Many applications, like interpreters or compilers, have to produce verbose and useful error messages. To achieve this, one must be able to keep track of the textual location, or location, of each syntactic construct. Bison provides a mechanism for handling these locations.
Each token has a semantic value. In a similar fashion, each token has an associated location, but the type of locations is the same for all tokens and groupings. Moreover, the output parser is equipped with a default data structure for storing locations (see Locations, for more details).
Like semantic values, locations can be reached in actions using a dedicated
set of constructs. In the example above, the location of the whole grouping
@$, while the locations of the subexpressions are
When a rule is matched, a default action is used to compute the semantic value
of its left hand side (see Actions). In the same way, another default
action is used for locations. However, the action for locations is general
enough for most cases, meaning there is usually no need to describe for each
@$ should be formed. When building a new location for a given
grouping, the default behavior of the output parser is to take the beginning
of the first symbol, and the end of the last symbol.