expansion. Whenever a match is found, the search proceeds from the end of the match, so a character from STRING will never be substituted twice. If REGEXP matches a string of zero length, the start position for the search is incremented, to avoid infinite loops. When a replacement is to be made, REPLACEMENT is inserted into the expansion, with \N' substituted by the text matched by the Nth parenthesized sub-expression of PATSUBST, for up to nine sub-expressions. The escape \&' is replaced by the text of the entire regular expression matched. For all other characters, \' treats the next character literally. A warning is issued if there were fewer sub-expressions than the \N' requested, or if there is a trailing \'. The REPLACEMENT argument can be omitted, in which case the text matched by REGEXP is deleted. The macro patsubst' is recognized only with parameters. patsubst(GNUs not Unix', ^', OBS: ') =>OBS: GNUs not Unix patsubst(GNUs not Unix', \<', OBS: ') =>OBS: GNUs OBS: not OBS: Unix patsubst(GNUs not Unix', \w*', (\&)') =>(GNUs)() (not)() (Unix)() patsubst(GNUs not Unix', \w+', (\&)') =>(GNUs) (not) (Unix) patsubst(GNUs not Unix', [A-Z][a-z]+') =>GN not patsubst(GNUs not Unix', not', NOT\') error-->m4:stdin:6: Warning: trailing \ ignored in replacement =>GNUs NOT Unix Here is a slightly more realistic example, which capitalizes individual word or whole sentences, by substituting calls of the macros upcase' and downcase' into the strings. -- Composite: upcase (TEXT) -- Composite: downcase (TEXT) -- Composite: capitalize (TEXT) Expand to TEXT, but with capitalization changed: upcase' changes all letters to upper case, downcase' changes all letters to lower case, and capitalize' changes the first character of each word to upper case and the remaining characters to lower case. define(upcase', translit(*', a-z', A-Z')')dnl define(downcase', translit(*', A-Z', a-z')')dnl define(capitalize1', regexp(1', ^$$\w$$$$\w*$$', upcase(\1')'downcase(\2')')')dnl define(capitalize', patsubst(1', \w+', capitalize1(\&')')')dnl capitalize(GNUs not Unix') =>Gnus Not Unix While regexp' replaces the whole input with the replacement as soon as there is a match, patsubst' replaces each _occurrence_ of a match and preserves non-matching pieces: define(patreg', patsubst(@) regexp(@)')dnl patreg(bar foo baz Foo', foo\|Foo', FOO') =>bar FOO baz FOO =>FOO patreg(aba abb 121', $$.$$$$.$$\1', \2\1\2') =>bab abb 212 =>bab Omitting REGEXP evokes a warning, but still produces output. patsubst(abc') error-->m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin patsubst' =>abc File: m4.info, Node: Format, Prev: Patsubst, Up: Text handling 10.7 Formatted output ===================== Formatted output can be made with format': -- Builtin: format (FORMAT-STRING, ...) Works much like the C function printf'. The first argument FORMAT-STRING can contain %' specifications which are satisfied by additional arguments, and the expansion of format' is the formatted string. The macro format' is recognized only with parameters. Its use is best described by a few examples: define(foo', The brown fox jumped over the lazy dog') => format(The string "%s" uses %d characters', foo, len(foo)) =>The string "The brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" uses 38 characters format(%.0f', 56789.9876') =>56790 len(format(%-*X', 300', 1')) =>300 Using the forloop' macro defined in *Note Loops::, this example shows how format' can be used to produce tabular output. include(forloop.m4') => forloop(i', 1', 10', format(%6d squared is %10d ', i, eval(i**2))') => 1 squared is 1 => 2 squared is 4 => 3 squared is 9 => 4 squared is 16 => 5 squared is 25 => 6 squared is 36 => 7 squared is 49 => 8 squared is 64 => 9 squared is 81 => 10 squared is 100 => The builtin format' is modeled after the ANSI C printf' function, and supports these %' specifiers: c', s', d', o', x', X', u', e', E', f', F', g', G', and %'; it supports field widths and precisions, and the modifiers +', -',  ', 0', #', h' and l'. For more details on the functioning of printf', see the C Library Manual. For now, unrecognized specifiers are silently ignored, but it is anticipated that a future release of GNU m4' will support more specifiers, and give warnings when problems are encountered. Likewise, escape sequences are not yet recognized. File: m4.info, Node: Arithmetic, Next: Shell commands, Prev: Text handling, Up: Top 11 Macros for doing arithmetic ****************************** Integer arithmetic is included in m4', with a C-like syntax. As convenient shorthands, there are builtins for simple increment and decrement operations. * Menu: * Incr:: Decrement and increment operators * Eval:: Evaluating integer expressions File: m4.info, Node: Incr, Next: Eval, Up: Arithmetic 11.1 Decrement and increment operators ====================================== Increment and decrement of integers are supported using the builtins incr' and decr': -- Builtin: incr (NUMBER) -- Builtin: decr (NUMBER) Expand to the numerical value of NUMBER, incremented or decremented, respectively, by one. Except for the empty string, the expansion is empty if NUMBER could not be parsed. The macros incr' and decr' are recognized only with parameters. incr(4') =>5 decr(7') =>6 incr() error-->m4:stdin:3: empty string treated as 0 in builtin incr' =>1 decr() error-->m4:stdin:4: empty string treated as 0 in builtin decr' =>-1 File: m4.info, Node: Eval, Prev: Incr, Up: Arithmetic 11.2 Evaluating integer expressions =================================== Integer expressions are evaluated with eval': -- Builtin: eval (EXPRESSION, [RADIX = 10'], [WIDTH]) Expands to the value of EXPRESSION. The expansion is empty if an error is encountered while parsing the arguments. If specified, RADIX and WIDTH control the format of the output. The macro eval' is recognized only with parameters. Expressions can contain the following operators, listed in order of decreasing precedence. + -' Unary plus and minus **' Exponentiation * / %' Multiplication, division and modulo + -' Addition and subtraction << >>' Shift left or right == != > >= < <=' Relational operators !' Logical negation ~' Bitwise negation &' Bitwise and ^' Bitwise exclusive-or |' Bitwise or &&' Logical and ||' Logical or All operators, except exponentiation, are left associative. Note that some older m4' implementations use ^' as an alternate operator for exponentiation, although POSIX requires the C behavior of bitwise exclusive-or. On the other hand, the precedence of ~' and !' are different in GNU m4' than they are in C, matching the precedence in traditional m4' implementations. This behavior is likely to change in a future version to match POSIX, so use parentheses to force the desired precedence. Within EXPRESSION, (but not RADIX or WIDTH), numbers without a special prefix are decimal. A simple 0' prefix introduces an octal number. 0x' introduces a hexadecimal number. 0b' introduces a binary number. 0r' introduces a number expressed in any radix between 1 and 36: the prefix should be immediately followed by the decimal expression of the radix, a colon, then the digits making the number. For radix 1, leading zeros are ignored and all remaining digits must be 1'; for all other radices, the digits are 0', 1', 2', .... Beyond 9', the digits are a', b' ... up to z'. Lower and upper case letters can be used interchangeably in numbers prefixes and as number digits. Parentheses may be used to group subexpressions whenever needed. For the relational operators, a true relation returns 1', and a false relation return 0'. Here are a few examples of use of eval'. eval(-3 * 5') =>-15 eval(index(Hello world', llo') >= 0) =>1 eval(0r1:0111 + 0b100 + 0r3:12') =>12 define(square', eval(('1)**2')') => square(9') =>81 square(square(5')+1') =>676 define(foo', 666') => eval(foo/6') error-->m4:stdin:8: bad expression in eval: foo/6 => eval(foo/6) =>111 As the last two lines show, eval' does not handle macro names, even if they expand to a valid expression (or part of a valid expression). Therefore all macros must be expanded before they are passed to eval'. All evaluation is done with 32-bit signed integers, assuming 2's-complement with wrap-around. The shift operators are defined in GNU m4' by doing an implicit bit-wise and of the right-hand operand with 0x1f, and sign-extension with right shift. eval(0x80000000 / -1) =>-2147483648 eval(0x80000000 % -1) =>0 eval(0x7fffffff) =>2147483647 incr(eval(0x7fffffff)) =>-2147483648 eval(-4 >> 33) =>-2 If RADIX is specified, it specifies the radix to be used in the expansion. The default radix is 10; this is also the case if RADIX is the empty string. It is an error if the radix is outside the range of 1 through 36, inclusive. The result of eval' is always taken to be signed. No radix prefix is output, and for radices greater than 10, the digits are lower case. The WIDTH argument specifies the minimum output width, excluding any negative sign. The result is zero-padded to extend the expansion to the requested width. It is an error if the width is negative. On error, the expansion of eval' is empty. eval(666', 10') =>666 eval(666', 11') =>556 eval(666', 6') =>3030 eval(666', 6', 10') =>0000003030 eval(-666', 6', 10') =>-0000003030 eval(10', ', 0') =>10 0r1:'eval(10', 1', 11') =>0r1:01111111111 eval(10', 16') =>a File: m4.info, Node: Shell commands, Next: Miscellaneous, Prev: Arithmetic, Up: Top 12 Running shell commands ************************* There are a few builtin macros in m4' that allow you to run shell commands from within m4'. Note that the definition of a valid shell command is system dependent. On UNIX systems, this is the typical /bin/sh'. But on other systems, such as native Windows, the shell has a different syntax of commands that it understands. Some examples in this chapter assume /bin/sh', and also demonstrate how to quit early with a known exit value if this is not the case. * Menu: * Platform macros:: Determining the platform * Syscmd:: Executing simple commands * Esyscmd:: Reading the output of commands * Sysval:: Exit status * Maketemp:: Making names for temporary files File: m4.info, Node: Platform macros, Next: Syscmd, Up: Shell commands 12.1 Determining the platform ============================= Sometimes it is desirable for an input file to know which platform m4' is running on. GNU m4' provides several macros that are predefined to expand to the empty string; checking for their existence will confirm platform details. -- Optional builtin: __gnu__ -- Optional builtin: __os2__ -- Optional builtin: os2 -- Optional builtin: __unix__ -- Optional builtin: unix -- Optional builtin: __windows__ -- Optional builtin: windows Each of these macros is conditionally defined as needed to describe the environment of m4'. If defined, each macro expands to the empty string. When GNU extensions are in effect (that is, when you did not use the -G' option, *note Invoking m4::), GNU m4' will define the macro __gnu__' to expand to the empty string. __gnu__ => ifdef(__gnu__', Extensions are active') =>Extensions are active On UNIX systems, GNU m4' will define __unix__' by default, or unix' when the -G' option is specified. On native Windows systems, GNU m4' will define __windows__' by default, or windows' when the -G' option is specified. On OS/2 systems, GNU m4' will define __os2__' by default, or os2' when the -G' option is specified. If GNU m4' does not provide a platform macro for your system, please report that as a bug. define(provided', 0') => ifdef(__unix__', define(provided', incr(provided))') => ifdef(__windows__', define(provided', incr(provided))') => ifdef(__os2__', define(provided', incr(provided))') => provided =>1 File: m4.info, Node: Syscmd, Next: Esyscmd, Prev: Platform macros, Up: Shell commands 12.2 Executing simple commands ============================== Any shell command can be executed, using syscmd': -- Builtin: syscmd (SHELL-COMMAND) Executes SHELL-COMMAND as a shell command. The expansion of syscmd' is void, _not_ the output from SHELL-COMMAND! Output or error messages from SHELL-COMMAND are not read by m4'. *Note Esyscmd::, if you need to process the command output. Prior to executing the command, m4' flushes its output buffers. The default standard input, output and error of SHELL-COMMAND are the same as those of m4'. The macro syscmd' is recognized only with parameters. define(foo', FOO') => syscmd(echo foo') =>foo => Note how the expansion of syscmd' keeps the trailing newline of the command, as well as using the newline that appeared after the macro. File: m4.info, Node: Esyscmd, Next: Sysval, Prev: Syscmd, Up: Shell commands 12.3 Reading the output of commands =================================== If you want m4' to read the output of a shell command, use esyscmd': -- Builtin: esyscmd (SHELL-COMMAND) Expands to the standard output of the shell command SHELL-COMMAND. Prior to executing the command, m4' flushes its output buffers. The default standard input and error output of SHELL-COMMAND are the same as those of m4'. The error output of SHELL-COMMAND is not a part of the expansion: it will appear along with the error output of m4'. The macro esyscmd' is recognized only with parameters. define(foo', FOO') => esyscmd(echo foo') =>FOO => Note how the expansion of esyscmd' keeps the trailing newline of the command, as well as using the newline that appeared after the macro. File: m4.info, Node: Sysval, Next: Maketemp, Prev: Esyscmd, Up: Shell commands 12.4 Exit status ================ To see whether a shell command succeeded, use sysval': -- Builtin: sysval Expands to the exit status of the last shell command run with syscmd' or esyscmd'. Expands to 0 if no command has been run yet. syscmd(false') => ifelse(sysval, 0', zero', non-zero') =>non-zero syscmd(exit 2') => sysval =>2 syscmd(true') => sysval =>0 esyscmd(false') => ifelse(sysval, 0', zero', non-zero') =>non-zero esyscmd(exit 2') => sysval =>2 esyscmd(true') => sysval =>0 sysval' results in 127 if there was a problem executing the command, for example, if the system-imposed argument length is exceeded, or if there were not enough resources to fork. It is not possible to distinguish between failed execution and successful execution that had an exit status of 127. On UNIX platforms, where it is possible to detect when command execution is terminated by a signal, rather than a normal exit, the result is the signal number shifted left by eight bits. dnl This test assumes kill is a shell builtin, and that signals are dnl recognizable. ifdef(__unix__', , errprint( skipping: syscmd does not have unix semantics ')m4exit(77')')dnl syscmd(kill -13$$') => sysval =>3328 esyscmd(kill -9$$') => sysval =>2304 File: m4.info, Node: Maketemp, Prev: Sysval, Up: Shell commands 12.5 Making names for temporary files ===================================== Commands specified to syscmd' or esyscmd' might need a temporary file, for output or for some other purpose. There is a builtin macro, maketemp', for making temporary file names: -- Builtin: maketemp (TEMPLATE) Expands to a name of a new, empty file, made from the string TEMPLATE, which should end with the string XXXXXX'. The six X' characters are then replaced with random data, in order to make the file name unique. The macro maketemp' is recognized only with parameters. maketemp(/tmp/fooXXXXXX') =>/tmp/fooa07346 File: m4.info, Node: Miscellaneous, Next: Frozen files, Prev: Shell commands, Up: Top 13 Miscellaneous builtin macros ******************************* This chapter describes various builtins, that do not really belong in any of the previous chapters. * Menu: * Errprint:: Printing error messages * Location:: Printing current location * M4exit:: Exiting from m4 File: m4.info, Node: Errprint, Next: Location, Up: Miscellaneous 13.1 Printing error messages ============================ You can print error messages using errprint': -- Builtin: errprint (MESSAGE, ...) Prints MESSAGE and the rest of the arguments on the standard error output, separated by spaces. The expansion of errprint' is void. The macro errprint' is recognized only with parameters. errprint(Invalid arguments to forloop ') error-->Invalid arguments to forloop => A trailing newline is _not_ printed automatically, so it must be supplied as part of the argument, as in the example. BSD implementations of m4' do append a trailing newline on each errprint' call, while some other implementations only print the first argument. File: m4.info, Node: Location, Next: M4exit, Prev: Errprint, Up: Miscellaneous 13.2 Printing current location ============================== To make it possible to specify the location of an error, three utility builtins exist: -- Builtin: __file__ -- Builtin: __line__ -- Builtin: __program__ Expand to the quoted name of the current input file, the current input line number in that file, and the quoted name of the current invocation of m4'. errprint(__program__:__file__:__line__: input error ') error-->m4:stdin:1: input error => Line numbers start at 1 for each file. If the file was found due to the -I' option or M4PATH' environment variable, that is reflected in the file name. The syncline option (-s', *note Invoking m4::), and the f' and l' flags of debugmode' (*note Debug Levels::), also use this notion of current file and line. Redefining the three location macros has no effect on syncline, debug, or warning message output. Assume this example is run in the checks' directory of the GNU M4 package, using --include=../examples' in the command line to find the file incl.m4' mentioned earlier: define(foo', $0' called at __file__:__line__')
=>
foo
=>foo called at stdin:2
include(incl.m4')
=>Include file start
=>foo called at ../examples/incl.m4:2
=>Include file end
=>

Currently, all text wrapped with m4wrap' (*note M4wrap::) behaves
as though it came from line 0 of the file "".  It is hoped that a
future release of m4' can overcome this limitation and remember which
file invoked the call to m4wrap'.

The __program__' macro behaves like $0' in shell terminology. If you invoke m4' through an absolute path or a link with a different spelling, rather than by relying on a PATH' search for plain m4', it will affect how __program__' expands. The intent is that you can use it to produce error messages with the same formatting that m4' produces internally. It can also be used within syscmd' (*note Syscmd::) to pick the same version of m4' that is currently running, rather than whatever version of m4' happens to be first in PATH'. File: m4.info, Node: M4exit, Prev: Location, Up: Miscellaneous 13.3 Exiting from m4' ====================== If you need to exit from m4' before the entire input has been read, you can use m4exit': -- Builtin: m4exit ([CODE = 0']) Causes m4' to exit, with exit status CODE. If CODE is left out, the exit status is zero. If CODE cannot be parsed, or is outside the range of 0 to 255, the exit status is one. No further input is read, and all wrapped and diverted text is discarded. A common use of this is to abort processing: -- Composite: fatal_error (MESSAGE) Abort processing with an error message and non-zero status. Prefix MESSAGE with details about where the error occurred, and print the resulting string to standard error. define(fatal_error', errprint(__program__:__file__:__line__: fatal error:$*
')m4exit(1')')
=>
fatal_error(this is a BAD one, buster')
error-->m4:stdin:4: fatal error: this is a BAD one, buster

After this macro call, m4' will exit with exit status 1.  This macro
is only intended for error exits, since the normal exit procedures are
not followed, e.g., diverted text is not undiverted, and saved text
(*note M4wrap::) is not reread.  (This macro has a subtle bug, when
invoked from wrapped text.  You should try to see if you can find it and

m4wrap(This text is lost to m4exit'.')
=>
divert(1') And so is this.
divert
=>
m4exit

Note that it is still possible for the exit status to be different
than what was requested by m4exit'.  If m4' detects some other error,
such as a write error on standard out, the exit status will be non-zero
even if m4exit' requested zero.

File: m4.info,  Node: Frozen files,  Next: Compatibility,  Prev: Miscellaneous,  Up: Top

*******************************

Some bigger m4' applications may be built over a common base
containing hundreds of definitions and other costly initializations.
Usually, the common base is kept in one or more declarative files,
which files are listed on each m4' invocation prior to the user's
input file, or else each input file uses include'.

Reading the common base of a big application, over and over again,
may be time consuming.  GNU m4' offers some machinery to speed up the
start of an application using lengthy common bases.

* Using frozen files::          Using frozen files
* Frozen file format::          Frozen file format

File: m4.info,  Node: Using frozen files,  Next: Frozen file format,  Up: Frozen files

14.1 Using frozen files
=======================

Suppose a user has a library of m4' initializations in base.m4',
which is then used with multiple input files:

m4 base.m4 input1.m4
m4 base.m4 input2.m4
m4 base.m4 input3.m4

Rather than spending time parsing the fixed contents of base.m4'
every time, the user might rather execute:

m4 -F base.m4f base.m4

once, and further execute, as often as needed:

m4 -R base.m4f input1.m4
m4 -R base.m4f input2.m4
m4 -R base.m4f input3.m4

with the varying input.  The first call, containing the -F' option,
only reads and executes file base.m4', defining various application
macros and computing other initializations.  Once the input file
base.m4' has been completely processed, GNU m4' produces on
base.m4f' a "frozen" file, that is, a file which contains a kind of
snapshot of the m4' internal state.

Later calls, containing the -R' option, are able to reload the
internal state of m4', from base.m4f', _prior_ to reading any other
input files.  This means instead of starting with a virgin copy of
m4', input will be read after having effectively recovered the effect
of a prior run.  In our example, the effect is the same as if file
base.m4' has been read anew.  However, this effect is achieved a lot
faster.

Only one frozen file may be created or read in any one m4'
invocation.  It is not possible to recover two frozen files at once.
However, frozen files may be updated incrementally, through using -R'
and -F' options simultaneously.  For example, if some care is taken,
the command:

m4 file1.m4 file2.m4 file3.m4 file4.m4

could be broken down in the following sequence, accumulating the same
output:

m4 -F file1.m4f file1.m4
m4 -R file1.m4f -F file2.m4f file2.m4
m4 -R file2.m4f -F file3.m4f file3.m4
m4 -R file3.m4f file4.m4

Some care is necessary because not every effort has been made for
this to work in all cases.  In particular, the trace attribute of
macros is not handled, nor the current setting of changeword'.
Currently, m4wrap' and sysval' also have problems.  Also,
interactions for some options of m4', being used in one call and not
in the next, have not been fully analyzed yet.  On the other end, you
may be confident that stacks of pushdef' definitions are handled
correctly, as well as undefined or renamed builtins, and changed
strings for quotes or comments.  And future releases of GNU M4 will
improve on the utility of frozen files.

When an m4' run is to be frozen, the automatic undiversion which
takes place at end of execution is inhibited.  Instead, all positively
numbered diversions are saved into the frozen file.  The active
diversion number is also transmitted.

A frozen file to be reloaded need not reside in the current
directory.  It is looked up the same way as an include' file (*note
Search Path::).

If the frozen file was generated with a newer version of m4', and
contains directives that an older m4' cannot parse, attempting to load
the frozen file with option -R' will cause m4' to exit with status 63
to indicate version mismatch.

File: m4.info,  Node: Frozen file format,  Prev: Using frozen files,  Up: Frozen files

14.2 Frozen file format
=======================

Frozen files are sharable across architectures.  It is safe to write a
frozen file on one machine and read it on another, given that the
second machine uses the same or newer version of GNU m4'.  It is
conventional, but not required, to give a frozen file the suffix of
.m4f'.

These are simple (editable) text files, made up of directives, each
starting with a capital letter and ending with a newline (<NL>).
Wherever a directive is expected, the character #' introduces a
comment line; empty lines are also ignored if they are not part of an
embedded string.  In the following descriptions, each LEN refers to the
length of the corresponding strings STR in the next line of input.
Numbers are always expressed in decimal.  There are no escape
characters.  The directives are:

C LEN1 , LEN2 <NL> STR1 STR2 <NL>'
Uses STR1 and STR2 as the begin-comment and end-comment strings.
If omitted, then #' and <NL> are the comment delimiters.

D NUMBER, LEN <NL> STR <NL>'
Selects diversion NUMBER, making it current, then copy STR in the
current diversion.  NUMBER may be a negative number for a
non-existing diversion.  To merely specify an active selection,
use this command with an empty STR.  With 0 as the diversion
NUMBER, STR will be issued on standard output at reload time.  GNU
m4' will not produce the D' directive with non-zero length for
diversion 0, but this can be done with manual edits.  This
directive may appear more than once for the same diversion, in
which case the diversion is the concatenation of the various uses.
If omitted, then diversion 0 is current.

F LEN1 , LEN2 <NL> STR1 STR2 <NL>'
Defines, through pushdef', a definition for STR1 expanding to the
function whose builtin name is STR2.  If the builtin does not
exist (for example, if the frozen file was produced by a copy of
m4' compiled with changeword support, but the version of m4'
subsequent use of the definition of STR1 will result in a warning.
This directive may appear more than once for the same name, and
its order, along with T', is important.  If omitted, you will

Q LEN1 , LEN2 <NL> STR1 STR2 <NL>'
Uses STR1 and STR2 as the begin-quote and end-quote strings.  If
omitted, then ' and '' are the quote delimiters.

T LEN1 , LEN2 <NL> STR1 STR2 <NL>'
Defines, though pushdef', a definition for STR1 expanding to the
text given by STR2.  This directive may appear more than once for
the same name, and its order, along with F', is important.

V NUMBER <NL>'
Confirms the format of the file.  m4' 1.4.6 only creates and
understands frozen files where NUMBER is 1.  This directive must
be the first non-comment in the file, and may not appear more than
once.

File: m4.info,  Node: Compatibility,  Next: Answers,  Prev: Frozen files,  Up: Top

15 Compatibility with other versions of m4'
********************************************

This chapter describes the differences between this implementation of
m4', and the implementation found under UNIX, notably System V,
Release 3.

There are also differences in BSD flavors of m4'.  No attempt is

* Extensions::                  Extensions in GNU M4
* Incompatibilities::           Facilities in System V m4 not in GNU M4
* Other Incompatibilities::     Other incompatibilities

File: m4.info,  Node: Extensions,  Next: Incompatibilities,  Up: Compatibility

15.1 Extensions in GNU m4'
===========================

This version of m4' contains a few facilities that do not exist in
System V m4'.  These extra facilities are all suppressed by using the
-G' command line option (*note Invoking m4::), unless overridden by
other command line options.

* In the $'N notation for macro arguments, N can contain several digits, while the System V m4' only accepts one digit. This allows macros in GNU m4' to take any number of arguments, and not only nine (*note Arguments::). This means that define(foo', $11')' is ambiguous between
implementations.  To portably choose between grabbing the first
parameter and appending 1 to the expansion, or grabbing the
eleventh parameter, you can do the following:

define(a1', A1')
=>
dnl First argument, concatenated with 1
define(_1', $1')define(first1', _1($@)1')
=>
dnl Eleventh argument, portable
define(_9', $9')define(eleventh', _9(shift(shift($@)))')
=>
dnl Eleventh argument, GNU style
define(Eleventh', $11') => first1(a', b', c', d', e', f', g', h', i', j', k') =>A1 eleventh(a', b', c', d', e', f', g', h', i', j', k') =>k Eleventh(a', b', c', d', e', f', g', h', i', j', k') =>k * The divert' (*note Divert::) macro can manage more than 9 diversions. GNU m4' treats all positive numbers as valid diversions, rather than discarding diversions greater than 9. * Files included with include' and sinclude' are sought in a user specified search path, if they are not found in the working directory. The search path is specified by the -I' option and the M4PATH' environment variable (*note Search Path::). * Arguments to undivert' can be non-numeric, in which case the named file will be included uninterpreted in the output (*note Undivert::). * Formatted output is supported through the format' builtin, which is modeled after the C library function printf' (*note Format::). * Searches and text substitution through regular expressions are supported by the regexp' (*note Regexp::) and patsubst' (*note Patsubst::) builtins. * The output of shell commands can be read into m4' with esyscmd' (*note Esyscmd::). * There is indirect access to any builtin macro with builtin' (*note Builtin::). * Macros can be called indirectly through indir' (*note Indir::). * The name of the program, the current input file, and the current input line number are accessible through the builtins __program__', __file__', and __line__' (*note Location::). * The format of the output from dumpdef' and macro tracing can be controlled with debugmode' (*note Debug Levels::). * The destination of trace and debug output can be controlled with debugfile' (*note Debug Output::). In addition to the above extensions, GNU m4' implements the following command line options: -F', -G', -I', -L', -R', -V', -W', -d', -l', -o' and -t'. *Note Invoking m4::, for a description of these options. Also, the debugging and tracing facilities in GNU m4' are much more extensive than in most other versions of m4'. File: m4.info, Node: Incompatibilities, Next: Other Incompatibilities, Prev: Extensions, Up: Compatibility 15.2 Facilities in System V m4' not in GNU m4' ================================================ The version of m4' from System V contains a few facilities that have not been implemented in GNU m4' yet. Additionally, POSIX requires some behaviors that GNU m4' has not implemented yet. Relying on these behaviors is non-portable, as a future release of GNU m4' may change. * System V m4' supports multiple arguments to defn', and POSIX requires it. This is not yet implemented in GNU m4'. Unfortunately, this means it is not possible to mix builtins and other text into a single macro; a helper macro is required. * POSIX requires an application to exit with non-zero status if it wrote an error message to stderr. This has not yet been consistently implemented for the various builtins that are required to issue an error (such as include' (*note Include::) when a file is unreadable, eval' (*note Eval::) when an argument cannot be parsed, or using m4exit' (*note M4exit::) with a non-numeric argument). * POSIX requires m4wrap' (*note M4wrap::) to act in FIFO (first-in, first-out) order, but GNU m4' currently uses LIFO order. Furthermore, POSIX states that only the first argument to m4wrap' is saved for later evaluation, bug GNU m4' saves and processes all arguments, with output separated by spaces. However, it is possible to emulate POSIX behavior by including the file examples/wrapfifo.m4' from the distribution: undivert(wrapfifo.m4')dnl =>dnl Redefine m4wrap to have FIFO semantics. =>define(_m4wrap_level', 0')dnl =>define(m4wrap', =>ifdef(m4wrap'_m4wrap_level, => define(m4wrap'_m4wrap_level, => defn(m4wrap'_m4wrap_level)$1')',
=>       builtin(m4wrap', define(_m4wrap_level',
=>                                  incr(_m4wrap_level))dnl
=>m4wrap'_m4wrap_level)dnl
=>define(m4wrap'_m4wrap_level, $1')')')dnl include(wrapfifo.m4') => m4wrap(a'm4wrap(c ', d')')m4wrap(b') => ^D =>abc * POSIX requires that all builtins that require arguments, but are called without arguments, behave as though empty strings had been passed. For example, a'define'b' would expand to ab'. But GNU m4' ignores certain builtins if they have missing arguments, giving adefineb' for the above example. * Traditional implementations handle define(f',1')' (*note Define::) by undefining the entire stack of previous definitions, and if doing undefine(f')' first. GNU m4' replaces just the top definition on the stack, as if doing popdef(f')' followed by pushdef(f',1')'. * POSIX requires syscmd' (*note Syscmd::) to evaluate command output for macro expansion, but this appears to be a mistake in POSIX since traditional implementations did not do this. GNU m4' follows traditional behavior in syscmd', and provides the extension esyscmd' that provides the POSIX semantics. * POSIX requires maketemp' (*note Maketemp::) to replace the trailing X' characters with the m4' process id, giving the same result on identical input, without creating any files, which leaves the door open for a data race in which other processes can create a file by the same name. GNU m4' actually creates a temporary file for each invocation of maketemp', which means that the output of the macro is different even if the input is identical. * POSIX requires changequote(ARG)' (*note Changequote::) to use newline as the close quote, but GNU m4' uses '' as the close quote. Meanwhile, some traditional implementations use ARG as the close quote, making it impossible to nest quotes. For predictable results, never call changequote with just one argument. * Some implementations of m4' give macros a higher precedence than comments when parsing, meaning that if the start delimiter given to changecom' (*note Changecom::) starts with a macro name, comments are effectively disabled. POSIX does not specify what the precedence is, so the GNU m4' parser recognizes comments, then macros, then quoted strings. * Traditional implementations allow argument collection, but not string and comment processing, to span file boundaries. Thus, if a.m4' contains len(', and b.m4' contains abc)', m4 a.m4 b.m4' outputs 3' with traditional m4', but gives an error message that the end of file was encountered inside a macro with GNU m4'. On the other hand, traditional implementations do end of file processing for files included with include' or sinclude' (*note Include::), while GNU m4' seamlessly integrates the content of those files. Thus include(a.m4')include(b.m4')' will output 3' instead of giving an error. * Traditional m4' treats traceon' (*note Trace::) without arguments as a global variable, independent of named macro tracing. Also, once a macro is undefined, named tracing of that macro is lost. On the other hand, when GNU m4' encounters traceon' without arguments, it turns tracing on for all existing definitions at the time, but does not trace future definitions; traceoff' without arguments turns tracing off for all definitions regardless of whether they were also traced by name; and tracing by name, such as with -tfoo' at the command line or traceon(foo')' in the input, is an attribute that is preserved even if the macro is currently undefined. * POSIX requires eval' (*note Eval::) to treat all operators with the same precedence as C. However, GNU m4' currently follows the traditional precedence of other m4' implementations, where bitwise and logical negation (~' and !') have lower precedence than equality operators, rather than equal precedence with other unary operators. Use explicit parentheses to ensure proper precedence. As extensions to POSIX, GNU m4' treats the shift operators <<' and >>' as well-defined on signed integers (even though they are not in C), and adds the exponentiation operator **'. * POSIX requires translit' (*note Translit::) to treat each character of the second and third arguments literally, but GNU m4' treats -' as a range operator. * POSIX requires m4' to honor the locale environment variables of LANG', LC_ALL', LC_CTYPE', LC_MESSAGES', and NLSPATH', but this has not yet been implemented in GNU m4'. File: m4.info, Node: Other Incompatibilities, Prev: Incompatibilities, Up: Compatibility 15.3 Other incompatibilities ============================ There are a few other incompatibilities between this implementation of m4', and the System V version. * GNU m4' implements sync lines differently from System V m4', when text is being diverted. GNU m4' outputs the sync lines when the text is being diverted, and System V m4' when the diverted text is being brought back. The problem is which lines and file names should be attached to text that is being, or has been, diverted. System V m4' regards all the diverted text as being generated by the source line containing the undivert' call, whereas GNU m4' regards the diverted text as being generated at the time it is diverted. The sync line option is used mostly when using m4' as a front end to a compiler. If a diverted line causes a compiler error, the error messages should most probably refer to the place where the diversion were made, and not where it was inserted again. * GNU m4' makes no attempt at prohibiting self-referential definitions like: define(x', x') => define(x', x ') => There is nothing inherently wrong with defining x' to return x'. The wrong thing is to expand x' unquoted. In m4', one might use macros to hold strings, as we do for variables in other programming languages, further checking them with: ifelse(defn(HOLDER'), VALUE', ...) In cases like this one, an interdiction for a macro to hold its own name would be a useless limitation. Of course, this leaves more rope for the GNU m4' user to hang himself! Rescanning hangs may be avoided through careful programming, a little like for endless loops in traditional programming languages. File: m4.info, Node: Answers, Next: Copying This Manual, Prev: Compatibility, Up: Top 16 Correct version of some examples *********************************** Some of the examples in this manuals are buggy, for demonstration purposes. Correctly working macros are presented here. The exch' macro (*note Arguments::) as presented requires clients to double quote their arguments. A nicer definition, which lets clients follow the rule of thumb of one level of quoting per level of parentheses, involves adding quotes in the definition of exch', as follows: define(exch', $2', $1'') => define(exch(expansion text', macro')) => macro =>expansion text The cleardivert' macro (*note Cleardiv::) cannot, as it stands, be called without arguments to clear all pending diversions. That is because using undivert with an empty string for an argument is different than using it with no arguments at all. Compare the earlier definition with one that takes the number of arguments into account: define(cleardivert', pushdef(_n', divnum)divert(-1')undivert($@)divert(_n)popdef(_n')')
=>
divert(1')one
divert
=>
cleardivert
=>
undivert
=>one
=>
define(cleardivert',
pushdef(_num', divnum)divert(-1')ifelse($#', 0', undivert'', undivert($@)')divert(_num)popdef(_num')')
=>
divert(2')two
divert
=>
cleardivert
=>
undivert
=>

The fatal_error' macro (*note M4exit::) does not quite match the
format of internal error messages when invoked inside wrapped text, due
to the current limitations of __file__' (*note Location::) when
invoked inside m4wrap'.  Since m4' omits the file and line number
from its warning messages when there is no current file (or
equivalently, when the current line is 0, since all files start at line
1), a better implementation would be:

define(fatal_error',
errprint(__program__:ifelse(__line__, 0', ',
__file__:__line__:') fatal error: \$*
')m4exit(1')')
=>
m4wrap(divnum(demo of internal message')
fatal_error(inside wrapped text')')
=>
^D
error-->m4: Warning: excess arguments to builtin divnum' ignored
=>0
error-->m4: fatal error: inside wrapped text

File: m4.info,  Node: Copying This Manual,  Next: Indices,  Prev: Answers,  Up: Top

Appendix A Copying This Manual
******************************

File: m4.info,  Node: GNU Free Documentation License,  Up: Copying This Manual

==================================

Version 1.2, November 2002

Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301, USA

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

0. PREAMBLE

The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other
functional and useful document "free" in the sense of freedom: to
assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it,
with or without modifying it, either commercially or
noncommercially.  Secondarily, this License preserves for the
author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not
being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

This License is a kind of "copyleft", which means that derivative
works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense.
It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft

We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for
free software, because free software needs free documentation: a
free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms
that the software does.  But this License is not limited to
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of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book.
We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is
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File: m4.info,  Node: Indices,  Prev: Copying This Manual,  Up: Top

Appendix B Indices
******************

* Concept index::               Index for many concepts
* Macro index::                 Index for all m4 macros

File: m4.info,  Node: Concept index,  Next: Macro index,  Up: Indices

B.1 Concept index
=================

[index]

* arguments to macros:                   Macro Arguments.     (line   6)
* Arguments to macros:                   Arguments.           (line   6)
* arguments to macros, special:          Pseudo Arguments.    (line   6)
* arguments, quoted macro:               Quoting Arguments.   (line   6)
* arithmetic:                            Arithmetic.          (line   6)
* arrays:                                Define.              (line  47)
* builtins, indirect call of:            Builtin.             (line   6)
* call of builtins, indirect:            Builtin.             (line   6)
* call of macros, indirect:              Indir.               (line   6)
* changing comment delimiters:           Changecom.           (line   6)
* changing the quote delimiters:         Changequote.         (line   6)
* characters, translating:               Translit.            (line   6)
* command line, file names on the:       Invoking m4.         (line 205)
* command line, macro definitions on the: Invoking m4.        (line  55)
* command line, options:                 Invoking m4.         (line  10)
* commands, exit status from shell:      Sysval.              (line   6)
* commands, running shell:               Shell commands.      (line   6)
* commands, running UNIX:                Shell commands.      (line   6)
* comment delimiters, changing:          Changecom.           (line   6)
* comments, copied to output:            Changecom.           (line  29)
* comparing strings:                     Ifelse.              (line   6)
* compatibility:                         Compatibility.       (line   6)
* conditionals:                          Ifdef.               (line   6)
* controlling debugging output:          Debug Levels.        (line   6)
* counting loops:                        Loops.               (line  49)
* debugging output, controlling:         Debug Levels.        (line   6)
* debugging output, saving:              Debug Output.        (line   6)
* decrement operator:                    Incr.                (line   6)
* defining new macros:                   Definitions.         (line   6)
* definitions, displaying macro:         Dumpdef.             (line   6)
* deleting macros:                       Undefine.            (line   6)
* deleting whitespace in input:          Dnl.                 (line   6)
* discarding diverted text:              Cleardiv.            (line   6)
* displaying macro definitions:          Dumpdef.             (line   6)
* diversion numbers:                     Divnum.              (line   6)
* diverted text, discarding:             Cleardiv.            (line   6)
* diverting output to files:             Divert.              (line   6)
* dumping into frozen file:              Using frozen files.  (line   6)
* error messages, printing:              Errprint.            (line   6)
* evaluation, of integer expressions:    Eval.                (line   6)
* executing shell commands:              Shell commands.      (line   6)
* executing UNIX commands:               Shell commands.      (line   6)
* exit status from shell commands:       Sysval.              (line   6)
* exiting from m4:                       M4exit.              (line   6)
* expansion of macros:                   Macro expansion.     (line   6)
* expansion, tracing macro:              Trace.               (line   6)
* expressions, evaluation of integer:    Eval.                (line   6)
* extracting substrings:                 Substr.              (line   6)
(line   6)
* file format, frozen file:              Frozen file format.  (line   6)
* file inclusion <1>:                    File Inclusion.      (line   6)
* file inclusion:                        Undivert.            (line  77)
* file names, on the command line:       Invoking m4.         (line 205)
* files, diverting output to:            Divert.              (line   6)
* files, names of temporary:             Maketemp.            (line   6)
* for loops:                             Loops.               (line  49)
* formatted output:                      Format.              (line   6)
* frozen file format:                    Frozen file format.  (line   6)
* GNU extensions <1>:                    Esyscmd.             (line   6)
* GNU extensions <2>:                    Extensions.          (line   6)
* GNU extensions <3>:                    Regexp.              (line   6)
* GNU extensions <4>:                    Using frozen files.  (line   6)
* GNU extensions <5>:                    Undivert.            (line  77)
* GNU extensions <6>:                    Patsubst.            (line   6)
* GNU extensions <7>:                    Search Path.         (line   6)
* GNU extensions <8>:                    Arguments.           (line  32)
* GNU extensions <9>:                    Format.              (line   6)
* GNU extensions <10>:                   Indir.               (line   6)
* GNU extensions <11>:                   Debug Output.        (line   6)
* GNU extensions <12>:                   Builtin.             (line   6)
* GNU extensions:                        Debug Levels.        (line  59)
* included files, search path for:       Search Path.         (line   6)
* inclusion, of files <1>:               Undivert.            (line  77)
* inclusion, of files:                   File Inclusion.      (line   6)
* increment operator:                    Incr.                (line   6)
* indirect call of builtins:             Builtin.             (line   6)
* indirect call of macros:               Indir.               (line   6)
* initialization, frozen states:         Using frozen files.  (line   6)
* input tokens:                          Syntax.              (line   6)
* input, saving:                         M4wrap.              (line   6)
* integer arithmetic:                    Arithmetic.          (line   6)
* integer expression evaluation:         Eval.                (line   6)
* length of strings:                     Len.                 (line   6)
* lexical structure of words:            Changeword.          (line   6)
* License:                               Copying This Manual. (line   6)
* local variables:                       Pushdef.             (line  75)
* loops:                                 Loops.               (line  10)
* loops, counting:                       Loops.               (line  49)
* macro definitions, on the command line: Invoking m4.        (line  55)
* macro expansion, tracing:              Trace.               (line   6)
* macro invocation:                      Invocation.          (line   6)
* macros, arguments to <1>:              Arguments.           (line   6)
* macros, arguments to:                  Macro Arguments.     (line   6)
* macros, displaying definitions:        Dumpdef.             (line   6)
* macros, expansion of:                  Macro expansion.     (line   6)
* macros, how to define new:             Definitions.         (line   6)
* macros, how to delete:                 Undefine.            (line   6)
* macros, how to rename:                 Defn.                (line   6)
* macros, indirect call of:              Indir.               (line   6)
* macros, quoted arguments to:           Quoting Arguments.   (line   6)
* macros, recursive:                     Loops.               (line   6)
* macros, special arguments to:          Pseudo Arguments.    (line   6)
* macros, temporary redefinition of:     Pushdef.             (line   6)
* messages, printing error:              Errprint.            (line   6)
* multibranches:                         Ifelse.              (line  65)
* names:                                 Names.               (line   6)
* options, command line:                 Invoking m4.         (line  10)
* output, diverting to files:            Divert.              (line   6)
* output, formatted:                     Format.              (line   6)
* output, saving debugging:              Debug Output.        (line   6)
* pattern substitution:                  Patsubst.            (line   6)
* platform macro:                        Platform macros.     (line  31)
* platform macros:                       Platform macros.     (line   6)
* printing error messages:               Errprint.            (line   6)
* quote delimiters, changing the:        Changequote.         (line   6)
* quoted macro arguments:                Quoting Arguments.   (line   6)
* quoted string:                         Quoted strings.      (line   6)
* recursive macros:                      Loops.               (line   6)
* redefinition of macros, temporary:     Pushdef.             (line   6)
* regular expressions <1>:               Patsubst.            (line   6)
* regular expressions:                   Regexp.              (line   6)
* renaming macros:                       Defn.                (line   6)
* running shell commands:                Shell commands.      (line   6)
* running UNIX commands:                 Shell commands.      (line   6)
* saving debugging output:               Debug Output.        (line   6)
* saving input:                          M4wrap.              (line   6)
* search path for included files:        Search Path.         (line   6)
* shell commands, exit status from:      Sysval.              (line   6)
* shell commands, running:               Shell commands.      (line   6)
* special arguments to macros:           Pseudo Arguments.    (line   6)
* status of shell commands:              Sysval.              (line   6)
* status, setting m4 exit:               M4exit.              (line   6)
* strings, length of:                    Len.                 (line   6)
* substitution by regular expression:    Patsubst.            (line   6)
* substrings, extracting:                Substr.              (line   6)
* temporary file names:                  Maketemp.            (line   6)
* temporary redefinition of macros:      Pushdef.             (line   6)
* tokens:                                Syntax.              (line   6)
* tracing macro expansion:               Trace.               (line   6)
* translating characters:                Translit.            (line   6)
* undefining macros:                     Undefine.            (line   6)
* UNIX commands, exit status from:       Sysval.              (line   6)
* UNIX commands, running:                Shell commands.      (line   6)
* variables, local:                      Pushdef.             (line  75)
* words, lexical structure of:           Changeword.          (line   6)

File: m4.info,  Node: Macro index,  Prev: Concept index,  Up: Indices

B.2 Macro index
===============

References are exclusively to the places where a builtin is introduced
the first time.

[index]

* __file__:                              Location.             (line 10)
* __gnu__:                               Platform macros.      (line 12)
* __line__:                              Location.             (line 11)
* __os2__:                               Platform macros.      (line 13)
* __program__:                           Location.             (line 12)
* __unix__:                              Platform macros.      (line 15)
* __windows__:                           Platform macros.      (line 17)
* builtin:                               Builtin.              (line  9)
* capitalize:                            Patsubst.             (line 54)
* changecom:                             Changecom.            (line 10)
* changequote:                           Changequote.          (line 10)
* changeword:                            Changeword.           (line 23)
* cleardivert:                           Cleardiv.             (line 26)
* debugfile:                             Debug Output.         (line 11)
* debugmode:                             Debug Levels.         (line 63)
* decr:                                  Incr.                 (line 11)
* define:                                Define.               (line 10)
* defn:                                  Defn.                 (line 10)
* divert:                                Divert.               (line  9)
* divnum:                                Divnum.               (line  9)
* dnl:                                   Dnl.                  (line  9)
* downcase:                              Patsubst.             (line 53)
* dumpdef:                               Dumpdef.              (line 10)
* errprint:                              Errprint.             (line  9)
* esyscmd:                               Esyscmd.              (line  9)
* eval:                                  Eval.                 (line  9)
* example:                               Manual.               (line 32)
* fatal_error:                           M4exit.               (line 18)
* forloop:                               Loops.                (line 52)
* format:                                Format.               (line  9)
* ifdef:                                 Ifdef.                (line 10)
* ifelse:                                Ifelse.               (line 12)
* include:                               Include.              (line  9)
* incr:                                  Incr.                 (line 10)
* index:                                 Index macro.          (line  9)
* indir:                                 Indir.                (line  9)
* len:                                   Len.                  (line  9)
* m4exit:                                M4exit.               (line 10)
* m4wrap:                                M4wrap.               (line 14)
* maketemp:                              Maketemp.             (line 11)
* os2:                                   Platform macros.      (line 14)
* patsubst:                              Patsubst.             (line  9)
* popdef:                                Pushdef.              (line 12)
* pushdef:                               Pushdef.              (line 11)
* regexp:                                Regexp.               (line  9)
* reverse:                               Loops.                (line 32)
* shift:                                 Loops.                (line 17)
* sinclude:                              Include.              (line 10)
* substr:                                Substr.               (line  9)
* syscmd:                                Syscmd.               (line  9)
* sysval:                                Sysval.               (line  9)
* traceoff:                              Trace.                (line 11)
* traceon:                               Trace.                (line 10)
* translit:                              Translit.             (line  9)
* undefine:                              Undefine.             (line  9)
* undivert:                              Undivert.             (line  9)
* unix:                                  Platform macros.      (line 16)
* upcase:                                Patsubst.             (line 52)
* windows:                               Platform macros.      (line 18)

Tag Table:
Node: Top864
Node: Preliminaries8278
Node: Intro9005
Node: History10637
Node: Invoking m413261
Node: Bugs22389
Node: Manual23655
Node: Syntax26587
Node: Names27584
Node: Quoted strings28034
Node: Other tokens29508
Node: Input processing30056
Node: Macros31905
Node: Invocation32399
Node: Inhibiting Invocation33200
Node: Macro Arguments36715
Node: Quoting Arguments38613
Node: Macro expansion39845
Node: Definitions40513
Node: Define41297
Node: Arguments43216
Node: Pseudo Arguments44945
Node: Undefine47475
Node: Defn48605
Node: Pushdef50908
Node: Indir53242
Node: Builtin54170
Node: Conditionals55589
Node: Ifdef56303
Node: Ifelse57158
Node: Loops59915
Node: Debugging63787
Node: Dumpdef64372
Node: Trace65749
Node: Debug Levels68365
Node: Debug Output71153
Node: Input Control72334
Node: Dnl72872
Node: Changequote74682
Node: Changecom78157
Node: Changeword81088
Node: M4wrap85705
Node: File Inclusion87924
Node: Include88241
Node: Search Path90687
Node: Diversions91499
Node: Divert92737
Node: Undivert94932
Node: Divnum97656
Node: Cleardiv98115
Node: Text handling99274
Node: Len99997
Node: Index macro100382
Node: Regexp101153
Node: Substr103402
Node: Translit104453
Node: Patsubst106142
Node: Format109676
Node: Arithmetic111734
Node: Incr112183
Node: Eval112958
Node: Shell commands117367
Node: Platform macros118277
Node: Syscmd120006
Node: Esyscmd120975
Node: Sysval121900
Node: Maketemp123456
Node: Miscellaneous124172
Node: Errprint124603
Node: Location125403
Node: M4exit127601
Node: Frozen files129381
Node: Using frozen files130162
Node: Frozen file format133402
Node: Compatibility136465
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Node: Incompatibilities140562
Node: Other Incompatibilities147468
`