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2.1.6 Running Bison to Make the Parser

Before running Bison to produce a parser, we need to decide how to arrange all the source code in one or more source files. For such a simple example, the easiest thing is to put everything in one file, the grammar file. The definitions of yylex, yyerror and main go at the end, in the epilogue of the grammar file (see The Overall Layout of a Bison Grammar).

For a large project, you would probably have several source files, and use make to arrange to recompile them.

With all the source in the grammar file, you use the following command to convert it into a parser implementation file:

$ bison file.y

In this example, the grammar file is called rpcalc.y (for “Reverse Polish CALCulator”). Bison produces a parser implementation file named, removing the ‘.y’ from the grammar file name. The parser implementation file contains the source code for yyparse. The additional functions in the grammar file (yylex, yyerror and main) are copied verbatim to the parser implementation file.