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8.8 Yacc and Lex support

Automake has somewhat idiosyncratic support for Yacc and Lex.

Automake assumes that the .c file generated by yacc (or lex) should be named using the basename of the input file. That is, for a yacc source file foo.y, Automake will cause the intermediate file to be named foo.c (as opposed to, which is more traditional).

The extension of a yacc source file is used to determine the extension of the resulting C or C++ file. Files with the extension .y will be turned into .c files; likewise, .yy will become .cc; .y++, c++; .yxx, .cxx; and .ypp, .cpp.

Likewise, lex source files can be used to generate C or C++; the extensions .l, .ll, .l++, .lxx, and .lpp are recognized.

You should never explicitly mention the intermediate (C or C++) file in any SOURCES variable; only list the source file.

The intermediate files generated by yacc (or lex) will be included in any distribution that is made. That way the user doesn’t need to have yacc or lex.

If a yacc source file is seen, then your must define the variable YACC. This is most easily done by invoking the macro AC_PROG_YACC (see Particular Program Checks in The Autoconf Manual).

When yacc is invoked, it is passed YFLAGS and AM_YFLAGS. The former is a user variable and the latter is intended for the author.

AM_YFLAGS is usually used to pass the -d option to yacc. Automake knows what this means and will automatically adjust its rules to update and distribute the header file built by ‘yacc -d’. What Automake cannot guess, though, is where this header will be used: it is up to you to ensure the header gets built before it is first used. Typically this is necessary in order for dependency tracking to work when the header is included by another file. The common solution is listing the header file in BUILT_SOURCES (see Built sources) as follows.

BUILT_SOURCES = parser.h
bin_PROGRAMS = foo
foo_SOURCES = … parser.y …

If a lex source file is seen, then your must define the variable LEX. You can use AC_PROG_LEX to do this (see Particular Program Checks in The Autoconf Manual), but using AM_PROG_LEX macro (see Autoconf macros supplied with Automake) is recommended.

When lex is invoked, it is passed LFLAGS and AM_LFLAGS. The former is a user variable and the latter is intended for the author.

When AM_MAINTAINER_MODE (see missing and AM_MAINTAINER_MODE) is used, the rebuild rule for distributed Yacc and Lex sources are only used when maintainer-mode is enabled, or when the files have been erased.

When lex or yacc sources are used, automake -i automatically installs an auxiliary program called ylwrap in your package (see Programs automake might require). This program is used by the build rules to rename the output of these tools, and makes it possible to include multiple yacc (or lex) source files in a single directory. (This is necessary because yacc’s output file name is fixed, and a parallel make could conceivably invoke more than one instance of yacc simultaneously.)

For yacc, simply managing locking is insufficient. The output of yacc always uses the same symbol names internally, so it isn’t possible to link two yacc parsers into the same executable.

We recommend using the following renaming hack used in gdb:

#define yymaxdepth c_maxdepth
#define yyparse c_parse
#define yylex   c_lex
#define yyerror c_error
#define yylval  c_lval
#define yychar  c_char
#define yydebug c_debug
#define yypact  c_pact
#define yyr1    c_r1
#define yyr2    c_r2
#define yydef   c_def
#define yychk   c_chk
#define yypgo   c_pgo
#define yyact   c_act
#define yyexca  c_exca
#define yyerrflag c_errflag
#define yynerrs c_nerrs
#define yyps    c_ps
#define yypv    c_pv
#define yys     c_s
#define yy_yys  c_yys
#define yystate c_state
#define yytmp   c_tmp
#define yyv     c_v
#define yy_yyv  c_yyv
#define yyval   c_val
#define yylloc  c_lloc
#define yyreds  c_reds
#define yytoks  c_toks
#define yylhs   c_yylhs
#define yylen   c_yylen
#define yydefred c_yydefred
#define yydgoto  c_yydgoto
#define yysindex c_yysindex
#define yyrindex c_yyrindex
#define yygindex c_yygindex
#define yytable  c_yytable
#define yycheck  c_yycheck
#define yyname   c_yyname
#define yyrule   c_yyrule

For each define, replace the ‘c_’ prefix with whatever you like. These defines work for bison, byacc, and traditional yaccs. If you find a parser generator that uses a symbol not covered here, please report the new name so it can be added to the list.

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