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6.3 Running the Preprocessor

Sometimes one might need to run the preprocessor on some source file. Usually it is a bad idea, as you typically need to compile your project, not merely run the preprocessor on it; therefore you certainly want to run the compiler, not the preprocessor. Resist the temptation of following the easiest path.

Nevertheless, if you need to run the preprocessor, then use AC_PREPROC_IFELSE.

The macros described in this section cannot be used for tests in Erlang or Fortran, since those languages require no preprocessor.

— Macro: AC_PREPROC_IFELSE (input, [action-if-true], [action-if-false])

Run the preprocessor of the current language (see Language Choice) on the input, run the shell commands action-if-true on success, action-if-false otherwise. The input can be made by AC_LANG_PROGRAM and friends.

This macro uses CPPFLAGS, but not CFLAGS, because -g, -O, etc. are not valid options to many C preprocessors.

It is customary to report unexpected failures with AC_MSG_FAILURE.

For instance:

     AC_INIT([Hello], [1.0], [[email protected]])
     AC_DEFINE([HELLO_WORLD], ["Hello, World\n"],
       [Greetings string.])
        [AC_LANG_PROGRAM([[const char hw[] = "Hello, World\n";]],
                         [[fputs (hw, stdout);]])],
        [AC_MSG_FAILURE([unexpected preprocessor failure])])

results in:

     checking for gcc... gcc
     checking for C compiler default output file name... a.out
     checking whether the C compiler works... yes
     checking whether we are cross compiling... no
     checking for suffix of executables...
     checking for suffix of object files... o
     checking whether we are using the GNU C compiler... yes
     checking whether gcc accepts -g... yes
     checking for gcc option to accept ISO C89... none needed
     checking how to run the C preprocessor... gcc -E

The macro AC_TRY_CPP (see Obsolete Macros) used to play the
role of AC_PREPROC_IFELSE, but double quotes its argument, making
it impossible to use it to elaborate sources. You are encouraged to
get rid of your old use of the macro AC_TRY_CPP in favor of
AC_PREPROC_IFELSE, but, in the first place, are you sure you need
to run the preprocessor and not the compiler?
— Macro: AC_EGREP_HEADER (pattern, header-file, action-if-found, [action-if-not-found])

If the output of running the preprocessor on the system header file header-file matches the extended regular expression pattern, execute shell commands action-if-found, otherwise execute action-if-not-found.

— Macro: AC_EGREP_CPP (pattern, program, [action-if-found], [action-if-not-found])

program is the text of a C or C++ program, on which shell variable, back quote, and backslash substitutions are performed. If the output of running the preprocessor on program matches the extended regular expression pattern, execute shell commands action-if-found, otherwise execute action-if-not-found.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire