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@setfilename m4.info
@settitle GNU M4 macro processor
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@include version.texi

@c @tabchar{}
@c ----------
@c The testsuite expects literal tab output in some examples, but
@c literal tabs in texinfo lead to formatting issues.
@macro tabchar
@	@c
@end macro

@c @ovar{ARG}
@c -------------------
@c The ARG is an optional argument.  To be used for macro arguments in
@c their documentation.
@macro ovar{varname}
@r{[}@var{\varname\}@r{]}
@end macro

@c @dvar{ARG, DEFAULT}
@c -------------------
@c The ARG is an optional argument, defaulting to DEFAULT.  To be used
@c for macro arguments in their documentation.
@macro dvar{varname, default}
@r{[}@var{\varname\} = @samp{\default\}@r{]}
@end macro

@comment %**end of header
@comment ========================================================

@copying

This manual is for @acronym{GNU} M4 (version @value{VERSION}, @value{UPDATED}),
a package containing an implementation of the m4 macro language.

Copyright @copyright{} 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2005,
2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

@quotation
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the @acronym{GNU} Free Documentation License,
Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software
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 ``@acronym{GNU} Free Documentation License.''
@end quotation
@end copying

@dircategory GNU programming tools
@direntry
* M4: (m4).                     A powerful macro processor.
@end direntry

@titlepage
@title GNU M4, version @value{VERSION}
@subtitle A powerful macro processor
@subtitle Edition @value{EDITION}, @value{UPDATED}
@author by Ren@'e Seindal

@page
@vskip 0pt plus 1filll
@insertcopying
@end titlepage

@contents

@ifnottex
@node Top
@top GNU M4
@insertcopying
@end ifnottex

@acronym{GNU} @code{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).  @code{m4} also has builtin functions for including
files, running shell commands, doing arithmetic, etc.  Autoconf needs
@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} for generating @file{configure} scripts, but not for
running them.

@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} was originally written by Ren@'e Seindal, with
subsequent changes by Fran@,{c}ois Pinard and other volunteers
on the Internet.  All names and email addresses can be found in the
files @file{AUTHORS} and @file{THANKS} from the @acronym{GNU} M4 distribution.

This is release @value{VERSION}.  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@dots{}

An experimental feature, which would improve @code{m4} usefulness,
allows for changing the syntax for what is a @dfn{word} in @code{m4}.
You should use:
@comment ignore
@example
./configure --enable-changeword
@end example
@noindent
if you want this feature compiled in.  The current implementation
slows down @code{m4} considerably and is hardly acceptable.  In the
future, @code{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 @emph{you should not count on it}.

@menu
* 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
* Frozen files::                Fast loading of frozen state

* 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

@detailmenu
 --- The Detailed Node Listing ---

Introduction and preliminaries

* Intro::                       Introduction to @code{m4}
* History::                     Historical references
* Invoking m4::                 Invoking @code{m4}
* Bugs::                        Problems and bugs
* Manual::                      Using this manual

Lexical and syntactic conventions

* Names::                       Macro names
* Quoted strings::              Quoting input to m4
* Comments::                    Comments in m4 input
* 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
* Cleardiv::                    Discarding diverted text

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

Fast loading of frozen state

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

Compatibility with other versions of @code{m4}

* Extensions::                  Extensions in @acronym{GNU} M4
* Incompatibilities::           Facilities in System V m4 not in GNU M4
* Other Incompatibilities::     Other incompatibilities

Copying This Manual

* GNU Free Documentation License::  License for copying this manual

Indices

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

@end detailmenu
@end menu

@node Preliminaries
@chapter Introduction and preliminaries

This first chapter explains what @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} is, where @code{m4}
comes from, how to read and use this documentation, how to call the
@code{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 @code{m4}
language.

@menu
* Intro::                       Introduction to @code{m4}
* History::                     Historical references
* Invoking m4::                 Invoking @code{m4}
* Bugs::                        Problems and bugs
* Manual::                      Using this manual
@end menu

@node Intro
@section Introduction to @code{m4}

@code{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, @code{m4} has builtin functions
for including named files, running shell commands, doing integer
arithmetic, manipulating text in various ways, performing recursion,
etc.@dots{}  @code{m4} can be used either as a front-end to a compiler,
or as a macro processor in its own right.

The @code{m4} macro processor is widely available on all UNIXes, and has
been standardized by @acronym{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 @acronym{GNU} Autoconf, which requires @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} for @emph{generating} @file{configure} scripts, is an incentive
for many to install it, while these people will not themselves
program in @code{m4}.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} is mostly compatible with the
System V, Release 3 version, except for some minor differences.
@xref{Compatibility}, for more details.

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

@node History
@section Historical references

@code{GPM} was an important ancestor of @code{m4}.  See
C. Stratchey: ``A General Purpose Macro generator'', Computer Journal
8,3 (1965), pp. 225 ff.  @code{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
@code{m3}, a macro processor for the AP-3 minicomputer.

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

While @code{GPM} was more @emph{pure}, @code{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
@code{m3}, formed the engine for the Rational FORTRAN preprocessor,
that is, the @code{Ratfor} equivalent of @code{cpp}.  Later, @code{m4}
was used as a frontend for @code{Ratfor}, @code{C} and @code{Cobol}.

Ren@'e Seindal released his implementation of @code{m4}, @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4},
in 1990, with the aim of removing the artificial limitations in many
of the traditional @code{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 @code{M5}: ``User's Guide to the M5 Macro
Language: 2nd edition'', Electronic Announcement on comp.compilers
newsgroup (1992).

Fran@,{c}ois Pinard took over maintenance of @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} in
1992, until 1994 when he released @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} 1.4, which was
the stable release for 10 years.  It was at this time that @acronym{GNU}
Autoconf decided to require @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} as its underlying
engine, since all other implementations of @code{m4} had too many
limitations.

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 @acronym{GNU} @code{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 @code{m4}, such
as dynamic module loading and additional builtins.  When complete,
@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} 2.0 will start a new series of releases.

@node Invoking m4
@section Invoking @code{m4}

The format of the @code{m4} command is:

@comment ignore
@example
@code{m4} @r{[}@var{option}@dots{}@r{]} @r{[}@var{file}@dots{}@r{]}
@end example

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

Several options control the overall operation of @code{m4}:

@table @code
@item --help
Print a help summary on standard output, then immediately exit
@code{m4} without reading any input files.

@item --version
Print the version number of the program on standard output, then
immediately exit @code{m4} without reading any input files.

@item -E
@itemx --fatal-warnings
Stop execution and exit @code{m4} once the first warning has been
issued, considering all of them to be fatal.

@item -e
@itemx --interactive
Makes this invocation of @code{m4} interactive.  This means that all
output will be unbuffered, and interrupts will be ignored.

@item -P
@itemx --prefix-builtins
Internally modify @emph{all} builtin macro names so they all start with
the prefix @samp{m4_}.  For example, using this option, one should write
@samp{m4_define} instead of @samp{define}, and @samp{m4___file__}
instead of @samp{__file__}.  This option has no effect if @option{-R}
is also specified.

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

@item -W @var{REGEXP}
@itemx --word-regexp=@var{REGEXP}
Use @var{REGEXP} as an alternative syntax for macro names.  This
experimental option will not be present on all @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}
implementations (@pxref{Changeword}).
@end table

@cindex macro definitions, on the command line
@cindex command line, macro definitions on the
Several options allow @code{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:

@table @code
@item -D @var{NAME}@r{[}=@var{VALUE}@r{]}
@itemx --define=@var{NAME}@r{[}=@var{VALUE}@r{]}
This enters @var{NAME} into the symbol table, before any input files are
read.  If @samp{=@var{VALUE}} is missing, the value is taken to be the
empty string.  The @var{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 @var{NAME} loses the previous value.

@item -I @var{DIRECTORY}
@itemx --include=@var{DIRECTORY}
Make @code{m4} search @var{DIRECTORY} for included files that are not
found in the current working directory.  @xref{Search Path}, for more
details.  This option may be given more than once.

@item -s
@itemx --synclines
Generate synchronization lines, for use by the C preprocessor or other
similar tools.  This is useful, for example, when @code{m4} is used as a
front end to a compiler.  Source file name and line number information
is conveyed by directives of the form @samp{#line @var{linenum}
"@var{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 @var{file} at line
@var{linenum}.  The @samp{"@var{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.

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

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

@table @code
@item -G
@itemx --traditional
Suppress all the extensions made in this implementation, compared to the
System V version.  @xref{Compatibility}, for a list of these.

@item -H @var{NUM}
@itemx --hashsize=@var{NUM}
Make the internal hash table for symbol lookup be @var{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.

@item -L @var{NUM}
@itemx --nesting-limit=@var{NUM}
Artificially limit the nesting of macro calls to @var{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 @code{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 @emph{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 @code{m4} with useful
results.  Putting limitations in this area would break @code{m4} power.
There are many pathological cases: @w{@samp{define(`a', `a')a}} is
only the simplest example (but @pxref{Compatibility}).  Expecting @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} to detect these would be a little like expecting a compiler
system to detect and diagnose endless loops: it is a quite @emph{hard}
problem in general, if not undecidable!

@item -B @var{NUM}
@itemx -S @var{NUM}
@itemx -T @var{NUM}
These options are present for compatibility with System V @code{m4}, but
do nothing in this implementation.

@item -N @var{NUM}
@itemx --diversions=@var{NUM}
These options are present only for compatibility with previous
versions of @acronym{GNU} @code{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.
@end table

@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} comes with a feature of freezing internal state
(@pxref{Frozen files}).  This can be used to speed up @code{m4}
execution when reusing a common initialization script.

@table @code
@item -F @var{FILE}
@itemx --freeze-state=@var{FILE}
Once execution is finished, write out the frozen state on the specified
@var{FILE}.  It is conventional, but not required, for @var{FILE} to end
in @samp{.m4f}.

@item -R @var{FILE}
@itemx --reload-state=@var{FILE}
Before execution starts, recover the internal state from the specified
frozen @var{FILE}.  The options @option{-D}, @option{-U}, and
@option{-t} take effect after state is reloaded, but before the input
files are read.
@end table

Finally, there are several options for aiding in debugging @code{m4}
scripts.

@table @code
@item -d@r{[}@var{FLAGS}@r{]}
@itemx --debug@r{[}=@var{FLAGS}@r{]}
Set the debug-level according to the flags @var{FLAGS}.  The debug-level
controls the format and amount of information presented by the debugging
functions.  @xref{Debug Levels}, for more details on the format and
meaning of @var{FLAGS}.  If omitted, @var{FLAGS} defaults to @samp{aeq}.

@item -l @var{NUM}
@itemx --arglength=@var{NUM}
Restrict the size of the output generated by macro tracing to @var{NUM}
characters per trace line.  If unspecified or zero, output is
unlimited.  @xref{Debug Levels}, for more details.

@item -o @var{FILE}
@itemx --error-output=@var{FILE}
Redirect @code{dumpdef} output, debug messages, and trace output to the
named @var{FILE}.  Warnings, error messages, and @code{errprint} output
are still printed to standard error.  If unspecified, debug output goes
to standard error; if empty, debug output is discarded.  @xref{Debug
Output}, for more details.

@item -t @var{NAME}
@itemx --trace=@var{NAME}
This enables tracing for the macro @var{NAME}, at any point where it is
defined.  @var{NAME} need not be defined when this option is given.
This option may be given more than once.  @xref{Trace}, for more details.
@end table

@cindex command line, file names on the
@cindex file names, on the command line
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 @file{-} is taken to mean the standard input.  It is
conventional, but not required, for input files to end in @samp{.m4}.

The input files are read in the sequence given.  The standard input can
only be read once, so the file name @file{-} 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 @code{m4exit} (@pxref{M4exit}), the
exit status of @code{m4} will be 0 for success, 1 for general failure
(such as problems with reading an input file), and 63 for version
mismatch (@pxref{Using frozen files}).

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

@node Bugs
@section Problems and bugs

If you have problems with @acronym{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 @code{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)
@email{bug-m4@@gnu.org}.  Please include the version number of @code{m4}
you are using.  You can get this information with the command @samp{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.

@node Manual
@section Using this manual

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

@comment ignore
@example
This is an example of an example!
@end example

To distinguish input from output, all output from @code{m4} is prefixed
by the string @samp{@result{}}, and all error messages by the string
@samp{@error{}}.  Thus

@comment ignore
@example
Example of input line
@result{}Output line from m4
@error{}and an error message
@end example

The sequence @samp{^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 @kbd{m4 -d}.  In fact, the testsuite
that is bundled in the @acronym{GNU} M4 package consists of the examples
in this document!

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

@deffn Composite example (@var{string}, @dvar{count, 1}, @
  @ovar{argument}@dots{})
This is a sample prototype.  There is not really a macro named
@code{example}, but this documents that if there were, it would be a
Composite macro, rather than a Builtin.  It requires at least one
argument, @var{string}.  Remember that in @code{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
@var{count} and @var{argument} show that these arguments are optional.
If @var{count} is omitted, the macro behaves as if count were @samp{1},
whereas if @var{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, @samp{example(`a')}, @samp{example(`a',`1')},
and @samp{example(`a',`1',)} would behave identically with @var{count}
set to @samp{1}; while @samp{example(`a',)} and @samp{example(`a',`')}
would explicitly pass the empty string for @var{count}.  The ellipses
(@samp{@dots{}}) show that the macro processes additional arguments
after @var{argument}, rather than ignoring them.
@end deffn

All macro arguments in @code{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 @dfn{builtin}, without a
hyphen, as if it were an English word.  This is how the @code{builtin}
primitive is spelled within @code{m4}.

@node Syntax
@chapter Lexical and syntactic conventions

@cindex input tokens
@cindex tokens
As @code{m4} reads its input, it separates it into @dfn{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 @code{m4} can also
contain comments.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} does not yet understand
locales; all operations are byte-oriented rather than
character-oriented.  However, @code{m4} is eight-bit clean, so you can
use non-@sc{ascii} characters in quoted strings (@pxref{Changequote}),
comments (@pxref{Changecom}), and macro names (@pxref{Indir}), with the
exception of the @sc{nul} character (the zero byte @samp{'\0'}).

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

@node Names
@section Names

@cindex names
A name is any sequence of letters, digits, and the character @kbd{_}
(underscore), where the first character is not a digit.  @code{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
(@pxref{Macros}).  Names are case-sensitive.

Examples of legal names are: @samp{foo}, @samp{_tmp}, and @samp{name01}.

@node Quoted strings
@section Quoted strings

@cindex quoted string
A quoted string is a sequence of characters surrounded by quote
strings, defaulting to
@kbd{`} and @kbd{'}, 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

@comment ignore
@example
`'
@result{}
@end example

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

@comment ignore
@example
``quoted''
@result{}`quoted'
@end example

The quote characters can be changed at any time, using the builtin macro
@code{changequote}.  @xref{Changequote}, for more information.

@node Comments
@section Comments

@cindex comments
Comments in @code{m4} are normally delimited by the characters @samp{#}
and newline.  All characters between the comment delimiters are ignored,
but the entire comment (including the delimiters) is passed through to
the output---comments are @emph{not} discarded by @code{m4}.

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

@example
`quoted text' # `commented text'
@result{}quoted text # `commented text'
`quoting inhibits' `#' `comments'
@result{}quoting inhibits # comments
@end example

The comment delimiters can be changed to any string at any time, using
the builtin macro @code{changecom}.  @xref{Changecom}, for more
information.

@node Other tokens
@section 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 (@samp{(} and
@samp{)}), comma (@samp{,}), and dollar (@samp{$}) have additional
roles, explained later.

@node Input processing
@section Input Processing

As @code{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 @code{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.

@code{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 @code{m4} handles this
input:

@comment ignore
@example
format(`Result is %d', eval(`2**15'))
@end example

@noindent
First, @code{m4} sees that the token @samp{format} is a macro name, so
it collects the tokens @samp{(}, @samp{`Result is %d'}, @samp{,},
and @samp{@w{ }}, before encountering another potential macro.  Sure
enough, @samp{eval} is a macro name, so the nested argument collection
picks up @samp{(}, @samp{`2**15'}, and @samp{)}, invoking the eval macro
with the lone argument of @samp{2**15}.  The expansion of
@samp{eval(2**15)} is @samp{32768}, which is then rescanned as the five
tokens @samp{3}, @samp{2}, @samp{7}, @samp{6}, and @samp{8}; and
combined with the next @samp{)}, the format macro now has all its
arguments, as if the user had typed:

@comment ignore
@example
format(`Result is %d', 32768)
@end example

@noindent
The format macro expands to @samp{Result is 32768}, and we have another
round of scanning for the tokens @samp{Result}, @samp{@w{ }},
@samp{is}, @samp{@w{ }}, @samp{3}, @samp{2}, @samp{7}, @samp{6}, and
@samp{8}.  None of these are macros, so the final output is

@comment ignore
@example
@result{}Result is 32768
@end example

The order in which @code{m4} expands the macros can be explored using
the @ref{Trace} facilities of @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}.

This process continues until there are no more macro calls to expand and
all the input has been consumed.

@node Macros
@chapter 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
@end menu

@node Invocation
@section Macro invocation

@cindex macro invocation
Macro invocations has one of the forms

@comment ignore
@example
name
@end example

@noindent
which is a macro invocation without any arguments, or

@comment ignore
@example
name(arg1, arg2, @dots{}, arg@var{n})
@end example

@noindent
which is a macro invocation with @var{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 @emph{must} follow the @var{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 @emph{must} be
left out.  The macro call

@comment ignore
@example
name()
@end example

@noindent
is a macro call with one argument, which is the empty string, not a call
with no arguments.

@node Inhibiting Invocation
@section Preventing macro invocation

An innovation of the @code{m4} language, compared to some of its
predecessors (like Stratchey's @code{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, @acronym{GNU}
@code{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
@samp{include} or @samp{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 (@option{--prefix-builtins}, or
@option{-P}, @pxref{Invoking m4}) which requires all builtin macro names
to be prefixed
by @samp{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 @code{m4_dnl} and even @code{m4_m4exit}.

Another alternative is to redefine problematic macros to a name less
likely to cause conflicts, @xref{Definitions}.

If your version of @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} has the @code{changeword} feature
compiled in, it offers far more flexibility in specifying the
syntax of macro names, both builtin or user-defined.  @xref{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 @emph{inside} the name.
For example:

@comment ignore
@example
`divert'
@result{}divert
`d'ivert
@result{}divert
di`ver't
@result{}divert
div`'ert
@result{}divert
@end example

@noindent
all yield the string @samp{divert}.  While in both:

@comment ignore
@example
`'divert
@result{}
divert`'
@result{}
@end example

@noindent
the @code{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 @samp{de}, exactly as if @code{m4}
has been given @w{@samp{substr(`abcde', `3', `2')}} as input:

@example
define(`x', `substr(ab')
@result{}
define(`y', `cde, `3', `2')')
@result{}
x`'y
@result{}de
@end example

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 @code{macro} to be recognized as such:

@example
define(`macro', `m')
@result{}
macro(`m')macro
@result{}mmacro
macro(`m')`'macro
@result{}mm
@end example

Quoting may prevent recognizing as a macro name the concatenation of a
macro expansion with the surrounding characters.  In this example:

@example
define(`macro', `di$1')
@result{}
macro(`v')`ert'
@result{}divert
macro(`v')ert
@result{}
@end example

@noindent
the input will produce the string @samp{divert}.  When the quotes were
removed, the @code{divert} builtin was called instead.

@node Macro Arguments
@section Macro arguments

@cindex macros, arguments to
@cindex arguments to macros
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 @code{m4} will issue warnings if a builtin macro is called
with an inappropriate number of arguments, but it can be suppressed with
the @option{-Q} command line option (@pxref{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
@var{foo} expands to @samp{, b, c}, the macro call

@comment ignore
@example
bar(a foo, d)
@end example

@noindent
is a macro call with four arguments, which are @samp{a }, @samp{b},
@samp{c} and @samp{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 @samp{(} was seen.

@example
define(`f', `1')
@result{}
f(define(`f', `2'))
@result{}1
f
@result{}2
@end example

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

@example
define(
^D
@error{}m4:stdin:1: ERROR: end of file in argument list
@end example

@node Quoting Arguments
@section Quoting macro arguments

@cindex quoted macro arguments
@cindex macros, quoted arguments to
@cindex arguments, quoted macro
Each argument has leading unquoted whitespace removed.  Within each
argument, all unquoted parentheses must match.  For example, if
@var{foo} is a macro,

@comment ignore
@example
foo(() (`(') `(')
@end example

@noindent
is a macro call, with one argument, whose value is @samp{() (() (}.
Commas separate arguments, except when they occur inside quotes,
comments, or unquoted parentheses, @xref{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:

@comment ignore
@example
foo(`() (() (')
@end example

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.

@node Macro expansion
@section Macro expansion

@cindex macros, expansion of
@cindex expansion of macros
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 @var{foo} expands to @samp{bar}, and
@var{bar} expands to @samp{Hello world}, the input

@comment ignore
@example
foo
@end example

@noindent
will expand first to @samp{bar}, and when this is reread and
expanded, into @samp{Hello world}.

@node Definitions
@chapter How to define new macros

@cindex macros, how to define new
@cindex defining 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.

@menu
* 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
@end menu

@node Define
@section Defining a macro

The normal way to define or redefine macros is to use the builtin
@code{define}:

@deffn Builtin define (@var{name}, @ovar{expansion})
Defines @var{name} to expand to @var{expansion}.  If
@var{expansion} is not given, it is taken to be empty.

The expansion of @code{define} is void.
The macro @code{define} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

The following example defines the macro @var{foo} to expand to the text
@samp{Hello World.}.

@example
define(`foo', `Hello world.')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Hello world.
@end example

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 @code{dnl}.
@xref{Dnl}, for details.

The first argument to @code{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 @code{one}:

@example
define(foo, one)
@result{}
define(foo, two)
@result{}
one
@result{}two
@end example

As a @acronym{GNU} extension, the first argument to @code{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 @ref{Indir}
and @ref{Defn}.

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

@example
define(`array', `defn(format(``array[%d]'', `$1'))')
@result{}
define(`array_set', `define(format(``array[%d]'', `$1'), `$2')')
@result{}
array_set(`4', `array element no. 4')
@result{}
array_set(`17', `array element no. 17')
@result{}
array(`4')
@result{}array element no. 4
array(eval(`10 + 7'))
@result{}array element no. 17
@end example

Change the @code{%d} to @code{%s} and it is an associative array.

@node Arguments
@section Arguments to macros

@cindex macros, arguments to
@cindex Arguments to macros
Macros can have arguments.  The @var{n}th argument is denoted by
@code{$n} in the expansion text, and is replaced by the @var{n}th 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.

@example
define(`exch', `$2, $1')
@result{}
exch(`arg1', `arg2')
@result{}arg2, arg1
@end example

This can be used, for example, if you like the arguments to
@code{define} to be reversed.

@example
define(`exch', `$2, $1')
@result{}
define(exch(``expansion text'', ``macro''))
@result{}
macro
@result{}expansion text
@end example

@xref{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.  @pxref{Answers})

@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} allows the number following the @samp{$} to
consist of one
or more digits, allowing macros to have any number of arguments.  This
is not so in UNIX implementations of @code{m4}, which only recognize
one digit.

As a special case, the zeroth argument, @code{$0}, is always the name
of the macro being expanded.

@example
define(`test', ``Macro name: $0'')
@result{}
test
@result{}Macro name: test
@end example

If you want quoted text to appear as part of the expansion text,
remember that quotes can be nested in quoted strings.  Thus, in

@example
define(`foo', `This is macro `foo'.')
@result{}
foo
@result{}This is macro foo.
@end example

@noindent
The @samp{foo} in the expansion text is @emph{not} expanded, since it is
a quoted string, and not a name.

@node Pseudo Arguments
@section Special arguments to macros

@cindex special arguments to macros
@cindex macros, special arguments to
@cindex arguments to macros, special
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 @code{$#}
in the expansion text.  Thus, a macro to display the number of arguments
given can be

@example
define(`nargs', `$#')
@result{}
nargs
@result{}0
nargs()
@result{}1
nargs(`arg1', `arg2', `arg3')
@result{}3
nargs(`commas can be quoted, like this')
@result{}1
nargs(arg1#inside comments, commas do not separate arguments
still arg1)
@result{}1
nargs((unquoted parentheses, like this, group arguments))
@result{}1
@end example

The notation @code{$*} can be used in the expansion text to denote all
the actual arguments, unquoted, with commas in between.  For example

@example
define(`echo', `$*')
@result{}
echo(arg1,    arg2, arg3 , arg4)
@result{}arg1,arg2,arg3 ,arg4
@end example

Often each argument should be quoted, and the notation @code{$@@} handles
that.  It is just like @code{$*}, except that it quotes each argument.
A simple example of that is:

@example
define(`echo', `$@@')
@result{}
echo(arg1,    arg2, arg3 , arg4)
@result{}arg1,arg2,arg3 ,arg4
@end example

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

@example
define(`echo1', `$*')
@result{}
define(`echo2', `$@@')
@result{}
define(`foo', `This is macro `foo'.')
@result{}
echo1(foo)
@result{}This is macro This is macro foo..
echo1(`foo')
@result{}This is macro foo.
echo2(foo)
@result{}This is macro foo.
echo2(`foo')
@result{}foo
@end example

@noindent
@xref{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.

@example
define(`echo1', `$*')
@result{}
define(`echo2', `$@')
@result{}
define(`foo', `bar')
@result{}
echo1(#foo'foo
foo)
@result{}#foo'foo
@result{}bar
echo2(#foo'foo
foo)
@result{}#foobar
@result{}bar'
@end example

A @samp{$} sign in the expansion text, that is not followed by anything
@code{m4} understands, is simply copied to the macro expansion, as any
other text is.

@example
define(`foo', `$$$ hello $$$')
@result{}
foo
@result{}$$$ hello $$$
@end example

If you want a macro to expand to something like @samp{$12}, put a pair
of quotes after the @code{$}.  This will prevent @code{m4} from
interpreting the @code{$} sign as a reference to an argument.

@node Undefine
@section Deleting a macro

@cindex macros, how to delete
@cindex deleting macros
@cindex undefining macros
A macro definition can be removed with @code{undefine}:

@deffn Builtin undefine (@var{name}@dots{})
For each argument, remove the macro @var{name}.  The macro names must
necessarily be quoted, since they will be expanded otherwise.

The expansion of @code{undefine} is void.
The macro @code{undefine} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
foo bar blah
@result{}foo bar blah
define(`foo', `some')define(`bar', `other')define(`blah', `text')
@result{}
foo bar blah
@result{}some other text
undefine(`foo')
@result{}
foo bar blah
@result{}foo other text
undefine(`bar', `blah')
@result{}
foo bar blah
@result{}foo bar blah
@end example

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

@example
define(`f', ``$0':$1')
@result{}
f(f(f(undefine(`f')`hello world')))
@result{}f:f:f:hello world
f(`bye')
@result{}f(bye)
@end example

It is not an error for @var{name} to have no macro definition.  In that
case, @code{undefine} does nothing.

@node Defn
@section Renaming macros

@cindex macros, how to rename
@cindex renaming macros
It is possible to rename an already defined macro.  To do this, you need
the builtin @code{defn}:

@deffn Builtin defn (@var{name})
Expands to the @emph{quoted definition} of @var{name}.  If the
argument is not a defined macro, the expansion is void.

If @var{name} is a user-defined macro, the quoted definition is simply
the quoted expansion text.  If, instead, @var{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
@code{define} (and @code{pushdef}), and is ignored in any other context.

The macro @code{defn} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

Its normal use is best understood through an example, which shows how to
rename @code{undefine} to @code{zap}:

@example
define(`zap', defn(`undefine'))
@result{}
zap(`undefine')
@result{}
undefine(`zap')
@result{}undefine(zap)
@end example

In this way, @code{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 @code{$0}, rather than retyping a macro's name in its
definition:

@example
define(`foo', `This is `$0'')
@result{}
define(`bar', defn(`foo'))
@result{}
bar
@result{}This is bar
@end example

Macros used as string variables should be referred through @code{defn},
to avoid unwanted expansion of the text:

@example
define(`string', `The macro dnl is very useful
')
@result{}
string
@result{}The macro @comment
defn(`string')
@result{}The macro dnl is very useful
@result{}
@end example

However, it is important to remember that @code{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.

@example
define(`foo', a'a)
@result{}
define(`a', `A')
@result{}
define(`echo', `$@')
@result{}
foo
@result{}A'A
defn(`foo')
@result{}aA'
echo(foo)
@result{}AA'
@end example

@node Pushdef
@section Temporarily redefining macros

@cindex macros, temporary redefinition of
@cindex temporary redefinition of macros
@cindex redefinition of macros, temporary
It is possible to redefine a macro temporarily, reverting to the
previous definition at a later time.  This is done with the builtins
@code{pushdef} and @code{popdef}:

@deffn Builtin pushdef (@var{name}, @ovar{expansion})
@deffnx Builtin popdef (@var{name}@dots{})
Analogous to @code{define} and @code{undefine}.

These macros work in a stack-like fashion.  A macro is temporarily
redefined with @code{pushdef}, which replaces an existing definition of
@var{name}, while saving the previous definition, before the new one is
installed.  If there is no previous definition, @code{pushdef} behaves
exactly like @code{define}.

If a macro has several definitions (of which only one is accessible),
the topmost definition can be removed with @code{popdef}.  If there is
no previous definition, @code{popdef} behaves like @code{undefine}.

The expansion of both @code{pushdef} and @code{popdef} is void.
The macros @code{pushdef} and @code{popdef} are recognized only with
parameters.
@end deffn

@example
define(`foo', `Expansion one.')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Expansion one.
pushdef(`foo', `Expansion two.')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Expansion two.
pushdef(`foo', `Expansion three.')
@result{}
pushdef(`foo', `Expansion four.')
@result{}
popdef(`foo')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Expansion three.
popdef(`foo', `foo')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Expansion one.
popdef(`foo')
@result{}
foo
@result{}foo
@end example

If a macro with several definitions is redefined with @code{define}, the
topmost definition is @emph{replaced} with the new definition.  If it is
removed with @code{undefine}, @emph{all} the definitions are removed,
and not only the topmost one.

@example
define(`foo', `Expansion one.')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Expansion one.
pushdef(`foo', `Expansion two.')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Expansion two.
define(`foo', `Second expansion two.')
@result{}
foo
@result{}Second expansion two.
undefine(`foo')
@result{}
foo
@result{}foo
@end example

@cindex local variables
@cindex variables, local
Local variables within macros are made with @code{pushdef} and
@code{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 @code{pushdef}
and @code{defn}.

@node Indir
@section Indirect call of macros

@cindex indirect call of macros
@cindex call of macros, indirect
@cindex macros, indirect call of
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
Any macro can be called indirectly with @code{indir}:

@deffn Builtin indir (@var{name}, @dots{})
Results in a call to the macro @var{name}, which is passed the
rest of the arguments.  If @var{name} is not defined, an error message
is printed, and the expansion is void.

The macro @code{indir} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

This can be used to call macros with ``invalid''
names (@code{define} allows such names to be defined):

@example
define(`$$internal$macro', `Internal macro (name `$0')')
@result{}
$$internal$macro
@result{}$$internal$macro
indir(`$$internal$macro')
@result{}Internal macro (name $$internal$macro)
@end example

The point is, here, that larger macro packages can have private macros
defined, that will not be called by accident.  They can @emph{only} be
called through the builtin @code{indir}.

@node Builtin
@section Indirect call of builtins

@cindex indirect call of builtins
@cindex call of builtins, indirect
@cindex builtins, indirect call of
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
Builtin macros can be called indirectly with @code{builtin}:

@deffn Builtin builtin (@var{name}, @dots{})
Results in a call to the builtin @var{name}, which is passed the
rest of the arguments.  If @var{name} does not name a builtin, an error
message is printed, and the expansion is void.

The macro @code{builtin} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

This can be used even if @var{name} has been given another definition
that has covered the original, or been undefined so that no macro
maps to the builtin.

@example
pushdef(`define', `hidden')
@result{}
undefine(`undefine')
@result{}
define(`foo', `bar')
@result{}hidden
foo
@result{}foo
builtin(`define', `foo', `BAR')
@result{}
foo
@result{}BAR
undefine(`foo')
@result{}undefine(foo)
foo
@result{}BAR
builtin(`undefine', `foo')
@result{}
foo
@result{}foo
@end example

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.

@example
builtin
@result{}builtin
builtin()
@error{}m4:stdin:2: undefined builtin `'
@result{}
builtin(`builtin')
@error{}m4:stdin:3: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `builtin'
@result{}
builtin(`builtin',)
@error{}m4:stdin:4: undefined builtin `'
@result{}
@end example

@node Conditionals
@chapter 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
@end menu

@node Ifdef
@section Testing macro definitions

@cindex conditionals
There are two different builtin conditionals in @code{m4}.  The first is
@code{ifdef}:

@deffn Builtin ifdef (@var{name}, @var{string-1}, @ovar{string-2})
If @var{name} is defined as a macro, @code{ifdef} expands to
@var{string-1}, otherwise to @var{string-2}.  If @var{string-2} is
omitted, it is taken to be the empty string (according to the normal
rules).

The macro @code{ifdef} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
ifdef(`foo', ``foo' is defined', ``foo' is not defined')
@result{}foo is not defined
define(`foo', `')
@result{}
ifdef(`foo', ``foo' is defined', ``foo' is not defined')
@result{}foo is defined
ifdef(`no_such_macro', `yes', `no', `extra argument')
@error{}m4:stdin:4: Warning: excess arguments to builtin `ifdef' ignored
@result{}no
@end example

@node Ifelse
@section Comparing strings

@cindex comparing strings
The other conditional, @code{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:

@deffn Builtin ifelse (@var{comment})
@deffnx Builtin ifelse (@var{string-1}, @var{string-2}, @var{equal}, @
  @ovar{not-equal})
@deffnx Builtin ifelse (@var{string-1}, @var{string-2}, @var{equal-1}, @
  @var{string-3}, @var{string-4}, @var{equal-2}, @dots{})
Used with only one argument, the @code{ifelse} simply discards it and
produces no output.

If called with three or four arguments, @code{ifelse} expands into
@var{equal}, if @var{string-1} and @var{string-2} are equal (character
for character), otherwise it expands to @var{not-equal}.

If called with six or more arguments, and @var{string-1} and
@var{string-2} are equal, @code{ifelse} expands into @var{equal},
otherwise the first three arguments are discarded and the processing
starts again.

The macro @code{ifelse} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

Using only one argument is a common @code{m4} idiom for introducing a
block comment, as an alternative to repeatedly using @code{dnl}.  This
special usage is recognized by @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}, so that in this
case, the warning about missing arguments is never triggered.

@example
ifelse(`some comments')
@result{}
ifelse(`foo', `bar')
@error{}m4:stdin:2: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `ifelse'
@result{}
@end example

Using three or four arguments provides decision points.

@example
ifelse(`foo', `bar', `true')
@result{}
ifelse(`foo', `foo', `true')
@result{}true
define(`foo', `bar')
@result{}
ifelse(foo, `bar', `true', `false')
@result{}true
ifelse(foo, `foo', `true', `false')
@result{}false
@end example

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.

@example
define(`foo', `ifelse(`$#', `0', ``$0'', `arguments:$#')')
@result{}
foo
@result{}foo
foo()
@result{}arguments:1
foo(`a', `b', `c')
@result{}arguments:3
@end example

@cindex multibranches
However, @code{ifelse} can take more than four arguments.  If given more
than four arguments, @code{ifelse} works like a @code{case} or @code{switch}
statement in traditional programming languages.  If @var{string-1} and
@var{string-2} are equal, @code{ifelse} expands into @var{equal-1}, otherwise
the procedure is repeated with the first three arguments discarded.  This
calls for an example:

@example
ifelse(`foo', `bar', `third', `gnu', `gnats', `sixth', `seventh')
@result{}seventh
@end example

Naturally, the normal case will be slightly more advanced than these
examples.  A common use of @code{ifelse} is in macros implementing loops
of various kinds.

@node Loops
@section Loops and recursion

@cindex recursive macros
@cindex macros, recursive
There is no direct support for loops in @code{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.

@cindex loops
Loops can be programmed using recursion and the conditionals described
previously.

There is a builtin macro, @code{shift}, which can, among other things,
be used for iterating through the actual arguments to a macro:

@deffn Builtin shift (@dots{})
Takes any number of arguments, and expands to all but the first
argument, separated by commas, with each argument quoted.

The macro @code{shift} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
shift
@result{}shift
shift(`bar')
@result{}
shift(`foo', `bar', `baz')
@result{}bar,baz
@end example

An example of the use of @code{shift} is this macro:

@deffn Composite reverse (@dots{})
Takes any number of arguments, and reverse their order.
@end deffn

It is implemented as:

@example
define(`reverse', `ifelse(`$#', `0', , `$#', `1', ``$1'',
                          `reverse(shift($@@)), `$1'')')
@result{}
reverse
@result{}
reverse(`foo')
@result{}foo
reverse(`foo', `bar', `gnats', `and gnus')
@result{}and gnus, gnats, bar, foo
@end example

While not a very interesting macro, it does show how simple loops can be
made with @code{shift}, @code{ifelse} and recursion.

@cindex for loops
@cindex loops, counting
@cindex counting loops
Here is an example of a loop macro that implements a simple for loop.

@deffn Composite forloop (@var{iterator}, @var{start}, @var{end}, @var{text})
Takes the name in @var{iterator}, which must be a valid macro name, and
successively assign it each integer value from @var{start} to @var{end},
inclusive.  For each assignment to @var{iterator}, append @var{text} to
the expansion of the @code{forloop}.  @var{text} may refer to
@var{iterator}.  Any definition of @var{iterator} prior to this
invocation is restored.
@end deffn

It can, for example, be used for simple counting:

@example
include(`forloop.m4')
@result{}
forloop(`i', `1', `8', `i ')
@result{}1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 @comment
@end example

For-loops can be nested, like:

@example
include(`forloop.m4')
@result{}
forloop(`i', `1', `4', `forloop(`j', `1', `8', ` (i, j)')
')
@result{} (1, 1) (1, 2) (1, 3) (1, 4) (1, 5) (1, 6) (1, 7) (1, 8)
@result{} (2, 1) (2, 2) (2, 3) (2, 4) (2, 5) (2, 6) (2, 7) (2, 8)
@result{} (3, 1) (3, 2) (3, 3) (3, 4) (3, 5) (3, 6) (3, 7) (3, 8)
@result{} (4, 1) (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) (4, 5) (4, 6) (4, 7) (4, 8)
@result{}
@end example

The implementation of the @code{forloop} macro is fairly
straightforward.  The @code{forloop} macro itself is simply a wrapper,
which saves the previous definition of the first argument, calls the
internal macro @code{_forloop}, and re-establishes the saved definition of
the first argument.

The macro @code{_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 @code{incr},
@pxref{Incr}), and recurses.

Here is the actual implementation of @code{forloop}, distributed as
@file{examples/@/forloop.m4} in this package:

@example
undivert(`forloop.m4')
@result{}divert(`-1')
@result{}# forloop(var, from, to, stmt)
@result{}define(`forloop',
@result{}  `pushdef(`$1', `$2')_forloop(`$1', `$2', `$3', `$4')popdef(`$1')')
@result{}define(`_forloop',
@result{}  `$4`'ifelse($1, `$3', ,
@result{}    `define(`$1', incr($1))_forloop(`$1', `$2', `$3', `$4')')')
@result{}divert`'dnl
@result{}
@end example

Notice the careful use of quotes.  Only three macro arguments are
unquoted, each for its own reason.  Try to find out @emph{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.

@node Debugging
@chapter How to debug macros and input

When writing macros for @code{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 @code{m4}.

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

@node Dumpdef
@section Displaying macro definitions

@cindex displaying macro definitions
@cindex macros, displaying definitions
@cindex definitions, displaying macro
If you want to see what a name expands into, you can use the builtin
@code{dumpdef}:

@deffn Builtin dumpdef (@dots{})
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 @code{dumpdef} is void.
@end deffn

@example
define(`foo', `Hello world.')
@result{}
dumpdef(`foo')
@error{}foo:@tabchar{}`Hello world.'
@result{}
dumpdef(`define')
@error{}define:@tabchar{}<define>
@result{}
@end example

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.

@example
pushdef(`f', ``$0'1')pushdef(`f', ``$0'2')
@result{}
f(popdef(`f')dumpdef(`f'))
@error{}f:@tabchar{}``$0'1'
@result{}f2
f(popdef(`f')dumpdef(`f'))
@error{}m4:stdin:3: undefined macro `f'
@result{}f1
@end example

@xref{Debug Levels}, for information on controlling the details of the
display.

@node Trace
@section Tracing macro calls

@cindex tracing macro expansion
@cindex macro expansion, tracing
@cindex expansion, tracing macro
It is possible to trace macro calls and expansions through the builtins
@code{traceon} and @code{traceoff}:

@deffn Builtin traceon (@dots{})
@deffnx Builtin traceoff (@dots{})
When called without any arguments, @code{traceon} and @code{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 @code{traceon} and @code{traceoff} is void.
@end deffn

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).

@example
define(`foo', `Hello World.')
@result{}
define(`echo', `$@@')
@result{}
traceon(`foo', `echo')
@result{}
foo
@error{}m4trace: -1- foo -> `Hello World.'
@result{}Hello World.
echo(gnus, and gnats)
@error{}m4trace: -1- echo(`gnus', `and gnats') -> ``gnus',`and gnats''
@result{}gnus,and gnats
@end example

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 @option{--nesting-limit} (@pxref{Invoking m4}).

Tracing by name is an attribute that is preserved whether the macro is
defined or not.  This allows the @option{-t} option to select macros to
trace before those macros are defined.

@example
traceoff(`foo')
@result{}
traceon(`foo')
@result{}
foo
@result{}foo
define(`foo', `bar')
@result{}
foo
@error{}m4trace: -1- foo -> `bar'
@result{}bar
undefine(`foo')
@result{}
ifdef(`foo', `yes', `no')
@result{}no
indir(`foo')
@error{}m4:stdin:8: undefined macro `foo'
@result{}
define(`foo', `blah')
@result{}
foo
@error{}m4trace: -1- foo -> `blah'
@result{}blah
traceoff
@result{}
foo
@result{}blah
@end example

Tracing even works on builtins.  However, @command{defn} (@pxref{Defn})
does not transfer tracing status.

@example
traceon(`eval', `m4_divnum')
@result{}
define(`m4_eval', defn(`eval'))
@result{}
define(`m4_divnum', defn(`divnum'))
@result{}
eval(divnum)
@error{}m4trace: -1- eval(`0') -> `0'
@result{}0
m4_eval(m4_divnum)
@error{}m4trace: -2- m4_divnum -> `0'
@result{}0
@end example

@xref{Debug Levels}, for information on controlling the details of the
display.

@node Debug Levels
@section Controlling debugging output

@cindex controlling debugging output
@cindex debugging output, controlling
The @option{-d} option to @code{m4} (@pxref{Invoking m4}) controls the
amount of details presented, when using the macros described in the
preceding sections.

The @var{flags} following the option can be one or more of the
following:

@table @code
@item a
Show the actual arguments in each macro call.  This applies to all macro
calls if the @samp{t} flag is used, otherwise only the macros covered by
calls of @code{traceon}.

@item 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.

@item e
Show the expansion of each macro call, if it is not void.  This applies
to all macro calls if the @samp{t} flag is used, otherwise only the
macros covered by calls of @code{traceon}.

@item f
Show the name of the current input file in each trace output line.

@item i
Print a message each time the current input file is changed, giving file
name and input line number.

@item l
Show the current input line number in each trace output line.

@item p
Print a message when a named file is found through the path search
mechanism (@pxref{Search Path}), giving the actual file name used.

@item q
Quote actual arguments and macro expansions in the display with the
current quotes.

@item t
Trace all macro calls made in this invocation of @code{m4}.

@item x
Add a unique `macro call id' to each line of the trace output.  This is
useful in connection with the @samp{c} flag above.

@item V
A shorthand for all of the above flags.
@end table

If no flags are specified with the @option{-d} option, the default is
@samp{aeq}.  The examples throughout this manual assume the default
flags.

@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
There is a builtin macro @code{debugmode}, which allows on-the-fly control of
the debugging output format:

@deffn Builtin debugmode (@ovar{flags})
The argument @var{flags} should be a subset of the letters listed above.
As special cases, if the argument starts with a @samp{+}, the flags are
added to the current debug flags, and if it starts with a @samp{-}, they
are removed.  If no argument is present, all debugging flags are cleared
(as if no @option{-d} was given), and with an empty argument the flags
are reset to the default of @samp{aeq}.

The expansion of @code{debugmode} is void.
@end deffn

@example
define(`foo', `FOO')
@result{}
traceon(`foo')
@result{}
debugmode()
@result{}
foo
@error{}m4trace: -1- foo -> `FOO'
@result{}FOO
debugmode
@result{}
foo
@error{}m4trace: -1- foo
@result{}FOO
debugmode(`+l')
@result{}
foo
@error{}m4trace:8: -1- foo
@result{}FOO
@end example

@node Debug Output
@section Saving debugging output

@cindex saving debugging output
@cindex debugging output, saving
@cindex output, saving debugging
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
Debug and tracing output can be redirected to files using either the
@option{-o} option to @code{m4} (@pxref{Invoking m4}), or with the
builtin macro @code{debugfile}:

@deffn Builtin debugfile (@ovar{file})
Sends all further debug and trace output to @var{file}.  If
@var{file} is empty, debug and trace output are discarded.  If
@code{debugfile} is called without any arguments, debug and trace output
are sent to standard error.  This does not affect warnings, error
messages, or @code{errprint} output, which are
always sent to standard error.  If @var{file} cannot be opened, the
current debug file is unchanged.

The expansion of @code{debugfile} is void.
@end deffn

@example
traceon(`divnum')
@result{}
divnum(`extra')
@error{}m4:stdin:2: Warning: excess arguments to builtin `divnum' ignored
@error{}m4trace: -1- divnum(`extra') -> `0'
@result{}0
debugfile()
@result{}
divnum(`extra')
@error{}m4:stdin:4: Warning: excess arguments to builtin `divnum' ignored
@result{}0
debugfile
@result{}
divnum
@error{}m4trace: -1- divnum -> `0'
@result{}0
@end example

@node Input Control
@chapter Input control

This chapter describes various builtin macros for controlling the input
to @code{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
@end menu

@node Dnl
@section Deleting whitespace in input

@cindex deleting whitespace in input
The builtin @code{dnl} stands for ``Discard to Next Line'':

@deffn Builtin dnl
All characters, up to and including the next newline, are discarded
without performing any macro expansion.

The expansion of @code{dnl} is void.
@end deffn

It is often used in connection with @code{define}, to remove the
newline that follows the call to @code{define}.  Thus

@example
define(`foo', `Macro `foo'.')dnl A very simple macro, indeed.
foo
@result{}Macro foo.
@end example

The input up to and including the next newline is discarded, as opposed
to the way comments are treated (@pxref{Comments}).

Usually, @code{dnl} is immediately followed by an end of line or some
other whitespace.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} will produce a warning diagnostic if
@code{dnl} is followed by an open parenthesis.  In this case, @code{dnl}
will collect and process all arguments, looking for a matching close
parenthesis.  All predictable side effects resulting from this
collection will take place.  @code{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.

@example
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?
@result{}See how foo was defined, like this?
@end example

If the end of file is encountered without a newline character, a
warning is issued and dnl stops consuming input.

@example
define(`hi', `HI')
@result{}
m4wrap(`m4wrap(`2 hi
')0 hi dnl 1 hi')
@result{}
^D
@error{}m4: Warning: end of file treated as newline
@result{}0 HI 2 HI
@end example

@node Changequote
@section Changing the quote characters

@cindex changing the quote delimiters
@cindex quote delimiters, changing the
The default quote delimiters can be changed with the builtin
@code{changequote}:

@deffn Builtin changequote (@dvar{start, `}, @dvar{end, '})
This sets @var{start} as the new begin-quote delimiter and @var{end} as the
new end-quote delimiter.  If any of the arguments are missing, the default
quotes (@code{`} and @code{'}) are used instead of the void arguments.
@comment FIXME POSIX requires that with one argument, the closing quote
@comment be set to newline, not '.

The expansion of @code{changequote} is void.
@end deffn

@example
changequote(`[', `]')
@result{}
define([foo], [Macro [foo].])
@result{}
foo
@result{}Macro foo.
@end example

The quotation strings can safely contain eight-bit characters.
@ignore
Yuck.  I know of no clean way to render an 8-bit character in both info
and dvi.  This example uses the `open-guillemot' and `close-guillemot'
characters of the Latin-1 character set.

@example
define(`a', `b')
@result{}
a
@result{}b
changequote(`', `')
@result{}
a
@result{}a
@end example
@end ignore
If no single character is appropriate, @var{start} and @var{end} can be
of any length.

@example
changequote(`[[[', `]]]')
@result{}
define([[[foo]]], [[[Macro [[[[[foo]]]]].]]])
@result{}
foo
@result{}Macro [[foo]].
@end example

Changing the quotes to the empty strings will effectively disable the
quoting mechanism, leaving no way to quote text.

@example
define(`foo', `Macro `FOO'.')
@result{}
changequote(, )
@result{}
foo
@result{}Macro `FOO'.
`foo'
@result{}`Macro `FOO'.'
@end example

There is no way in @code{m4} to quote a string containing an unmatched
begin-quote, except using @code{changequote} to change the current
quotes.

If the quotes should be changed from, say, @samp{[} to @samp{[[},
temporary quote characters have to be defined.  To achieve this, two
calls of @code{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 @var{start} can be recognized as a potential macro name, the
quoting mechanism is effectively disabled.  Unless you use
@code{changeword} (@pxref{Changeword}), this means that @var{start}
should not begin with a letter or @samp{_} (underscore).

@example
define(`hi', `HI')
@result{}
changequote(`q', `Q')
@result{}
q hi Q hi
@result{}q HI Q HI
changequote
@result{}
changequote(`-', `EOF')
@result{}
- hi EOF hi
@result{} hi  HI
@end example

Quotes are recognized in preference to argument collection.  In
particular, if @var{start} is a single @samp{(}, then argument
collection is effectively disabled.  For portability with other
implementations, it is a good idea to avoid @samp{(}, @samp{,}, and
@samp{)} as the first character in @var{start}.

@example
define(`echo', `$#:$@:')
@result{}
define(`hi', `HI')
@result{}
changequote(`(',`)')
@result{}
echo(hi)
@result{}0::hi
changequote
@result{}
changequote(`((', `))')
@result{}
echo(hi)
@result{}1:HI:
echo((hi))
@result{}0::hi
changequote
@result{}
changequote(`,', `)')
@result{}
echo(hi,hi)bye)
@result{}1:HIhibye:
@end example

If @var{end} is a prefix of @var{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 @var{start} and
@var{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.

@example
define(`hi', `HI')
@result{}
changequote(`""', `"')
@result{}
""hi"""hi"
@result{}hihi
""hi" ""hi"
@result{}hi hi
""hi"" "hi"
@result{}hi" "HI"
changequote
@result{}
`hi`hi'hi'
@result{}hi`hi'hi
changequote(`"', `"')
@result{}
"hi"hi"hi"
@result{}hiHIhi
@end example

It is an error if the end of file occurs within a quoted string.

@example
`dangling quote
^D
@error{}m4:stdin:1: ERROR: end of file in string
@end example

@node Changecom
@section Changing comment delimiters

@cindex changing comment delimiters
@cindex comment delimiters, changing
The default comment delimiters can be changed with the builtin
macro @code{changecom}:

@deffn Builtin changecom (@ovar{start}, @ovar{end})
This sets @var{start} as the new begin-comment delimiter and @var{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 @code{changecom} is void.
@end deffn

@example
define(`comment', `COMMENT')
@result{}
# A normal comment
@result{}# A normal comment
changecom(`/*', `*/')
@result{}
# Not a comment anymore
@result{}# Not a COMMENT anymore
But: /* this is a comment now */ while this is not a comment
@result{}But: /* this is a comment now */ while this is not a COMMENT
@end example

@cindex comments, copied to output
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 @code{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 @samp{#}, you must explicitly
ask for it.

@example
define(`comment', `COMMENT')
@result{}
changecom
@result{}
# Not a comment anymore
@result{}# Not a COMMENT anymore
changecom(`#')
@result{}
# comment again
@result{}# comment again
@end example

The comment strings can safely contain eight-bit characters.
@ignore
Yuck.  I know of no clean way to render an 8-bit character in both info
and dvi.  This example uses the `open-guillemot' and `close-guillemot'
characters of the Latin-1 character set.

@example
define(`a', `b')
@result{}
a
@result{}b
changecom(`', `')
@result{}
a
@result{}a
@end example
@end ignore

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 @var{start} should not begin with a
letter or @samp{_} (underscore), and that neither the start-quote nor
the start-comment string should be a prefix of the other.

@example
define(`hi', `HI')
@result{}
changecom(`q', `Q')
@result{}
q hi Q hi
@result{}q hi Q HI
@end example

Comments are recognized in preference to argument collection.  In
particular, if @var{start} is a single @samp{(}, then argument
collection is effectively disabled.  For portability with other
implementations, it is a good idea to avoid @samp{(}, @samp{,}, and
@samp{)} as the first character in @var{start}.

@example
define(`echo', `$#:$@:')
@result{}
define(`hi', `HI')
@result{}
changecom(`(',`)')
@result{}
echo(hi)
@result{}0::(hi)
changecom
@result{}
changecom(`((', `))')
@result{}
echo(hi)
@result{}1:HI:
echo((hi))
@result{}0::((hi))
changecom(`,', `)')
@result{}
echo(hi,hi)bye)
@result{}1:HI,hi)bye:
@end example

It is an error if the end of file occurs within a comment.

@example
changecom(`/*', `*/')
@result{}
/*dangling comment
^D
@error{}m4:stdin:1: ERROR: end of file in comment
@end example

@node Changeword
@section Changing the lexical structure of words

@cindex lexical structure of words
@cindex words, lexical structure of
@quotation
The macro @code{changeword} and all associated functionality is
experimental.  It is only available if the @option{--enable-changeword}
option was given to @code{configure}, at @acronym{GNU} @code{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.  @emph{Do not rely on it}.  Please direct your comments
about it the same way you would do for bugs.
@end quotation

A file being processed by @code{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:

@comment ignore
@example
[_a-zA-Z][_a-zA-Z0-9]*
@end example

Using @code{changeword}, you can change this regular expression:

@deffn {Optional builtin} changeword (@var{regex})
Changes the regular expression for recognizing macro names to be
@var{regex}.  If @var{regex} is empty, use
@samp{[_a-zA-Z][_a-zA-Z0-9]*}.  @var{regex} must obey the constraint
that every prefix of the desired final pattern is also accepted by the
regular expression.  If @var{regex} contains grouping parentheses, the
macro invoked is the portion that matched the first group, rather than
the entire matching string.

The expansion of @code{changeword} is void.
The macro @code{changeword} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

Relaxing the lexical rules of @code{m4} might be useful (for example) if
you wanted to apply translations to a file of numbers:

@example
ifdef(`changeword', `', `errprint(` skipping: no changeword support
')m4exit(`77')')dnl
changeword(`[_a-zA-Z0-9]+')
@result{}
define(`1', `0')1
@result{}0
@end example

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:

@example
ifdef(`changeword', `', `errprint(` skipping: no changeword support
')m4exit(`77')')dnl
define(`_indir', defn(`indir'))
@result{}
changeword(`_[_a-zA-Z0-9]*')
@result{}
esyscmd(`foo')
@result{}esyscmd(foo)
_indir(`esyscmd', `echo hi')
@result{}hi
@result{}
@end example

Because @code{m4} constructs its words a character at a time, there
is a restriction on the regular expressions that may be passed to
@code{changeword}.  This is that if your regular expression accepts
@samp{foo}, it must also accept @samp{f} and @samp{fo}.

@code{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:

@example
ifdef(`changeword', `', `errprint(` skipping: no changeword support
')m4exit(`77')')dnl
changecom(`/*', `*/')dnl
define(`foo', `bar')dnl
changeword(`#\([_a-zA-Z0-9]*\)')
@result{}
#esyscmd(`echo foo \#foo')
@result{}foo bar
@result{}
@end example

@code{m4} now requires a @samp{#} mark at the beginning of every
macro invocation, so one can use @code{m4} to preprocess plain
text without losing various words like @samp{divert}.

In @code{m4}, macro substitution is based on text, while in @TeX{}, it
is based on tokens.  @code{changeword} can throw this difference into
relief.  For example, here is the same idea represented in @TeX{} and
@code{m4}.  First, the @TeX{} version:

@comment ignore
@example
\def\a@{\message@{Hello@}@}
\catcode`\@@=0
\catcode`\\=12
@@a
@@bye
@result{}Hello
@end example

@noindent
Then, the @code{m4} version:

@example
ifdef(`changeword', `', `errprint(` skipping: no changeword support
')m4exit(`77')')dnl
define(`a', `errprint(`Hello')')dnl
changeword(`@@\([_a-zA-Z0-9]*\)')
@result{}
@@a
@result{}errprint(Hello)
@end example

In the @TeX{} example, the first line defines a macro @code{a} to
print the message @samp{Hello}.  The second line defines @key{@@} to
be usable instead of @key{\} as an escape character.  The third line
defines @key{\} to be a normal printing character, not an escape.
The fourth line invokes the macro @code{a}.  So, when @TeX{} is run
on this file, it displays the message @samp{Hello}.

When the @code{m4} example is passed through @code{m4}, it outputs
@samp{errprint(Hello)}.  The reason for this is that @TeX{} does
lexical analysis of macro definition when the macro is @emph{defined}.
@code{m4} just stores the text, postponing the lexical analysis until
the macro is @emph{used}.

You should note that using @code{changeword} will slow @code{m4} down
by a factor of about seven, once it is changed to something other
than the default regular expression.  You can invoke @code{changeword}
with the empty string to restore the default word definition, and regain
the parsing speed.

@node M4wrap
@section Saving input

@cindex saving input
@cindex input, saving
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 @code{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 @code{m4wrap}:

@deffn Builtin m4wrap (@ovar{string}, @dots{})
Stores @var{string} in a safe place, to be reread when end of input is
reached.  As a @acronym{GNU} extension, additional arguments are
concatenated with a space to the @var{string}.

The expansion of @code{m4wrap} is void.
The macro @code{m4wrap} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
define(`cleanup', `This is the `cleanup' action.
')
@result{}
m4wrap(`cleanup')
@result{}
This is the first and last normal input line.
@result{}This is the first and last normal input line.
^D
@result{}This is the cleanup action.
@end example

The saved input is only reread when the end of normal input is seen, and
not if @code{m4exit} is used to exit @code{m4}.

@comment FIXME: this contradicts POSIX, which requires that "If the
@comment m4wrap macro is used multiple times, the arguments specified
@comment shall be processed in the order in which the m4wrap macros were
@comment processed."
It is safe to call @code{m4wrap} from saved text, but then the order in
which the saved text is reread is undefined.  If @code{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
@acronym{POSIX}, so you should not depend on this order.

Here is an example of implementing a factorial function using
@code{m4wrap}:

@example
define(`f', `ifelse(`$1', `0', `Answer: 0!=1
', eval(`$1>1'), `0', `Answer: $2$1=eval(`$2$1')
', `m4wrap(`f(decr(`$1'), `$2$1*')')')')
@result{}
f(`10')
@result{}
^D
@result{}Answer: 10*9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2*1=3628800
@end example

Invocations of @code{m4wrap} at the same recursion level are
concatenated and rescanned as usual:

@example
define(`aa', `AA
')
@result{}
m4wrap(`a')m4wrap(`a')
@result{}
^D
@result{}AA
@end example

@noindent
however, the transition between recursion levels behaves like an end of
file condition between two input files.

@example
m4wrap(`m4wrap(`)')len(abc')
@result{}
^D
@error{}m4: ERROR: end of file in argument list
@end example

@node File Inclusion
@chapter File inclusion

@cindex file inclusion
@cindex inclusion, of files

@code{m4} allows you to include named files at any point in the input.

@menu
* Include::                     Including named files
* Search Path::                 Searching for include files
@end menu

@node Include
@section Including named files

There are two builtin macros in @code{m4} for including files:

@deffn Builtin include (@var{file})
@deffnx Builtin sinclude (@var{file})
Both macros cause the file named @var{file} to be read by
@code{m4}.  When the end of the file is reached, input is resumed from
the previous input file.

The expansion of @code{include} and @code{sinclude} is therefore the
contents of @var{file}.

If @var{file} does not exist (or cannot be read), the expansion is void,
and @code{include} will fail with an error while @code{sinclude} is
silent.  The empty string counts as a file that does not exist.

The macros @code{include} and @code{sinclude} are recognized only with
parameters.
@end deffn

@example
include(`none')
@result{}
@error{}m4:stdin:1: cannot open `none': No such file or directory
include()
@result{}
@error{}m4:stdin:2: cannot open `': No such file or directory
sinclude(`none')
@result{}
sinclude()
@result{}
@end example

The rest of this section assumes that @code{m4} is invoked with the
@option{-I} option (@pxref{Invoking m4}) pointing to the @file{examples}
directory shipped as part of the @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} package.  The
file @file{examples/@/incl.m4} in the distribution contains the lines:
@comment ignore
@example
Include file start
foo
Include file end
@end example
@noindent
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
@code{m4} and macro calls in the file will be expanded:

@example
define(`foo', `FOO')
@result{}
include(`incl.m4')
@result{}Include file start
@result{}FOO
@result{}Include file end
@result{}
@end example

The fact that @code{include} and @code{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 @samp{bar} to expand to the contents
of @file{incl.m4}:

@example
define(`bar', include(`incl.m4'))
@result{}
This is `bar':  >>bar<<
@result{}This is bar:  >>Include file start
@result{}foo
@result{}Include file end
@result{}<<
@end example

This use of @code{include} is not trivial, though, as files can contain
quotes, commas, and parentheses, which can interfere with the way the
@code{m4} parser works.  @acronym{GNU} @code{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.

@node Search Path
@section Searching for include files

@cindex search path for included files
@cindex included files, search path for
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
@acronym{GNU} @code{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 @option{-I} option will
be searched, in the order found on the command line (@pxref{Invoking
m4}).  Second, if the
@env{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 @samp{p}
debug flag (@pxref{Debug Levels}) can help isolate the problem.

@node Diversions
@chapter Diverting and undiverting output

Diversions are a way of temporarily saving output.  The output of
@code{m4} can at any time be diverted to a temporary file, and be
reinserted into the output stream, @dfn{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 @acronym{GNU}
@code{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.

@c FIXME: need some explanation here why this is a useful feature, not
@c just how you use it.

@menu
* Divert::                      Diverting output
* Undivert::                    Undiverting output
* Divnum::                      Diversion numbers
* Cleardiv::                    Discarding diverted text
@end menu

@node Divert
@section Diverting output

@cindex diverting output to files
@cindex output, diverting to files
@cindex files, diverting output to
Output is diverted using @code{divert}:

@deffn Builtin divert (@dvar{number, 0})
The current diversion is changed to @var{number}.  If @var{number} is left
out or empty, it is assumed to be zero.  If @var{number} cannot be
parsed, the diversion is unchanged.

The expansion of @code{divert} is void.
@end deffn

When all the @code{m4} input will have been processed, all existing
diversions are automatically undiverted, in numerical order.

@example
divert(`1')
This text is diverted.
divert
@result{}
This text is not diverted.
@result{}This text is not diverted.
^D
@result{}
@result{}This text is diverted.
@end example

Several calls of @code{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.

@example
define(`text', `TEXT')
@result{}
divert(`1')`diverted text.'
divert
@result{}
m4wrap(`Wrapped text preceeds ')
@result{}
^D
@result{}Wrapped TEXT preceeds diverted text.
@end example

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.

@example
divert(`-1')
define(`foo', `Macro `foo'.')
define(`bar', `Macro `bar'.')
divert
@result{}
@end example

This is a common programming idiom in @code{m4}.

Note that @code{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 @option{-P} option to rename all
builtins (@pxref{Invoking m4}).  Another is to write a wrapper that
requires a parameter to be recognized.

@example
We decided to divert the stream for irrigation.
@result{}We decided to  the stream for irrigation.
define(`divert', `ifelse(`$#', `0', ``$0'', `builtin(`$0', $@@)')')
@result{}
divert(-1)
Ignored text.
divert(0)
@result{}
We decided to divert the stream for irrigation.
@result{}We decided to divert the stream for irrigation.
@end example

@node Undivert
@section Undiverting output

Diverted text can be undiverted explicitly using the builtin
@code{undivert}:

@deffn Builtin undivert (@ovar{number}@dots{})
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 @acronym{GNU} extension, if @var{number} is not numeric,
treat it as a file name instead.

The expansion of @code{undivert} is void.
@end deffn

@example
divert(`1')
This text is diverted.
divert
@result{}
This text is not diverted.
@result{}This text is not diverted.
undivert(`1')
@result{}
@result{}This text is diverted.
@result{}
@end example

Notice the last two blank lines.  One of them comes from the newline
following @code{undivert}, the other from the newline that followed the
@code{divert}!  A diversion often starts with a blank line like this.

When diverted text is undiverted, it is @emph{not} reread by @code{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.

@example
divert(`1')diverted text
divert
@result{}
undivert()
@result{}
undivert(`0')
@result{}
undivert
@result{}diverted text
@result{}
@end example

When a diversion has been undiverted, the diverted text is discarded,
and it is not possible to bring back diverted text more than once.

@example
divert(`1')
This text is diverted first.
divert(`0')undivert(`1')dnl
@result{}
@result{}This text is diverted first.
undivert(`1')
@result{}
divert(`1')
This text is also diverted but not appended.
divert(`0')undivert(`1')dnl
@result{}
@result{}This text is also diverted but not appended.
@end example

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.

@example
divert(`1')one
divert(`2')two
divert(`3')three
divert(`2')undivert`'dnl
divert`'undivert`'dnl
@result{}two
@result{}one
@result{}three
@end example

@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
@cindex file inclusion
@cindex inclusion, of files
@acronym{GNU} @code{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 @code{include}
(@pxref{Include}).  To illustrate the difference, the file
@file{examples/@/foo} contains the word @samp{bar}:

@example
define(`bar', `BAR')
@result{}
undivert(`foo')
@result{}bar
@result{}
include(`foo')
@result{}BAR
@result{}
@end example

If the file is not found (or cannot be read), an error message is
issued, and the expansion is void.

@node Divnum
@section Diversion numbers

@cindex diversion numbers
The current diversion is tracked by the builtin @code{divnum}:

@deffn Builtin divnum
Expands to the number of the current diversion.
@end deffn

@example
Initial divnum
@result{}Initial 0
divert(`1')
Diversion one: divnum
divert(`2')
Diversion two: divnum
^D
@result{}
@result{}Diversion one: 1
@result{}
@result{}Diversion two: 2
@end example

@node Cleardiv
@section Discarding diverted text

@cindex discarding diverted text
@cindex diverted text, discarding
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 @code{m4} with
@samp{divert(`-1')} followed by an explicit @samp{undivert}:

@example
divert(`1')
Diversion one: divnum
divert(`2')
Diversion two: divnum
divert(`-1')
undivert
^D
@end example

@noindent
No output is produced at all.

Clearing selected diversions can be done with the following macro:

@deffn Composite cleardivert (@ovar{diversion}@dots{})
Discard the contents of each listed diversion.
@end deffn

@example
define(`cleardivert',
`pushdef(`_n', divnum)divert(`-1')undivert($@@)divert(_n)popdef(`_n')')
@result{}
@end example

It is called just like @code{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.  @pxref{Answers})

@node Text handling
@chapter Macros for text handling

There are a number of builtins in @code{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)
@end menu

@node Len
@section Calculating length of strings

@cindex length of strings
@cindex strings, length of
The length of a string can be calculated by @code{len}:

@deffn Builtin len (@var{string})
Expands to the length of @var{string}, as a decimal number.

The macro @code{len} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
len()
@result{}0
len(`abcdef')
@result{}6
@end example

@node Index macro
@section Searching for substrings

Searching for substrings is done with @code{index}:

@deffn Builtin index (@var{string}, @var{substring})
Expands to the index of the first occurrence of @var{substring} in
@var{string}.  The first character in @var{string} has index 0.  If
@var{substring} does not occur in @var{string}, @code{index} expands to
@samp{-1}.

The macro @code{index} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
index(`gnus, gnats, and armadillos', `nat')
@result{}7
index(`gnus, gnats, and armadillos', `dag')
@result{}-1
@end example

Omitting @var{substring} evokes a warning, but still produces output.

@example
index(`abc')
@error{}m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `index'
@result{}0
@end example

@node Regexp
@section Searching for regular expressions

@cindex regular expressions
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
Searching for regular expressions is done with the builtin
@code{regexp}:

@deffn Builtin regexp (@var{string}, @var{regexp}, @ovar{replacement})
Searches for @var{regexp} in @var{string}.  The syntax for regular
expressions is the same as in @acronym{GNU} Emacs.
@ifnothtml
@xref{Regexps, , Syntax of Regular Expressions, emacs, The GNU Emacs
Manual}.
@end ifnothtml
@ifhtml
See
@uref{http://www.gnu.org/@/software/@/emacs/@/manual/@/emacs.html#Regexps,
Syntax of Regular Expressions} in the @acronym{GNU} Emacs Manual.
@end ifhtml

If @var{replacement} is omitted, @code{regexp} expands to the index of
the first match of @var{regexp} in @var{string}.  If @var{regexp} does
not match anywhere in @var{string}, it expands to -1.

If @var{replacement} is supplied, and there was a match, @code{regexp}
changes the expansion to this argument, with @samp{\@var{n}} substituted
by the text matched by the @var{n}th parenthesized sub-expression of
@var{regexp}, up to nine sub-expressions.  The escape @samp{\&} is
replaced by the text of the entire regular expression matched.  For
all other characters, @samp{\} treats the next character literally.  A
warning is issued if there were fewer sub-expressions than the
@samp{\@var{n}} requested, or if there is a trailing @samp{\}.  If there
was no match, @code{regexp} expands to the empty string.

The macro @code{regexp} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
regexp(`GNUs not Unix', `\<[a-z]\w+')
@result{}5
regexp(`GNUs not Unix', `\<Q\w*')
@result{}-1
regexp(`GNUs not Unix', `\w\(\w+\)$', `*** \& *** \1 ***')
@result{}*** Unix *** nix ***
regexp(`GNUs not Unix', `\<Q\w*', `*** \& *** \1 ***')
@result{}
@end example

Here are some more examples on the handling of backslash:

@example
regexp(`abc', `\(b\)', `\\\10\a')
@result{}\b0a
regexp(`abc', `b', `\1\')
@error{}m4:stdin:2: Warning: sub-expression 1 not present
@error{}m4:stdin:2: Warning: trailing \ ignored in replacement
@result{}
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
@result{}c
@end example

Omitting @var{regexp} evokes a warning, but still produces output.

@example
regexp(`abc')
@error{}m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `regexp'
@result{}0
@end example

@node Substr
@section Extracting substrings

@cindex extracting substrings
@cindex substrings, extracting
Substrings are extracted with @code{substr}:

@deffn Builtin substr (@var{string}, @var{from}, @ovar{length})
Expands to the substring of @var{string}, which starts at index
@var{from}, and extends for @var{length} characters, or to the end of
@var{string}, if @var{length} is omitted.  The starting index of a string
is always 0.  The expansion is empty if there is an error parsing
@var{from} or @var{length}, if @var{from} is beyond the end of
@var{string}, or if @var{length} is negative.

The macro @code{substr} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
substr(`gnus, gnats, and armadillos', `6')
@result{}gnats, and armadillos
substr(`gnus, gnats, and armadillos', `6', `5')
@result{}gnats
@end example

Omitting @var{from} evokes a warning, but still produces output.

@example
substr(`abc')
@error{}m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `substr'
@result{}abc
substr(`abc',)
@error{}m4:stdin:2: empty string treated as 0 in builtin `substr'
@result{}abc
@end example

@node Translit
@section Translating characters

@cindex translating characters
@cindex characters, translating
Character translation is done with @code{translit}:

@deffn Builtin translit (@var{string}, @var{chars}, @ovar{replacement})
Expands to @var{string}, with each character that occurs in
@var{chars} translated into the character from @var{replacement} with
the same index.

If @var{replacement} is shorter than @var{chars}, the excess characters
are deleted from the expansion.  If @var{replacement} is omitted, all
characters in @var{string} that are present in @var{chars} are deleted
from the expansion.

As a @acronym{GNU} extension, both @var{chars} and @var{replacement} can
contain character-ranges,
e.g., @samp{a-z} (meaning all lowercase letters) or @samp{0-9} (meaning
all digits).  To include a dash @samp{-} in @var{chars} or
@var{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.,
@samp{9-0} means the string @samp{9876543210}.

The macro @code{translit} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
translit(`GNUs not Unix', `A-Z')
@result{}s not nix
translit(`GNUs not Unix', `a-z', `A-Z')
@result{}GNUS NOT UNIX
translit(`GNUs not Unix', `A-Z', `z-a')
@result{}tmfs not fnix
@end example

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 @var{chars} evokes a warning, but still produces output.

@example
translit(`abc')
@error{}m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `translit'
@result{}abc
@end example

@node Patsubst
@section Substituting text by regular expression

@cindex regular expressions
@cindex pattern substitution
@cindex substitution by regular expression
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
Global substitution in a string is done by @code{patsubst}:

@deffn Builtin patsubst (@var{string}, @var{regexp}, @ovar{replacement})
Searches @var{string} for matches of @var{regexp}, and substitutes
@var{replacement} for each match.  The syntax for regular expressions
is the same as in @acronym{GNU} Emacs (@pxref{Regexp}).

The parts of @var{string} that are not covered by any match of
@var{regexp} are copied to the expansion.  Whenever a match is found, the
search proceeds from the end of the match, so a character from
@var{string} will never be substituted twice.  If @var{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, @var{replacement} is inserted into
the expansion, with @samp{\@var{n}} substituted by the text matched by
the @var{n}th parenthesized sub-expression of @var{patsubst}, for up to
nine sub-expressions.  The escape @samp{\&} is replaced by the text of
the entire regular expression matched.  For all other characters,
@samp{\} treats the next character literally.  A warning is issued if
there were fewer sub-expressions than the @samp{\@var{n}} requested, or
if there is a trailing @samp{\}.

The @var{replacement} argument can be omitted, in which case the text
matched by @var{regexp} is deleted.

The macro @code{patsubst} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
patsubst(`GNUs not Unix', `^', `OBS: ')
@result{}OBS: GNUs not Unix
patsubst(`GNUs not Unix', `\<', `OBS: ')
@result{}OBS: GNUs OBS: not OBS: Unix
patsubst(`GNUs not Unix', `\w*', `(\&)')
@result{}(GNUs)() (not)() (Unix)()
patsubst(`GNUs not Unix', `\w+', `(\&)')
@result{}(GNUs) (not) (Unix)
patsubst(`GNUs not Unix', `[A-Z][a-z]+')
@result{}GN not @comment
patsubst(`GNUs not Unix', `not', `NOT\')
@error{}m4:stdin:6: Warning: trailing \ ignored in replacement
@result{}GNUs NOT Unix
@end example

Here is a slightly more realistic example, which capitalizes individual
word or whole sentences, by substituting calls of the macros
@code{upcase} and @code{downcase} into the strings.

@deffn Composite upcase (@var{text})
@deffnx Composite downcase (@var{text})
@deffnx Composite capitalize (@var{text})
Expand to @var{text}, but with capitalization changed: @code{upcase}
changes all letters to upper case, @code{downcase} changes all letters
to lower case, and @code{capitalize} changes the first character of each
word to upper case and the remaining characters to lower case.
@end deffn

@example
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')
@result{}Gnus Not Unix
@end example

While @code{regexp} replaces the whole input with the replacement as
soon as there is a match, @code{patsubst} replaces each
@emph{occurrence} of a match and preserves non-matching pieces:

@example
define(`patreg',
`patsubst($@@)
regexp($@@)')dnl
patreg(`bar foo baz Foo', `foo\|Foo', `FOO')
@result{}bar FOO baz FOO
@result{}FOO
patreg(`aba abb 121', `\(.\)\(.\)\1', `\2\1\2')
@result{}bab abb 212
@result{}bab
@end example

Omitting @var{regexp} evokes a warning, but still produces output.

@example
patsubst(`abc')
@error{}m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `patsubst'
@result{}abc
@end example

@node Format
@section Formatted output

@cindex formatted output
@cindex output, formatted
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
Formatted output can be made with @code{format}:

@deffn Builtin format (@var{format-string}, @dots{})
Works much like the C function @code{printf}.  The first argument
@var{format-string} can contain @samp{%} specifications which are
satisfied by additional arguments, and the expansion of @code{format} is
the formatted string.

The macro @code{format} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

Its use is best described by a few examples:

@example
define(`foo', `The brown fox jumped over the lazy dog')
@result{}
format(`The string "%s" uses %d characters', foo, len(foo))
@result{}The string "The brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" uses 38 characters
format(`%.0f', `56789.9876')
@result{}56790
len(format(`%-*X', `300', `1'))
@result{}300
@end example

Using the @code{forloop} macro defined in @xref{Loops}, this
example shows how @code{format} can be used to produce tabular output.

@example
include(`forloop.m4')
@result{}
forloop(`i', `1', `10', `format(`%6d squared is %10d
', i, eval(i**2))')
@result{}     1 squared is          1
@result{}     2 squared is          4
@result{}     3 squared is          9
@result{}     4 squared is         16
@result{}     5 squared is         25
@result{}     6 squared is         36
@result{}     7 squared is         49
@result{}     8 squared is         64
@result{}     9 squared is         81
@result{}    10 squared is        100
@result{}
@end example

The builtin @code{format} is modeled after the ANSI C @samp{printf}
function, and supports these @samp{%} specifiers: @samp{c},
@samp{s}, @samp{d}, @samp{o}, @samp{x}, @samp{X}, @samp{u}, @samp{e},
@samp{E}, @samp{f}, @samp{F}, @samp{g}, @samp{G}, and @samp{%}; it
supports field widths and precisions, and the
modifiers @samp{+}, @samp{-}, @samp{@w{ }}, @samp{0}, @samp{#}, @samp{h} and
@samp{l}.  For more details on the functioning of @code{printf}, see the
C Library Manual.

For now, unrecognized specifiers are silently ignored, but it is
anticipated that a future release of @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} will support more
specifiers, and give warnings when problems are encountered.  Likewise,
escape sequences are not yet recognized.

@node Arithmetic
@chapter Macros for doing arithmetic

@cindex arithmetic
@cindex integer arithmetic
Integer arithmetic is included in @code{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
@end menu

@node Incr
@section Decrement and increment operators

@cindex decrement operator
@cindex increment operator
Increment and decrement of integers are supported using the builtins
@code{incr} and @code{decr}:

@deffn Builtin incr (@var{number})
@deffnx Builtin decr (@var{number})
Expand to the numerical value of @var{number}, incremented
or decremented, respectively, by one.  Except for the empty string, the
expansion is empty if @var{number} could not be parsed.

The macros @code{incr} and @code{decr} are recognized only with
parameters.
@end deffn

@example
incr(`4')
@result{}5
decr(`7')
@result{}6
incr()
@error{}m4:stdin:3: empty string treated as 0 in builtin `incr'
@result{}1
decr()
@error{}m4:stdin:4: empty string treated as 0 in builtin `decr'
@result{}-1
@end example

@node Eval
@section Evaluating integer expressions

@cindex integer expression evaluation
@cindex evaluation, of integer expressions
@cindex expressions, evaluation of integer
Integer expressions are evaluated with @code{eval}:

@deffn Builtin eval (@var{expression}, @dvar{radix, 10}, @ovar{width})
Expands to the value of @var{expression}.  The expansion is empty
if an error is encountered while parsing the arguments.  If specified,
@var{radix} and @var{width} control the format of the output.

The macro @code{eval} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

Expressions can contain the following operators, listed in order of
decreasing precedence.

@table @code
@item + -
Unary plus and minus
@item **
Exponentiation
@item *  /  %
Multiplication, division and modulo
@item +  -
Addition and subtraction
@item <<  >>
Shift left or right
@item ==  !=  >  >=  <  <=
Relational operators
@item !
Logical negation
@item ~
Bitwise negation
@item &
Bitwise and
@item ^
Bitwise exclusive-or
@item |
Bitwise or
@item &&
Logical and
@item ||
Logical or
@end table

All operators, except exponentiation, are left associative.

Note that some older @code{m4} implementations use @samp{^} as an
alternate operator for exponentiation, although @acronym{POSIX} requires
the C behavior of bitwise exclusive-or.  On the other hand, the
precedence of @samp{~} and @samp{!} are different in @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} than
they are in C, matching the precedence in traditional @code{m4}
implementations.  This behavior is likely to change in a future
version to match @acronym{POSIX}, so use parentheses to force the
desired precedence.

Within @var{expression}, (but not @var{radix} or @var{width}),
numbers without a special prefix are decimal.  A simple @samp{0}
prefix introduces an octal number.  @samp{0x} introduces a hexadecimal
number.  @samp{0b} introduces a binary number.  @samp{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 @samp{1}; for all other
radices, the digits are
@samp{0}, @samp{1}, @samp{2}, @dots{}.  Beyond @samp{9}, the digits are
@samp{a}, @samp{b} @dots{} up to @samp{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 @code{1}, and a false
relation return @code{0}.

Here are a few examples of use of @code{eval}.

@example
eval(`-3 * 5')
@result{}-15
eval(index(`Hello world', `llo') >= 0)
@result{}1
eval(`0r1:0111 + 0b100 + 0r3:12')
@result{}12
define(`square', `eval(`('$1`)**2')')
@result{}
square(`9')
@result{}81
square(square(`5')`+1')
@result{}676
define(`foo', `666')
@result{}
eval(`foo/6')
@error{}m4:stdin:8: bad expression in eval: foo/6
@result{}
eval(foo/6)
@result{}111
@end example

As the last two lines show, @code{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 @code{eval}.

All evaluation is done with 32-bit signed integers, assuming
2's-complement with wrap-around.  The shift operators are defined in
@acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} by doing an implicit bit-wise and of the right-hand operand
with 0x1f, and sign-extension with right shift.

@example
eval(0x80000000 / -1)
@result{}-2147483648
eval(0x80000000 % -1)
@result{}0
eval(0x7fffffff)
@result{}2147483647
incr(eval(0x7fffffff))
@result{}-2147483648
eval(-4 >> 33)
@result{}-2
@end example

If @var{radix} is specified, it specifies the radix to be used in the
expansion.  The default radix is 10; this is also the case if
@var{radix} is the empty string.  It is an error if the radix is outside
the range of 1 through 36, inclusive.  The result of @code{eval} is
always taken to be signed.  No radix prefix is output, and for radices
greater than 10, the digits are lower case.  The @var{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
@code{eval} is empty.

@example
eval(`666', `10')
@result{}666
eval(`666', `11')
@result{}556
eval(`666', `6')
@result{}3030
eval(`666', `6', `10')
@result{}0000003030
eval(`-666', `6', `10')
@result{}-0000003030
eval(`10', `', `0')
@result{}10
`0r1:'eval(`10', `1', `11')
@result{}0r1:01111111111
eval(`10', `16')
@result{}a
@end example

@node Shell commands
@chapter Running shell commands

@cindex executing UNIX commands
@cindex running UNIX commands
@cindex UNIX commands, running
@cindex commands, running UNIX
@cindex executing shell commands
@cindex running shell commands
@cindex shell commands, running
@cindex commands, running shell
There are a few builtin macros in @code{m4} that allow you to run shell
commands from within @code{m4}.

Note that the definition of a valid shell command is system dependent.
On UNIX systems, this is the typical @code{/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
@code{/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
@end menu

@node Platform macros
@section Determining the platform

@cindex platform macros
Sometimes it is desirable for an input file to know which
platform @code{m4} is running on.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} provides several
macros that are predefined to expand to the empty string; checking for
their existence will confirm platform details.

@deffn {Optional builtin} __gnu__
@deffnx {Optional builtin} __os2__
@deffnx {Optional builtin} os2
@deffnx {Optional builtin} __unix__
@deffnx {Optional builtin} unix
@deffnx {Optional builtin} __windows__
@deffnx {Optional builtin} windows
Each of these macros is conditionally defined as needed to describe the
environment of @code{m4}.  If defined, each macro expands to the empty
string.
@end deffn

When @acronym{GNU} extensions are in effect (that is, when you did not use the
@option{-G} option, @pxref{Invoking m4}), @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} will
define the macro @code{__gnu__} to expand to the empty string.

@example
__gnu__
@result{}
ifdef(`__gnu__', `Extensions are active')
@result{}Extensions are active
@end example

@cindex platform macro
On UNIX systems, @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} will define @code{__unix__} by
default, or @code{unix} when the @option{-G} option is specified.

On native Windows systems, @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} will define
@code{__windows__} by default, or @code{windows} when the @option{-G}
option is specified.

On OS/2 systems, @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} will define @code{__os2__} by
default, or @code{os2} when the @option{-G} option is specified.

If @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} does not provide a platform macro for your system,
please report that as a bug.

@example
define(`provided', `0')
@result{}
ifdef(`__unix__', `define(`provided', incr(provided))')
@result{}
ifdef(`__windows__', `define(`provided', incr(provided))')
@result{}
ifdef(`__os2__', `define(`provided', incr(provided))')
@result{}
provided
@result{}1
@end example

@node Syscmd
@section Executing simple commands

Any shell command can be executed, using @code{syscmd}:

@deffn Builtin syscmd (@var{shell-command})
Executes @var{shell-command} as a shell command.

The expansion of @code{syscmd} is void, @emph{not} the output from
@var{shell-command}!  Output or error messages from @var{shell-command}
are not read by @code{m4}.  @xref{Esyscmd}, if you need to process the
command output.

Prior to executing the command, @code{m4} flushes its output buffers.
The default standard input, output and error of @var{shell-command} are
the same as those of @code{m4}.

The macro @code{syscmd} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
define(`foo', `FOO')
@result{}
syscmd(`echo foo')
@result{}foo
@result{}
@end example

Note how the expansion of @code{syscmd} keeps the trailing newline of
the command, as well as using the newline that appeared after the macro.

@node Esyscmd
@section Reading the output of commands

@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
If you want @code{m4} to read the output of a shell command, use
@code{esyscmd}:

@deffn Builtin esyscmd (@var{shell-command})
Expands to the standard output of the shell command
@var{shell-command}.

Prior to executing the command, @code{m4} flushes its output buffers.
The default standard input and error output of @var{shell-command} are
the same as those of @code{m4}.  The error output of @var{shell-command}
is not a part of the expansion: it will appear along with the error
output of @code{m4}.

The macro @code{esyscmd} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
define(`foo', `FOO')
@result{}
esyscmd(`echo foo')
@result{}FOO
@result{}
@end example

Note how the expansion of @code{esyscmd} keeps the trailing newline of
the command, as well as using the newline that appeared after the macro.

@node Sysval
@section Exit status

@cindex UNIX commands, exit status from
@cindex exit status from shell commands
@cindex shell commands, exit status from
@cindex commands, exit status from shell
@cindex status of shell commands
To see whether a shell command succeeded, use @code{sysval}:

@deffn Builtin sysval
Expands to the exit status of the last shell command run with
@code{syscmd} or @code{esyscmd}.  Expands to 0 if no command has been
run yet.
@end deffn

@example
syscmd(`false')
@result{}
ifelse(sysval, `0', `zero', `non-zero')
@result{}non-zero
syscmd(`exit 2')
@result{}
sysval
@result{}2
syscmd(`true')
@result{}
sysval
@result{}0
esyscmd(`false')
@result{}
ifelse(sysval, `0', `zero', `non-zero')
@result{}non-zero
esyscmd(`exit 2')
@result{}
sysval
@result{}2
esyscmd(`true')
@result{}
sysval
@result{}0
@end example

@command{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.

@comment This test has difficulties being portable, even on platforms
@comment where syscmd invokes /bin/sh.  Kill is not portable with signal
@comment names.  According to autoconf, the only portable signal numbers
@comment are 1 (HUP), 2 (INT), 9 (KILL), 13 (PIPE) and 15 (TERM).  But
@comment all shells handle SIGINT, and ksh handles HUP (as in, the shell
@comment exits normally rather than letting the signal terminate it).
@comment Also, TERM is flaky, as it can also kill the running m4 on
@comment systems where /bin/sh does not create its own process group.
@comment That leaves KILL and PIPE as the two signals tested.
@example
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 $$')
@result{}
sysval
@result{}3328
esyscmd(`kill -9 $$')
@result{}
sysval
@result{}2304
@end example

@node Maketemp
@section Making names for temporary files

@cindex temporary file names
@cindex files, names of temporary
Commands specified to @code{syscmd} or @code{esyscmd} might need a
temporary file, for output or for some other purpose.
There is a builtin macro, @code{maketemp}, for making temporary file
names:

@deffn Builtin maketemp (@var{template})
Expands to a name of a new, empty file, made from the string
@var{template}, which should end with the string @samp{XXXXXX}.  The six
@code{X} characters are then replaced with random data, in order to make
the file name unique.

The macro @code{maketemp} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@comment ignore
@example
maketemp(`/tmp/fooXXXXXX')
@result{}/tmp/fooa07346
@end example

@ignore
@c FIXME: POSIX requires maketemp to replace the trailing XXX with the
@c process id, without creating the file; meaning you only get one
@c string no matter how many times you use maketemp.  Instead, we treat
@c it like mkstemp(), and create a unique file every invocation.

@c This test makes sure maketemp gets testsuite coverage, but is
@c somewhat complex for use in the manual.
@example
dnl This test assumes /tmp is a valid directory name, which is not true
dnl for native Windows.
ifdef(`__unix__', , `errprint(` skipping: not sure /tmp exists
')m4exit(`77')')dnl
define(`file1', maketemp(`/tmp/fooXXXXXX'))dnl
define(`file2', maketemp(`/tmp/fooXXXXXX'))dnl
ifelse(file1, file2, `same', `different')
@result{}different
syscmd(`rm 'file1 file2)
@result{}
sysval
@result{}0
@end example
@end ignore

@node Miscellaneous
@chapter 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
@end menu

@node Errprint
@section Printing error messages

@cindex printing error messages
@cindex error messages, printing
@cindex messages, printing error
You can print error messages using @code{errprint}:

@deffn Builtin errprint (@var{message}, @dots{})
Prints @var{message} and the rest of the arguments on the
standard error output, separated by spaces.

The expansion of @code{errprint} is void.
The macro @code{errprint} is recognized only with parameters.
@end deffn

@example
errprint(`Invalid arguments to forloop
')
@error{}Invalid arguments to forloop
@result{}
@end example

A trailing newline is @emph{not} printed automatically, so it must be
supplied as part of the argument, as in the example.  BSD
implementations of @code{m4} do append a trailing newline on each
@code{errprint} call, while some other implementations only print the
first argument.

@node Location
@section Printing current location

To make it possible to specify the location of an error, three
utility builtins exist:

@deffn Builtin __file__
@deffnx Builtin __line__
@deffnx 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 @code{m4}.
@end deffn

@example
errprint(__program__:__file__:__line__: `input error
')
@error{}m4:stdin:1: input error
@result{}
@end example

Line numbers start at 1 for each file.  If the file was found due to the
@option{-I} option or @env{M4PATH} environment variable, that is
reflected in the file name.  The syncline option (@option{-s},
@pxref{Invoking m4}), and the
@samp{f} and @samp{l} flags of @code{debugmode} (@pxref{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
@file{checks} directory of the @acronym{GNU} M4 package, using
@samp{--include=../examples} in the command line to find the file
@file{incl.m4} mentioned earlier:

@example
define(`foo', ``$0' called at __file__:__line__')
@result{}
foo
@result{}foo called at stdin:2
include(`incl.m4')
@result{}Include file start
@result{}foo called at ../examples/incl.m4:2
@result{}Include file end
@result{}
@end example

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

The @code{__program__} macro behaves like @samp{$0} in shell
terminology.  If you invoke @code{m4} through an absolute path or a link
with a different spelling, rather than by relying on a @env{PATH} search
for plain @samp{m4}, it will affect how @code{__program__} expands.  The
intent is that you can use it to produce error messages with the same
formatting that @code{m4} produces internally.  It can also be used
within @code{syscmd} (@pxref{Syscmd}) to pick the same version of
@code{m4} that is currently running, rather than whatever version of
@code{m4} happens to be first in @env{PATH}.

@node M4exit
@section Exiting from @code{m4}

@cindex exiting from @code{m4}
@cindex status, setting @code{m4} exit
If you need to exit from @code{m4} before the entire input has been
read, you can use @code{m4exit}:

@deffn Builtin m4exit (@dvar{code, 0})
Causes @code{m4} to exit, with exit status @var{code}.  If @var{code} is
left out, the exit status is zero.  If @var{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.
@end deffn

A common use of this is to abort processing:

@deffn Composite fatal_error (@var{message})
Abort processing with an error message and non-zero status.  Prefix
@var{message} with details about where the error occurred, and print the
resulting string to standard error.
@end deffn

@example
define(`fatal_error',
       `errprint(__program__:__file__:__line__`: fatal error: $*
')m4exit(`1')')
@result{}
fatal_error(`this is a BAD one, buster')
@error{}m4:stdin:4: fatal error: this is a BAD one, buster
@end example

After this macro call, @code{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
(@pxref{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
correct it.  @pxref{Answers})

@example
m4wrap(`This text is lost to `m4exit'.')
@result{}
divert(`1') And so is this.
divert
@result{}
m4exit
@end example

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

@node Frozen files
@chapter Fast loading of frozen state

Some bigger @code{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 @code{m4} invocation prior to the
user's input file, or else each input file uses @code{include}.

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

@menu
* Using frozen files::          Using frozen files
* Frozen file format::          Frozen file format
@end menu

@node Using frozen files
@section Using frozen files
@cindex fast loading of frozen files
@cindex frozen files for fast loading
@cindex initialization, frozen states
@cindex dumping into frozen file
@cindex reloading a frozen file
@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
Suppose a user has a library of @code{m4} initializations in
@file{base.m4}, which is then used with multiple input files:

@comment ignore
@example
m4 base.m4 input1.m4
m4 base.m4 input2.m4
m4 base.m4 input3.m4
@end example

Rather than spending time parsing the fixed contents of @file{base.m4}
every time, the user might rather execute:

@comment ignore
@example
m4 -F base.m4f base.m4
@end example

@noindent
once, and further execute, as often as needed:

@comment ignore
@example
m4 -R base.m4f input1.m4
m4 -R base.m4f input2.m4
m4 -R base.m4f input3.m4
@end example

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

Later calls, containing the @option{-R} option, are able to reload
the internal state of @code{m4}, from @file{base.m4f},
@emph{prior} to reading any other input files.  This means
instead of starting with a virgin copy of @code{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 @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 @code{m4}
invocation.  It is not possible to recover two frozen files at once.
However, frozen files may be updated incrementally, through using
@option{-R} and @option{-F} options simultaneously.  For example, if
some care is taken, the command:

@comment ignore
@example
m4 file1.m4 file2.m4 file3.m4 file4.m4
@end example

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

@comment ignore
@example
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
@end example

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 @code{changeword}.
Currently, @code{m4wrap} and @code{sysval} also have problems.
Also, interactions for some options of @code{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 @code{pushdef} definitions
are handled correctly, as well as undefined or renamed builtins, and
changed strings for quotes or comments.  And future releases of
@acronym{GNU} M4 will improve on the utility of frozen files.

When an @code{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 @code{include} file (@pxref{Search
Path}).

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

@node Frozen file format
@section Frozen file format
@cindex frozen file format
@cindex file format, frozen file
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 @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}.
It is conventional, but not required, to give a frozen file the suffix
of @code{.m4f}.

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

@table @code
@item C @var{len1} , @var{len2} @key{NL} @var{str1} @var{str2} @key{NL}
Uses @var{str1} and @var{str2} as the begin-comment and
end-comment strings.  If omitted, then @samp{#} and @key{NL} are the
comment delimiters.

@item D @var{number}, @var{len} @key{NL} @var{str} @key{NL}
Selects diversion @var{number}, making it current, then copy
@var{str} in the current diversion.  @var{number} may be a negative
number for a non-existing diversion.  To merely specify an active
selection, use this command with an empty @var{str}.  With 0 as the
diversion @var{number}, @var{str} will be issued on standard output
at reload time.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} will not produce the @samp{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.

@item F @var{len1} , @var{len2} @key{NL} @var{str1} @var{str2} @key{NL}
Defines, through @code{pushdef}, a definition for @var{str1}
expanding to the function whose builtin name is @var{str2}.  If the
builtin does not exist (for example, if the frozen file was produced by
a copy of @code{m4} compiled with changeword support, but the version
of @code{m4} reloading was compiled without it), the reload is silent,
but any subsequent use of the definition of @var{str1} will result in
a warning.  This directive may appear more than once for the same name,
and its order, along with @samp{T}, is important.  If omitted, you will
have no access to any builtins.

@item Q @var{len1} , @var{len2} @key{NL} @var{str1} @var{str2} @key{NL}
Uses @var{str1} and @var{str2} as the begin-quote and end-quote
strings.  If omitted, then @samp{`} and @samp{'} are the quote
delimiters.

@item T @var{len1} , @var{len2} @key{NL} @var{str1} @var{str2} @key{NL}
Defines, though @code{pushdef}, a definition for @var{str1}
expanding to the text given by @var{str2}.  This directive may appear
more than once for the same name, and its order, along with @samp{F}, is
important.

@item V @var{number} @key{NL}
Confirms the format of the file.  @code{m4} @value{VERSION} only creates
and understands frozen files where @var{number} is 1.  This directive
must be the first non-comment in the file, and may not appear more than
once.
@end table

@node Compatibility
@chapter Compatibility with other versions of @code{m4}

@cindex compatibility
This chapter describes the differences between this implementation of
@code{m4}, and the implementation found under UNIX, notably System V,
Release 3.

There are also differences in BSD flavors of @code{m4}.  No attempt
is made to summarize these here.

@menu
* Extensions::                  Extensions in @acronym{GNU} M4
* Incompatibilities::           Facilities in System V m4 not in GNU M4
* Other Incompatibilities::     Other incompatibilities
@end menu

@node Extensions
@section Extensions in @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}

@cindex @acronym{GNU} extensions
This version of @code{m4} contains a few facilities that do not exist
in System V @code{m4}.  These extra facilities are all suppressed by
using the @option{-G} command line option (@pxref{Invoking m4}), unless
overridden by other command line options.

@itemize @bullet
@item
In the @code{$}@var{n} notation for macro arguments, @var{n} can contain
several digits, while the System V @code{m4} only accepts one digit.
This allows macros in @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} to take any number of
arguments, and not only nine (@pxref{Arguments}).

This means that @code{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:

@example
define(`a1', `A1')
@result{}
dnl First argument, concatenated with 1
define(`_1', `$1')define(`first1', `_1($@@)1')
@result{}
dnl Eleventh argument, portable
define(`_9', `$9')define(`eleventh', `_9(shift(shift($@@)))')
@result{}
dnl Eleventh argument, GNU style
define(`Eleventh', `$11')
@result{}
first1(`a', `b', `c', `d', `e', `f', `g', `h', `i', `j', `k')
@result{}A1
eleventh(`a', `b', `c', `d', `e', `f', `g', `h', `i', `j', `k')
@result{}k
Eleventh(`a', `b', `c', `d', `e', `f', `g', `h', `i', `j', `k')
@result{}k
@end example

@item
The @code{divert} (@pxref{Divert}) macro can manage more than 9
diversions.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} treats all positive numbers as valid
diversions, rather than discarding diversions greater than 9.

@item
Files included with @code{include} and @code{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 @option{-I} option and the
@env{M4PATH} environment variable (@pxref{Search Path}).

@item
Arguments to @code{undivert} can be non-numeric, in which case the named
file will be included uninterpreted in the output (@pxref{Undivert}).

@item
Formatted output is supported through the @code{format} builtin, which
is modeled after the C library function @code{printf} (@pxref{Format}).

@item
Searches and text substitution through regular expressions are
supported by the @code{regexp} (@pxref{Regexp}) and @code{patsubst}
(@pxref{Patsubst}) builtins.

@item
The output of shell commands can be read into @code{m4} with
@code{esyscmd} (@pxref{Esyscmd}).

@item
There is indirect access to any builtin macro with @code{builtin}
(@pxref{Builtin}).

@item
Macros can be called indirectly through @code{indir} (@pxref{Indir}).

@item
The name of the program, the current input file, and the current input
line number are accessible through the builtins @code{__program__},
@code{__file__}, and @code{__line__} (@pxref{Location}).

@item
The format of the output from @code{dumpdef} and macro tracing can be
controlled with @code{debugmode} (@pxref{Debug Levels}).

@item
The destination of trace and debug output can be controlled with
@code{debugfile} (@pxref{Debug Output}).
@end itemize

In addition to the above extensions, @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} implements the
following command line options: @option{-F}, @option{-G}, @option{-I},
@option{-L}, @option{-R}, @option{-V}, @option{-W}, @option{-d},
@option{-l}, @option{-o} and @option{-t}.  @xref{Invoking m4}, for a
description of these options.

Also, the debugging and tracing facilities in @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} are much
more extensive than in most other versions of @code{m4}.

@node Incompatibilities
@section Facilities in System V @code{m4} not in @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}

The version of @code{m4} from System V contains a few facilities that
have not been implemented in @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} yet.  Additionally,
@acronym{POSIX} requires some behaviors that @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} has not
implemented yet.  Relying on these behaviors is non-portable, as a
future release of @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} may change.

@itemize @bullet
@item
System V @code{m4} supports multiple arguments to @code{defn}, and
@acronym{POSIX} requires it.  This is not yet implemented in @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4}.  Unfortunately, this means it is not possible to mix builtins
and other text into a single macro; a helper macro is required.

@item
@acronym{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 @code{include} (@pxref{Include}) when a file is unreadable,
@code{eval} (@pxref{Eval}) when an argument cannot be parsed, or using
@code{m4exit} (@pxref{M4exit}) with a non-numeric argument).

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires @code{m4wrap} (@pxref{M4wrap}) to act in FIFO
(first-in, first-out) order, but @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} currently uses
LIFO order.  Furthermore, @acronym{POSIX} states that only the first
argument to @code{m4wrap} is saved for later evaluation, bug
@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} saves and processes all arguments, with output
separated by spaces.

However, it is possible to emulate @acronym{POSIX} behavior by
including the file @file{examples/@/wrapfifo.m4} from the distribution:

@example
undivert(`wrapfifo.m4')dnl
@result{}dnl Redefine m4wrap to have FIFO semantics.
@result{}define(`_m4wrap_level', `0')dnl
@result{}define(`m4wrap',
@result{}`ifdef(`m4wrap'_m4wrap_level,
@result{}       `define(`m4wrap'_m4wrap_level,
@result{}               defn(`m4wrap'_m4wrap_level)`$1')',
@result{}       `builtin(`m4wrap', `define(`_m4wrap_level',
@result{}                                  incr(_m4wrap_level))dnl
@result{}m4wrap'_m4wrap_level)dnl
@result{}define(`m4wrap'_m4wrap_level, `$1')')')dnl
include(`wrapfifo.m4')
@result{}
m4wrap(`a`'m4wrap(`c
', `d')')m4wrap(`b')
@result{}
^D
@result{}abc
@end example

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires that all builtins that require arguments, but
are called without arguments, behave as though empty strings had been
passed.  For example, @code{a`'define`'b} would expand to @code{ab}.
But @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} ignores certain builtins if they have missing
arguments, giving @code{adefineb} for the above example.

@item
Traditional implementations handle @code{define(`f',`1')} (@pxref{Define})
by undefining the entire stack of previous definitions, and if doing
@code{undefine(`f')} first.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} replaces just the top
definition on the stack, as if doing @code{popdef(`f')} followed by
@code{pushdef(`f',`1')}.

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires @code{syscmd} (@pxref{Syscmd}) to evaluate
command output for macro expansion, but this appears to be a mistake
in @acronym{POSIX} since traditional implementations did not do this.
@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} follows traditional behavior in @code{syscmd}, and
provides the extension @code{esyscmd} that provides the @acronym{POSIX}
semantics.

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires @code{maketemp} (@pxref{Maketemp}) to replace
the trailing @samp{X} characters with the @code{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.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} actually creates a temporary
file for each invocation of @code{maketemp}, which means that the output
of the macro is different even if the input is identical.

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires @code{changequote(@var{arg})}
(@pxref{Changequote}) to use newline as the close quote, but @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} uses @samp{'} as the close quote.  Meanwhile, some
traditional implementations use @var{arg} as the close quote, making it
impossible to nest quotes.  For predictable results, never call
changequote with just one argument.

@item
Some implementations of @code{m4} give macros a higher precedence than
comments when parsing, meaning that if the start delimiter given to
@code{changecom} (@pxref{Changecom}) starts with a macro name, comments
are effectively disabled.  @acronym{POSIX} does not specify what the
precedence is, so the @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} parser recognizes comments, then
macros, then quoted strings.

@item
Traditional implementations allow argument collection, but not string
and comment processing, to span file boundaries.  Thus, if @file{a.m4}
contains @samp{len(}, and @file{b.m4} contains @samp{abc)},
@kbd{m4 a.m4 b.m4} outputs @samp{3} with traditional @code{m4}, but
gives an error message that the end of file was encountered inside a
macro with @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}.  On the other hand, traditional
implementations do end of file processing for files included with
@code{include} or @code{sinclude} (@pxref{Include}), while @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} seamlessly integrates the content of those files.  Thus
@code{include(`a.m4')include(`b.m4')} will output @samp{3} instead of
giving an error.

@item
Traditional @code{m4} treats @code{traceon} (@pxref{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 @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} encounters
@code{traceon} without
arguments, it turns tracing on for all existing definitions at the time,
but does not trace future definitions; @code{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 @option{-tfoo} at
the command line or @code{traceon(`foo')} in the input, is an attribute
that is preserved even if the macro is currently undefined.

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires @code{eval} (@pxref{Eval}) to treat all
operators with the same precedence as C.  However, @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}
currently follows the traditional precedence of other @code{m4}
implementations, where bitwise and logical negation (@samp{~} and
@samp{!}) have lower precedence than equality operators, rather than
equal precedence with other unary operators.  Use explicit parentheses
to ensure proper precedence.  As extensions to @acronym{POSIX}, @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} treats the shift operators @samp{<<} and @samp{>>} as
well-defined on signed integers (even though they are not in C), and
adds the exponentiation operator @samp{**}.

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires @code{translit} (@pxref{Translit}) to treat
each character of the second and third arguments literally, but @acronym{GNU}
@code{m4} treats @samp{-} as a range operator.

@item
@acronym{POSIX} requires @code{m4} to honor the locale environment
variables of @env{LANG}, @env{LC_ALL}, @env{LC_CTYPE},
@env{LC_MESSAGES}, and @env{NLSPATH}, but this has not yet been
implemented in @acronym{GNU} @code{m4}.
@end itemize

@node Other Incompatibilities
@section Other incompatibilities

There are a few other incompatibilities between this implementation of
@code{m4}, and the System V version.

@itemize @bullet
@item
@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} implements sync lines differently from System V
@code{m4}, when text is being diverted.  @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} outputs
the sync lines when the text is being diverted, and System V @code{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 @code{m4} regards all the
diverted text as being generated by the source line containing the
@code{undivert} call, whereas @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} regards the
diverted text as being generated at the time it is diverted.

The sync line option is used mostly when using @code{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.

@item
@acronym{GNU} @code{m4} makes no attempt at prohibiting self-referential
definitions like:

@comment ignore
@example
define(`x', `x')
@result{}
define(`x', `x ')
@result{}
@end example

There is nothing inherently wrong with defining @samp{x} to
return @samp{x}.  The wrong thing is to expand @samp{x} unquoted.
In @code{m4}, one might use macros to hold strings, as we do for
variables in other programming languages, further checking them with:

@comment ignore
@example
ifelse(defn(`@var{holder}'), `@var{value}', @dots{})
@end example

@noindent
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 @acronym{GNU} @code{m4} user to hang himself!  Rescanning hangs may be
avoided through careful programming, a little like for endless loops
in traditional programming languages.
@end itemize

@node Answers
@chapter Correct version of some examples

Some of the examples in this manuals are buggy, for demonstration
purposes.  Correctly working macros are presented here.

The @code{exch} macro (@pxref{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 @code{exch}, as
follows:

@example
define(`exch', ``$2', `$1'')
@result{}
define(exch(`expansion text', `macro'))
@result{}
macro
@result{}expansion text
@end example

The @code{cleardivert} macro (@pxref{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:

@example
define(`cleardivert',
  `pushdef(`_n', divnum)divert(`-1')undivert($@@)divert(_n)popdef(`_n')')
@result{}
divert(`1')one
divert
@result{}
cleardivert
@result{}
undivert
@result{}one
@result{}
define(`cleardivert',
  `pushdef(`_num', divnum)divert(`-1')ifelse(`$#', `0',
    `undivert`'', `undivert($@@)')divert(_num)popdef(`_num')')
@result{}
divert(`2')two
divert
@result{}
cleardivert
@result{}
undivert
@result{}
@end example

The @code{fatal_error} macro (@pxref{M4exit}) does not quite match the
format of internal error messages when invoked inside wrapped text, due
to the current limitations of @code{__file__} (@pxref{Location}) when
invoked inside @code{m4wrap}.  Since @code{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:

@example
define(`fatal_error',
  `errprint(__program__:ifelse(__line__, `0', `',
    `__file__:__line__:')` fatal error: $*
')m4exit(`1')')
@result{}
m4wrap(`divnum(`demo of internal message')
fatal_error(`inside wrapped text')')
@result{}
^D
@error{}m4: Warning: excess arguments to builtin `divnum' ignored
@result{}0
@error{}m4: fatal error: inside wrapped text
@end example

@c ========================================================== Appendices

@node Copying This Manual
@appendix Copying This Manual
@cindex License

@menu
* GNU Free Documentation License::  License for copying this manual
@end menu

@include fdl.texi

@node Indices
@appendix Indices

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

@node Concept index
@appendixsec Concept index

@printindex cp

@node Macro index
@appendixsec Macro index

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

@iftex
@sp 1
@end iftex

@printindex fn

@bye

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