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Version: 1.3.0


A preprocessor is a tool that reads a text file and, if some special instructions, called preprocessing directives, are found in the input, the output may not be an identical copy, for example some parts can be skipped. We document here the preprocessor shipped with the LIGO compiler.

This preprocessor features different kinds of directives:

  • directives found in the standard preprocessor for the language C#;

  • a directive from cpp, the C preprocessor, enabling the textual inclusion of files;

  • a directive specific to LIGO to support a minimal module system.

Importantly, strings and comments are handled the way cpp does --- not C#.

In the following subsections, we shall briefly present those directives. Here, we state some properties which hold for all of them.

  • They must start with a # symbol at the beginning of a line.

  • Wrongly spelled directives or unsupported ones are ignored without warning, and therefore will appear in the output.

  • They can have arguments in the form of free text or strings. (Anything after the directive name is considered a potential argument.)

  • String arguments must be enclosed between double quotes and cannot span over two or more lines.

  • The valid preprocessing of a directive leaves in its place an empty line (that is, a newline character) or another directive, to be picked up by other tools, like lexers.

  • Newline characters are never discarded, to preserve the line numbers of copied text.