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Re: silly question about editor

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: silly question about editor
Date: Thu, 05 Mar 2009 22:26:49 -0700
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[please don't top-post on technical lists]

According to aaragon on 3/5/2009 9:08 AM:
> I guess what I mean is that if you put an space between the MACRO and the
> starting parenthesis, the macro fails and it's not like the error will point
> you to the line in the file. Besides it's quite hard to keep
> track of all closing parenthesis and to get the quotation right. So there
> has to be a better way to deal with this than just using a plain text
> editor.

The m4 language is very specific - you can't put space between the macro
name and the opening parenthesis, otherwise, you are invoking the macro
without arguments and the parenthesis are output as literal text.  If you
want, you can submit a patch to the autoconf manual to make this even more
apparent (I thought it might be in,
but a quick read didn't make it obvious on macro calling convention).  And
unfortunately, since invoking macros with empty arguments often makes
sense, it means that the m4 language itself provides no way to make nice
error reporting for certain user errors.

Using emacs does help, though, since the autoconf major mode makes it easy
to match parenthesis.

- --
Don't work too hard, make some time for fun as well!

Eric Blake             address@hidden
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (Cygwin)
Comment: Public key at
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -


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