flexdoc - fast lexical analyzer generator

     flex [-bcdfinpstvFILT8 -C[efmF] -Sskeleton] [filename ...]

     flex is a tool for generating scanners: programs which recognized lexical
     patterns  in  text.   flex  reads  the given input files, or its standard
     input if no file names are given, for  a  description  of  a  scanner  to
     generate.  The description is in the form of pairs of regular expressions
     and C code, called rules. flex generates  as  output  a  C  source  file,
     lex.yy.c,  which  defines  a  routine  yylex(). This file is compiled and
     linked with  the  -lfl  library  to  produce  an  executable.   When  the
     executable  is  run, it analyzes its input for occurrences of the regular
     expressions.  Whenever it finds one,  it  executes  the  corresponding  C


     First some simple examples to get the flavor of how one  uses  flex.  The
     following flex input specifies a scanner which whenever it encounters the
     string "username" will replace it with the user's login name:

         username    printf( "%s", getlogin() );

     By default, any text not matched by a  flex  scanner  is  copied  to  the
     output,  so  the  net effect of this scanner is to copy its input file to
     its output with each occurrence of "username" expanded.  In  this  input,
     there  is  just  one rule.  "username" is the pattern and the "printf" is
     the action. The "%%" marks the beginning of the rules.

     Here's another simple example:

             int num_lines = 0, num_chars = 0;

         \n    ++num_lines; ++num_chars;
         .     ++num_chars;

             printf( "# of lines = %d, # of chars = %d\n",
                     num_lines, num_chars );

     This scanner counts the number of characters and the number of  lines  in
     its input (it produces no output other  than  the  final  report  on  the
     counts).    The   first   line  declares  two  globals,  "num_lines"  and
     "num_chars", which are accessible both inside yylex() and in  the  main()
     routine  declared  after the second "%%".  There are two rules, one which
     matches a newline ("\n") and increments  both  the  line  count  and  the
     character count, and one which matches any character other than a newline
     (indicated by the "." regular expression).

     A somewhat more complicated example:

         /* scanner for a toy Pascal-like language */

         /* need this for the call to atof() below */
         #include <math.h>

         DIGIT    [0-9]
         ID       [a-z][a-z0-9]*


         {DIGIT}+    {
                     printf( "An integer: %s (%d)\n", yytext,
                             atoi( yytext ) );

         {DIGIT}+"."{DIGIT}*        {
                     printf( "A float: %s (%g)\n", yytext,
                             atof( yytext ) );

         if|then|begin|end|procedure|function        {
                     printf( "A keyword: %s\n", yytext );

         {ID}        printf( "An identifier: %s\n", yytext );

         "+"|"-"|"*"|"/"   printf( "An operator: %s\n", yytext );

         "{"[^}\n]*"}"     /* eat up one-line comments */

         [ \t\n]+          /* eat up whitespace */

         .           printf( "Unrecognized character: %s\n", yytext );


         main( argc, argv )
         int argc;
         char **argv;
             ++argv, --argc;  /* skip over program name */
             if ( argc > 0 )
                     yyin = fopen( argv[0], "r" );
                     yyin = stdin;


     This is the beginnings of a simple scanner for a  language  like  Pascal.
     It identifies different types of tokens and reports on what it has seen.

     The details of this example will be explained in the following sections.

     The flex input file consists of three sections, separated by a line  with
     just %% in it:

         user code

     The definitions section contains declarations of simple name  definitions
     to   simplify  the  scanner  specification,  and  declarations  of  start
     conditions, which are explained in a later section.

     Name definitions have the form:

         name definition

     The "name" is a word beginning with  a  letter  or  an  underscore  ('_')
     followed  by  zero  or  more  letters,  digits,  '_', or '-' (dash).  The
     definition is taken to  begin  at  the  first  non-white-space  character
     following the name and continuing to the end of the line.  The definition
     can subsequently be referred to using  "{name}",  which  will  expand  to
     "(definition)".  For example,

         DIGIT    [0-9]
         ID       [a-z][a-z0-9]*

     defines "DIGIT" to be a regular expression which matches a single  digit,
     and  "ID"  to  be a regular expression which matches a letter followed by
     zero-or-more letters-or-digits.  A subsequent reference to


     is identical to


     and matches one-or-more digits followed by a '.' followed by zero-or-more

     The rules section of the flex input contains a series  of  rules  of  the

         pattern   action

     where the pattern must be unindented and the action  must  begin  on  the
     same line.

     See below for a further description of patterns and actions.

     Finally, the user code section is simply copied to lex.yy.c verbatim.  It
     is  used  for companion routines which call or are called by the scanner.
     The presence of this section is optional; if it is missing, the second %%
     in the input file may be skipped, too.

     In the definitions and rules sections, any indented text or text enclosed
     in  %{  and %} is copied verbatim to the output (with the %{}'s removed).
     The %{}'s must appear unindented on lines by themselves.

     In the rules section, any indented or %{} text appearing before the first
     rule  may  be  used  to declare variables which are local to the scanning
     routine and (after  the  declarations)  code  which  is  to  be  executed
     whenever  the scanning routine is entered.  Other indented or %{} text in
     the rule section is still copied to the output, but its  meaning  is  not
     well-defined  and  it may well cause compile-time errors (this feature is
     present for POSIX compliance; see below for other such features).

     In the definitions section, an unindented comment (i.e., a line beginning
     with  "/*")  is  also  copied verbatim to the output up to the next "*/".
     Also, any line in the definitions section beginning with '#' is  ignored,
     though this style of comment is deprecated and may go away in the future.

     The patterns in the input are written using an extended  set  of  regular
     expressions.  These are:

         x          match the character 'x'
         .          any character except newline
         [xyz]      a "character class"; in this case, the pattern
                      matches either an 'x', a 'y', or a 'z'
         [abj-oZ]   a "character class" with a range in it; matches
                      an 'a', a 'b', any letter from 'j' through 'o',
                      or a 'Z'

         [^A-Z]     a "negated character class", i.e., any character
                      but those in the class.  In this case, any
                      character EXCEPT an uppercase letter.
         [^A-Z\n]   any character EXCEPT an uppercase letter or
                      a newline
         r*         zero or more r's, where r is any regular expression
         r+         one or more r's
         r?         zero or one r's (that is, "an optional r")
         r{2,5}     anywhere from two to five r's
         r{2,}      two or more r's
         r{4}       exactly 4 r's
         {name}     the expansion of the "name" definition
                    (see above)
                    the literal string: [xyz]"foo
         \X         if X is an 'a', 'b', 'f', 'n', 'r', 't', or 'v',
                      then the ANSI-C interpretation of \x.
                      Otherwise, a literal 'X' (used to escape
                      operators such as '*')
         \123       the character with octal value 123
         \x2a       the character with hexadecimal value 2a
         (r)        match an r; parentheses are used to override
                      precedence (see below)

         rs         the regular expression r followed by the
                      regular expression s; called "concatenation"

         r|s        either an r or an s

         r/s        an r but only if it is followed by an s.  The
                      s is not part of the matched text.  This type
                      of pattern is called as "trailing context".
         ^r         an r, but only at the beginning of a line
         r$         an r, but only at the end of a line.  Equivalent
                      to "r/\n".

         <s>r       an r, but only in start condition s (see
                    below for discussion of start conditions)
                    same, but in any of start conditions s1,
                    s2, or s3

         <<EOF>>    an end-of-file
                    an end-of-file when in start condition s1 or s2

     The regular expressions listed above are grouped according to precedence,
     from  highest  precedence  at  the  top  to  lowest at the bottom.  Those
     grouped together have equal precedence.  For example,


     is the same as


     since the '*' operator has  higher  precedence  than  concatenation,  and
     concatenation  higher  than  alternation  ('|').   This pattern therefore
     matches either the string "foo" or the string "ba" followed  by  zero-or-
     more r's.  To match "foo" or zero-or-more "bar"'s, use:


     and to match zero-or-more "foo"'s-or-"bar"'s:


     Some notes on patterns:

     -    A negated character class such as the example  "[^A-Z]"  above  will
          match  a  newline  unless "\n" (or an equivalent escape sequence) is
          one of the characters explicitly present in  the  negated  character
          class  (e.g.,  "[^A-Z\n]").   This  is unlike how many other regular
          expression tools treat negated character classes, but  unfortunately
          the  inconsistency  is  historically  entrenched.  Matching newlines
          means  that  a  pattern  like  [^"]*  can  match  an  entire   input
          (overflowing  the  scanner's  input  buffer)  unless there's another
          quote in the input.

     -    A rule can have at most one instance of trailing  context  (the  '/'
          operator  or  the  '$'  operator).   The  start  condition, '^', and
          "<<EOF>>" patterns can only occur at the  beginning  of  a  pattern,
          and,  as  well  as  with  '/'  and  '$',  cannot  be  grouped inside
          parentheses.  A '^' which does not occur at the beginning of a  rule
          or a '$' which does not occur at the end of a rule loses its special
          properties and is treated as a normal character.

          The following are illegal:


          Note that the first of these, can be written "foo/bar\n".

          The following will result in '$' or '^' being treated  as  a  normal


          If what's wanted is a  "foo"  or  a  bar-followed-by-a-newline,  the
          following could be used (the special '|' action is explained below):

              foo      |
              bar$     /* action goes here */

          A similar trick will work  for  matching  a  foo  or  a  bar-at-the-

     When the generated scanner is run, it  analyzes  its  input  looking  for
     strings  which  match  any  of  its  patterns.  If it finds more than one
     match, it takes the one matching the  most  text  (for  trailing  context
     rules, this includes the length of the trailing part, even though it will
     then be returned to the input).  If it finds two or more matches  of  the
     same length, the rule listed first in the flex input file is chosen.

     Once the match is determined, the text corresponding to the match (called
     the  token) is made available in the global character pointer yytext, and
     its length in the global integer yyleng. The action corresponding to  the
     matched  pattern is then executed (a more detailed description of actions
     follows), and then the remaining input is scanned for another match.

     If no match is found,  then  the  default  rule  is  executed:  the  next
     character  in  the input is considered matched and copied to the standard
     output.  Thus, the simplest legal flex input is:


     which generates a scanner that simply copies its input (one character  at
     a time) to its output.

     Each pattern in a rule has a  corresponding  action,  which  can  be  any
     arbitrary  C  statement.   The  pattern  ends  at  the  first non-escaped
     whitespace character; the remainder of the line is its  action.   If  the
     action  is  empty,  then  when  the pattern is matched the input token is
     simply discarded.  For example, here is the specification for  a  program
     which deletes all occurrences of "zap me" from its input:

         "zap me"

     (It will copy all other characters in the input to the output since  they
     will be matched by the default rule.)

     Here is a program which compresses multiple blanks and  tabs  down  to  a
     single blank, and throws away whitespace found at the end of a line:

         [ \t]+        putchar( ' ' );
         [ \t]+$       /* ignore this token */

     If the action contains a '{', then the action spans  till  the  balancing
     '}'  is found, and the action may cross multiple lines.  flex knows about
     C strings and comments and won't be fooled by braces found  within  them,
     but  also allows actions to begin with %{ and will consider the action to
     be all the text up to the next %} (regardless of ordinary  braces  inside
     the action).

     An action consisting solely of a vertical bar ('|') means  "same  as  the
     action for the next rule."  See below for an illustration.

     Actions can include arbitrary C  code,  including  return  statements  to
     return  a  value to whatever routine called yylex(). Each time yylex() is
     called it continues processing tokens from where it last left  off  until
     it  either  reaches  the  end  of the file or executes a return.  Once it
     reaches an end-of-file, however, then any subsequent call to yylex() will
     simply  immediately  return,  unless  yyrestart()  is  first  called (see

     Actions are not allowed to modify yytext or yyleng.

     There are a number of special directives which can be included within  an

     -    ECHO copies yytext to the scanner's output.

     -    BEGIN followed by the name of a start condition places  the  scanner
          in the corresponding start condition (see below).

     -    REJECT directs the scanner to proceed on to the "second  best"  rule
          which  matched  the  input  (or a prefix of the input).  The rule is
          chosen as described above in "How the Input is Matched", and  yytext
          and yyleng set up appropriately.  It may either be one which matched
          as much text as the originally chosen rule but  came  later  in  the
          flex  input  file, or one which matched less text.  For example, the
          following will both count the  words  in  the  input  and  call  the
          routine special() whenever "frob" is seen:

                      int word_count = 0;

              frob        special(); REJECT;
              [^ \t\n]+   ++word_count;

          Without the REJECT, any "frob"'s in the input would not  be  counted
          as  words,  since  the scanner normally executes only one action per
          token.  Multiple REJECT's are allowed, each  one  finding  the  next
          best  choice  to  the  currently active rule.  For example, when the
          following scanner scans the token "abcd", it will write "abcdabcaba"
          to the output:

              a        |
              ab       |
              abc      |
              abcd     ECHO; REJECT;
              .|\n     /* eat up any unmatched character */

          (The first three rules share the fourth's action since they use  the
          special  '|' action.)  REJECT is a particularly expensive feature in
          terms scanner performance; if it is used in  any  of  the  scanner's
          actions   it   will   slow  down  all  of  the  scanner's  matching.
          Furthermore, REJECT cannot be used with the -f or  -F  options  (see

          Note also that unlike the other special actions, REJECT is a branch;
          code immediately following it in the action will not be executed.

     -    yymore() tells the scanner that the next time it matches a rule, the
          corresponding  token  should  be  appended onto the current value of
          yytext rather than replacing  it.   For  example,  given  the  input
          "mega-kludge"  the  following  will  write "mega-mega-kludge" to the

              mega-    ECHO; yymore();
              kludge   ECHO;

          First "mega-" is matched and echoed to the output.  Then "kludge" is
          matched,  but  the  previous  "mega-" is still hanging around at the
          beginning of yytext so the ECHO for the "kludge" rule will  actually
          write  "mega-kludge".   The  presence  of  yymore() in the scanner's
          action entails a minor performance penalty in the scanner's matching

     -    yyless(n) returns all but the first  n  characters  of  the  current
          token  back  to  the input stream, where they will be rescanned when
          the scanner looks  for  the  next  match.   yytext  and  yyleng  are
          adjusted  appropriately (e.g., yyleng will now be equal to n ).  For
          example,  on  the  input  "foobar"  the  following  will  write  out
              foobar    ECHO; yyless(3);
              [a-z]+    ECHO;

          An argument of 0 to yyless  will  cause  the  entire  current  input
          string  to  be scanned again.  Unless you've changed how the scanner
          will subsequently process its input (using BEGIN, for example), this
          will result in an endless loop.

     -    unput(c) puts the character c back onto the input stream.   It  will
          be  the  next character scanned.  The following action will take the
          current token and cause it to be rescanned enclosed in parentheses.

              int i;
              unput( ')' );
              for ( i = yyleng - 1; i >= 0; --i )
                  unput( yytext[i] );
              unput( '(' );

          Note that since each unput() puts the given character  back  at  the
          beginning  of  the  input  stream, pushing back strings must be done

     -    input() reads  the  next  character  from  the  input  stream.   For
          example, the following is one way to eat up C comments:

              "/*"        {
                          register int c;

                          for ( ; ; )
                              while ( (c = input()) != '*' &&
                                      c != EOF )
                                  ;    /* eat up text of comment */

                              if ( c == '*' )
                                  while ( (c = input()) == '*' )
                                  if ( c == '/' )
                                      break;    /* found the end */

                              if ( c == EOF )
                                  error( "EOF in comment" );

          (Note that if the scanner is compiled using  C++,  then  input()  is
          instead  referred  to  as  yyinput(), in order to avoid a name clash
          with the C++ stream by the name of input.)

     -    yyterminate() can be used in  lieu  of  a  return  statement  in  an
          action.   It terminates the scanner and returns a 0 to the scanner's
          caller, indicating "all done".  Subsequent calls to the scanner will
          immediately  return  unless  preceded  by a call to yyrestart() (see
          below).  By default, yyterminate() is also called  when  an  end-of-
          file is encountered.  It is a macro and may be redefined.

     The output of flex is the file  lex.yy.c,  which  contains  the  scanning
     routine yylex(), a number of tables used by it for matching tokens, and a
     number of auxiliary routines and macros.  By default, yylex() is declared
     as follows:

         int yylex()
             ... various definitions and the actions in here ...

     (If your environment supports function prototypes, then it will  be  "int
     yylex(  void  )".)   This  definition  may  be  changed by redefining the
     "YY_DECL" macro.  For example, you could use:

         #undef YY_DECL
         #define YY_DECL float lexscan( a, b ) float a, b;

     to give the scanning routine the name lexscan,  returning  a  float,  and
     taking  two  floats as arguments.  Note that if you give arguments to the
     scanning routine using a K&R-style/non-prototyped  function  declaration,
     you must terminate the definition with a semi-colon (;).

     Whenever yylex() is called, it scans tokens from the  global  input  file
     yyin  (which defaults to stdin).  It continues until it either reaches an
     end-of-file (at which point it returns the value 0) or one of its actions
     executes  a  return statement.  In the former case, when called again the
     scanner will immediately return unless yyrestart()  is  called  to  point
     yyin  at  the new input file.  ( yyrestart() takes one argument, a FILE *
     pointer.)  In the latter case (i.e., when an action executes  a  return),
     the scanner may then be called again and it will resume scanning where it
     left off.

     By default (and for purposes of efficiency), the scanner uses block-reads
     rather  than simple getc() calls to read characters from yyin. The nature
     of how it gets its input can be controlled  by  redefining  the  YY_INPUT
     macro.   YY_INPUT's  calling sequence is "YY_INPUT(buf,result,max_size)".
     Its action is to place up to max_size characters in the  character  array
     buf  and  return  in  the  integer  variable  result either the number of
     characters read or the constant YY_NULL (0 on Unix systems)  to  indicate
     EOF.  The default YY_INPUT reads from the global file-pointer "yyin".

     A sample redefinition of YY_INPUT (in  the  definitions  section  of  the
     input file):

         #undef YY_INPUT
         #define YY_INPUT(buf,result,max_size) \
             { \
             int c = getchar(); \
             result = (c == EOF) ? YY_NULL : (buf[0] = c, 1); \

     This definition will change the input processing to occur  one  character
     at a time.

     You also can add in things like keeping track of the  input  line  number
     this way; but don't expect your scanner to go very fast.

     When the scanner receives an end-of-file  indication  from  YY_INPUT,  it
     then  checks  the  yywrap()  function.  If yywrap() returns false (zero),
     then it is assumed that the function has gone ahead and set  up  yyin  to
     point  to another input file, and scanning continues.  If it returns true
     (non-zero), then the scanner terminates, returning 0 to its caller.

     The default yywrap() always returns 1.  Presently,  to  redefine  it  you
     must  first  "#undef  yywrap", as it is currently implemented as a macro.
     As indicated by the hedging in the previous sentence, it may  be  changed
     to a true function in the near future.

     The scanner writes its ECHO output to the yyout global (default, stdout),
     which  may  be redefined by the user simply by assigning it to some other
     FILE pointer.

     flex provides a mechanism for conditionally activating rules.   Any  rule
     whose  pattern  is  prefixed  with  "<sc>"  will  only be active when the
     scanner is in the start condition named "sc".  For example,

         <STRING>[^"]*        { /* eat up the string body ... */

     will be active only when the scanner is in the "STRING" start  condition,

         <INITIAL,STRING,QUOTE>\.        { /* handle an escape ... */

     will be active only when the current start condition is either "INITIAL",
     "STRING", or "QUOTE".

     Start conditions are declared in the definitions (first) section  of  the
     input using unindented lines beginning with either %s or %x followed by a
     list of names.  The  former  declares  inclusive  start  conditions,  the
     latter  exclusive start conditions.  A start condition is activated using
     the BEGIN action.  Until the next BEGIN action is  executed,  rules  with
     the  given  start  condition  will  be  active and rules with other start
     conditions will be inactive.  If the start condition is  inclusive,  then
     rules  with  no  start  conditions  at all will also be active.  If it is
     exclusive, then only rules qualified with the  start  condition  will  be
     active.   A set of rules contingent on the same exclusive start condition
     describe a scanner which is independent of any of the other rules in  the
     flex  input.  Because of this, exclusive start conditions make it easy to
     specify "mini-scanners"  which  scan  portions  of  the  input  that  are
     syntactically different from the rest (e.g., comments).

     If the distinction between inclusive and exclusive  start  conditions  is
     still a little vague, here's a simple example illustrating the connection
     between the two.  The set of rules:

         %s example
         <example>foo           /* do something */

     is equivalent to

         %x example
         <INITIAL,example>foo   /* do something */

     The default rule (to ECHO any  unmatched  character)  remains  active  in
     start conditions.

     BEGIN(0) returns to the original state where only the rules with no start
     conditions  are active.  This state can also be referred to as the start-
     condition "INITIAL", so BEGIN(INITIAL) is equivalent  to  BEGIN(0).  (The
     parentheses  around  the  start  condition  name are not required but are
     considered good style.)

     BEGIN actions can also be given as indented code at the beginning of  the
     rules  section.   For  example,  the  following will cause the scanner to
     enter the "SPECIAL" start condition whenever yylex() is  called  and  the
     global variable enter_special is true:

                 int enter_special;

         %x SPECIAL
                 if ( enter_special )

         ...more rules follow...

     To illustrate the uses of start  conditions,  here  is  a  scanner  which
     provides  two  different  interpretations of a string like "123.456".  By
     default it will treat it as as three tokens, the  integer  "123",  a  dot
     ('.'),  and  the integer "456".  But if the string is preceded earlier in
     the line by the string "expect-floats" it  will  treat  it  as  a  single
     token, the floating-point number 123.456:

         #include <math.h>
         %s expect

         expect-floats        BEGIN(expect);

         <expect>[0-9]+"."[0-9]+      {
                     printf( "found a float, = %f\n",
                             atof( yytext ) );
         <expect>\n           {
                     /* that's the end of the line, so
                      * we need another "expect-number"
                      * before we'll recognize any more
                      * numbers

         [0-9]+      {
                     printf( "found an integer, = %d\n",
                             atoi( yytext ) );

         "."         printf( "found a dot\n" );

     Here is a scanner  which  recognizes  (and  discards)  C  comments  while
     maintaining a count of the current input line.

         %x comment
                 int line_num = 1;

         "/*"         BEGIN(comment);

         <comment>[^*\n]*        /* eat anything that's not a '*' */
         <comment>"*"+[^*/\n]*   /* eat up '*'s not followed by '/'s */
         <comment>\n             ++line_num;
         <comment>"*"+"/"        BEGIN(INITIAL);

     Note that start-conditions names are really integer  values  and  can  be
     stored  as  such.   Thus,  the  above  could be extended in the following

         %x comment foo
                 int line_num = 1;
                 int comment_caller;

         "/*"         {
                      comment_caller = INITIAL;


         <foo>"/*"    {
                      comment_caller = foo;

         <comment>[^*\n]*        /* eat anything that's not a '*' */
         <comment>"*"+[^*/\n]*   /* eat up '*'s not followed by '/'s */
         <comment>\n             ++line_num;
         <comment>"*"+"/"        BEGIN(comment_caller);

     One can then implement a "stack" of start conditions using  an  array  of
     integers.  (It is likely that such stacks will become a full-fledged flex
     feature in the future.)  Note, though, that start conditions do not  have
     their  own name-space; %s's and %x's declare names in the same fashion as

     Some scanners (such as  those  which  support  "include"  files)  require
     reading  from  several input streams.  As flex scanners do a large amount
     of buffering, one cannot control where the next input will be  read  from
     by  simply writing a YY_INPUT which is sensitive to the scanning context.
     YY_INPUT is only called when the scanner reaches the end of  its  buffer,
     which  may be a long time after scanning a statement such as an "include"
     which requires switching the input source.

     To negotiate these sorts of  problems,  flex  provides  a  mechanism  for
     creating  and  switching between multiple input buffers.  An input buffer
     is created by using:

         YY_BUFFER_STATE yy_create_buffer( FILE *file, int size )

     which takes a FILE pointer and a size and  creates  a  buffer  associated
     with  the  given  file  and large enough to hold size characters (when in
     doubt, use YY_BUF_SIZE for  the  size).   It  returns  a  YY_BUFFER_STATE
     handle, which may then be passed to other routines:

         void yy_switch_to_buffer( YY_BUFFER_STATE new_buffer )

     switches the scanner's input buffer so subsequent tokens will  come  from
     new_buffer.  Note  that  yy_switch_to_buffer() may be used by yywrap() to
     sets things up for continued scanning, instead of opening a new file  and
     pointing yyin at it.

         void yy_delete_buffer( YY_BUFFER_STATE buffer )

     is used to reclaim the storage associated with a buffer.

     yy_new_buffer()  is  an  alias  for  yy_create_buffer(),   provided   for
     compatibility  with  the  C++  use  of  new  and  delete for creating and
     destroying dynamic objects.

     Finally, the YY_CURRENT_BUFFER macro returns a YY_BUFFER_STATE handle  to
     the current buffer.

     Here is an example of using these features for writing  a  scanner  which
     expands include files (the <<EOF>> feature is discussed below):

         /* the "incl" state is used for picking up the name
          * of an include file
         %x incl

         #define MAX_INCLUDE_DEPTH 10
         YY_BUFFER_STATE include_stack[MAX_INCLUDE_DEPTH];
         int include_stack_ptr = 0;

         include             BEGIN(incl);

         [a-z]+              ECHO;
         [^a-z\n]*\n?        ECHO;

         <incl>[ \t]*      /* eat the whitespace */
         <incl>[^ \t\n]+   { /* got the include file name */
                 if ( include_stack_ptr >= MAX_INCLUDE_DEPTH )
                     fprintf( stderr, "Includes nested too deeply" );
                     exit( 1 );

                 include_stack[include_stack_ptr++] =

                 yyin = fopen( yytext, "r" );

                 if ( ! yyin )
                     error( ... );

                     yy_create_buffer( yyin, YY_BUF_SIZE ) );


         <<EOF>> {
                 if ( --include_stack_ptr < 0 )

                          include_stack[include_stack_ptr] );

     The special rule "<<EOF>>" indicates actions which are to be  taken  when
     an  end-of-file  is  encountered  and  yywrap()  returns  non-zero (i.e.,
     indicates no further files to process).  The action must finish by  doing
     one of four things:

     -    the special YY_NEW_FILE action, if yyin has been pointed  at  a  new
          file to process;

     -    a return statement;

     -    the special yyterminate() action;

     -    or, switching to a new buffer using yy_switch_to_buffer()  as  shown
          in the example above.

     <<EOF>> rules may not be used with  other  patterns;  they  may  only  be
     qualified  with  a  list  of start conditions.  If an unqualified <<EOF>>
     rule is given, it applies to all start conditions which  do  not  already
     have  <<EOF>>  actions.   To specify an <<EOF>> rule for only the initial
     start condition, use


     These rules are useful for catching things like  unclosed  comments.   An

         %x quote

         ...other rules for dealing with quotes...

         <quote><<EOF>>   {
                  error( "unterminated quote" );
         <<EOF>>  {
                  if ( *++filelist )
                      yyin = fopen( *filelist, "r" );

     The macro YY_USER_ACTION can be redefined to provide an action  which  is
     always  executed  prior  to  the  matched rule's action.  For example, it
     could be #define'd to call a routine to convert yytext to lower-case.

     The macro YY_USER_INIT may be redefined to provide  an  action  which  is
     always  executed before the first scan (and before the scanner's internal
     initializations are done).  For example, it  could  be  used  to  call  a
     routine to read in a data table or open a logging file.

     In the generated scanner, the actions  are  all  gathered  in  one  large
     switch  statement  and  separated using YY_BREAK, which may be redefined.
     By default, it is simply a "break", to separate each rule's  action  from
     the following rule's.  Redefining YY_BREAK allows, for example, C++ users
     to #define YY_BREAK to do nothing (while being very  careful  that  every
     rule  ends  with  a  "break"  or  a  "return"!)  to  avoid suffering from
     unreachable statement warnings where because a rule's  action  ends  with
     "return", the YY_BREAK is inaccessible.

     One of the main uses of flex is  as  a  companion  to  the  yacc  parser-
     generator.   yacc  parsers expect to call a routine named yylex() to find
     the next input token.  The routine is supposed to return the type of  the
     next  token as well as putting any associated value in the global yylval.
     To use flex with yacc, one specifies the -d option to yacc to instruct it
     to  generate  the  file y.tab.h containing definitions of all the %tokens
     appearing in the yacc input.  This file is  then  included  in  the  flex
     scanner.   For example, if one of the tokens is "TOK_NUMBER", part of the
     scanner might look like:

         #include "y.tab.h"


         [0-9]+        yylval = atoi( yytext ); return TOK_NUMBER;

     In the name of POSIX compliance, flex supports a  translation  table  for
     mapping  input  characters  into  groups.   The table is specified in the
     first section, and its format looks like:

         1        abcd
         52       0123456789
         6        \t\ \n

     This example specifies that the characters 'a', 'b', 'c', and 'd' are  to
     all  be  lumped  into group #1, upper-case letters in group #2, digits in
     group #52, tabs, blanks,  and  newlines  into  group  #6,  and  no  other
     characters  will  appear in the patterns.  The group numbers are actually
     disregarded by flex; %t serves,  though,  to  lump  characters  together.
     Given  the  above table, for example, the pattern "a(AA)*5" is equivalent
     to "d(ZQ)*0".  They both say, "match any character in group #1,  followed
     by zero-or-more  pairs  of  characters  from  group  #2,  followed  by  a
     character  from group #52."  Thus %t provides a crude way for introducing
     equivalence classes into the scanner specification.

     Note that the -i option (see below) coupled with the equivalence  classes
     which  flex  automatically  generates  take  care  of  virtually  all the
     instances when one might consider using %t. But what the hell, it's there
     if you want it.

     flex has the following options:

     -b   Generate backtracking information to lex.backtrack. This is  a  list
          of   scanner   states  which  require  backtracking  and  the  input
          characters on which they do so.  By  adding  rules  one  can  remove
          backtracking  states.  If all backtracking states are eliminated and
          -f or -F is used, the generated scanner will run faster (see the  -p
          flag).  Only users who wish to squeeze every last cycle out of their
          scanners  need  worry  about  this  option.   (See  the  section  on

     -c   is a do-nothing, deprecated option included for POSIX compliance.

          NOTE: in previous releases of flex  -c  specified  table-compression
          options.   This  functionality is now given by the -C flag.  To ease
          the the impact of this change, when flex encounters -c, it currently
          issues  a  warning  message and assumes that -C was desired instead.
          In the future this "promotion" of -c to -C will go away in the  name
          of  full  POSIX  compliance  (unless  the  POSIX  meaning is removed

     -d   makes the generated scanner run in debug mode.  Whenever  a  pattern
          is recognized and the global yy_flex_debug is non-zero (which is the
          default), the scanner will write to stderr a line of the form:

              --accepting rule at line 53 ("the matched text")

          The line number refers to the location  of  the  rule  in  the  file
          defining  the  scanner  (i.e.,  the  file  that  was  fed  to flex).
          Messages are also generated when the scanner backtracks, accepts the
          default  rule,  reaches the end of its input buffer (or encounters a
          NUL; at this point, the two look the same as far  as  the  scanner's
          concerned), or reaches an end-of-file.

     -f   specifies (take your pick) full table  or  fast  scanner.  No  table
          compression  is done.  The result is large but fast.  This option is
          equivalent to -Cf (see below).

     -i   instructs flex to generate a case-insensitive scanner.  The case  of
          letters given in the flex input patterns will be ignored, and tokens
          in the input will be matched regardless of case.  The  matched  text
          given  in  yytext will have the preserved case (i.e., it will not be

     -n   is another do-nothing, deprecated option  included  only  for  POSIX

     -p   generates a performance report to stderr.  The  report  consists  of
          comments  regarding features of the flex input file which will cause
          a loss of performance in the resulting scanner.  Note that  the  use
          of  REJECT  and  variable  trailing context (see the BUGS section in
          flex(1)) entails a substantial performance penalty; use of yymore(),
          the ^ operator, and the -I flag entail minor performance penalties.

     -s   causes the default rule (that unmatched scanner input is  echoed  to
          stdout) to be suppressed.  If the scanner encounters input that does
          not match any of its rules, it aborts with an error.  This option is
          useful for finding holes in a scanner's rule set.

     -t   instructs flex to write the scanner it generates to standard  output
          instead of lex.yy.c.

     -v   specifies that flex should write to stderr a summary  of  statistics
          regarding  the  scanner  it  generates.   Most of the statistics are
          meaningless to the casual flex user, but the first  line  identifies
          the  version  of  flex,  which  is useful for figuring out where you
          stand with respect to patches and new releases,  and  the  next  two
          lines  give  the  date when the scanner was created and a summary of
          the flags which were in effect.

     -F   specifies that the fast scanner table representation should be used.
          This   representation   is   about   as   fast  as  the  full  table
          representation  (-f),  and  for  some  sets  of  patterns  will   be
          considerably  smaller  (and for others, larger).  In general, if the
          pattern set contains both "keywords" and a  catch-all,  "identifier"
          rule, such as in the set:

              "case"    return TOK_CASE;
              "switch"  return TOK_SWITCH;
              "default" return TOK_DEFAULT;
              [a-z]+    return TOK_ID;

          then you're better off using the full table representation.  If only
          the  "identifier"  rule  is present and you then use a hash table or
          some such to detect the keywords, you're better off using -F.

          This option is equivalent to -CF (see below).

     -I   instructs  flex  to  generate  an  interactive  scanner.   Normally,
          scanners  generated  by  flex always look ahead one character before
          deciding that a rule has been matched.  At the cost of some scanning
          overhead,  flex  will generate a scanner which only looks ahead when
          needed.  Such scanners are called interactive because if you want to
          write  a  scanner for an interactive system such as a command shell,
          you will probably want the user's input  to  be  terminated  with  a
          newline,  and  without  -I the user will have to type a character in
          addition to the newline in order to  have  the  newline  recognized.
          This leads to dreadful interactive performance.

          If all this seems to confusing, here's the general rule: if a  human
          will be typing in input to your scanner, use -I, otherwise don't; if
          you don't care about squeezing  the  utmost  performance  from  your
          scanner  and  you don't want to make any assumptions about the input
          to your scanner, use -I.

          Note, -I cannot be used in conjunction with  full  or  fast  tables,
          i.e., the -f, -F, -Cf, or -CF flags.

     -L   instructs flex not  to  generate  #line  directives.   Without  this
          option,  flex peppers the generated scanner with #line directives so
          error messages in the actions will be correctly located with respect
          to  the  original flex input file, and not to the fairly meaningless
          line numbers of lex.yy.c. (Unfortunately  flex  does  not  presently
          generate the necessary directives to "retarget" the line numbers for
          those parts of lex.yy.c which it generated.  So if there is an error
          in the generated code, a meaningless line number is reported.)

     -T   makes flex run in trace mode.  It will generate a lot of messages to
          stdout  concerning  the  form  of  the  input and the resultant non-
          deterministic and deterministic finite  automata.   This  option  is
          mostly for use in maintaining flex.

     -8   instructs flex to generate an 8-bit scanner,  i.e.,  one  which  can
          recognize  8-bit  characters.  On some sites, flex is installed with
          this option as  the  default.   On  others,  the  default  is  7-bit
          characters.  To see which is the case, check the verbose (-v) output
          for "equivalence classes created".  If the denominator of the number
          shown  is  128, then by default flex is generating 7-bit characters.
          If it is 256, then the default is 8-bit characters and the  -8  flag
          is  not  required  (but  may  be  a  good  idea  to keep the scanner
          specification portable).  Feeding a 7-bit scanner  8-bit  characters
          will  result in infinite loops, bus errors, or other such fireworks,
          so when in doubt, use the flag.  Note that  if  equivalence  classes
          are used, 8-bit scanners take only slightly more table space than 7-
          bit scanners (128 bytes, to be exact); if  equivalence  classes  are
          not  used, however, then the tables may grow up to twice their 7-bit

          controls the degree of table compression.

          -Ce directs flex to construct equivalence  classes,  i.e.,  sets  of
          characters  which have identical lexical properties (for example, if
          the only appearance of digits in the flex input is in the  character
          class  "[0-9]" then the digits '0', '1', ..., '9' will all be put in
          the same  equivalence  class).   Equivalence  classes  usually  give
          dramatic  reductions in the final table/object file sizes (typically
          a factor of 2-5) and are pretty cheap  performance-wise  (one  array
          look-up per character scanned).

          -Cf specifies that the full scanner tables  should  be  generated  -
          flex  should not compress the tables by taking advantages of similar
          transition functions for different states.

          -CF  specifies  that  the  alternate  fast  scanner   representation
          (described above under the -F flag) should be used.

          -Cm directs flex to construct meta-equivalence  classes,  which  are
          sets  of  equivalence classes (or characters, if equivalence classes
          are  not  being  used)  that  are  commonly  used  together.   Meta-
          equivalence  classes  are  often  a  big  win  when using compressed
          tables, but they have a moderate performance impact (one or two "if"
          tests and one array look-up per character scanned).

          A lone -C specifies that the scanner tables should be compressed but
          neither  equivalence  classes nor meta-equivalence classes should be

          The options -Cf or -CF and -Cm do not make sense together - there is
          no  opportunity  for  meta-equivalence  classes  if the table is not
          being compressed.  Otherwise the options may be freely mixed.

          The default setting  is  -Cem,  which  specifies  that  flex  should
          generate  equivalence  classes  and  meta-equivalence classes.  This
          setting provides the highest degree of table compression.   You  can
          trade  off  faster-executing  scanners  at the cost of larger tables
          with the following generally being true:

              slowest & smallest
              fastest & largest

          Note that scanners with the smallest tables  are  usually  generated
          and  compiled  the  quickest, so during development you will usually
          want to use the default, maximal compression.

          -Cfe  is  often  a  good  compromise  between  speed  and  size  for
          production scanners.

          -C options are not cumulative; whenever the flag is encountered, the
          previous -C settings are forgotten.

          overrides the default skeleton file from which flex  constructs  its
          scanners.   You'll  never need this option unless you are doing flex
          maintenance or development.

     The main design  goal  of  flex  is  that  it  generate  high-performance
     scanners.   It  has  been  optimized  for dealing well with large sets of
     rules.  Aside from the effects of  table  compression  on  scanner  speed
     outlined  above,  there  are  a  number  of options/actions which degrade
     performance.  These are, from most expensive to least:


         pattern sets that require backtracking
         arbitrary trailing context

         '^' beginning-of-line operator

     with the first three all being quite expensive and  the  last  two  being
     quite cheap.

     REJECT should be avoided at all costs when performance is important.   It
     is a particularly expensive option.

     Getting rid of backtracking is messy and often may be an enormous  amount
     of work for a complicated scanner.  In principal, one begins by using the
     -b flag to generate a lex.backtrack file.  For example, on the input

         foo        return TOK_KEYWORD;
         foobar     return TOK_KEYWORD;

     the file looks like:

         State #6 is non-accepting -
          associated rule line numbers:
                2       3
          out-transitions: [ o ]
          jam-transitions: EOF [ \001-n  p-\177 ]

         State #8 is non-accepting -
          associated rule line numbers:
          out-transitions: [ a ]
          jam-transitions: EOF [ \001-`  b-\177 ]

         State #9 is non-accepting -
          associated rule line numbers:
          out-transitions: [ r ]
          jam-transitions: EOF [ \001-q  s-\177 ]

         Compressed tables always backtrack.

     The first few lines tell us that there's a scanner state in which it  can
     make  a  transition on an 'o' but not on any other character, and that in
     that state the currently scanned text does not match any rule.  The state
     occurs when trying to match the rules found at lines 2 and 3 in the input
     file.  If the scanner is in that state and  then  reads  something  other
     than  an  'o', it will have to backtrack to find a rule which is matched.
     With a bit of headscratching one can see that this must be the state it's
     in when it has seen "fo".  When this has happened, if anything other than
     another 'o' is seen, the scanner will have to back up to simply match the
     'f' (by the default rule).

     The comment regarding State #8 indicates there's a  problem  when  "foob"
     has been scanned.  Indeed, on any character other than a 'b', the scanner
     will have to back up to accept "foo".  Similarly, the comment  for  State
     #9 concerns when "fooba" has been scanned.

     The final comment reminds us that there's  no  point  going  to  all  the
     trouble  of removing backtracking from the rules unless we're using -f or
     -F, since there's no performance gain doing so with compressed scanners.

     The way to remove the backtracking is to add "error" rules:

         foo         return TOK_KEYWORD;
         foobar      return TOK_KEYWORD;

         fooba       |
         foob        |
         fo          {
                     /* false alarm, not really a keyword */
                     return TOK_ID;

     Eliminating backtracking among a list of keywords can also be done  using
     a "catch-all" rule:

         foo         return TOK_KEYWORD;
         foobar      return TOK_KEYWORD;

         [a-z]+      return TOK_ID;

     This is usually the best solution when appropriate.

     Backtracking messages tend to cascade.  With a complicated set  of  rules
     it's not uncommon to get hundreds of messages.  If one can decipher them,
     though, it often only  takes  a  dozen  or  so  rules  to  eliminate  the
     backtracking  (though  it's easy to make a mistake and have an error rule
     accidentally match a valid token.  A possible future flex feature will be
     to automatically add rules to eliminate backtracking).

     Variable trailing context (where both the leading and trailing  parts  do
     not  have  a  fixed  length)  entails almost the same performance loss as
     REJECT (i.e., substantial).  So when possible a rule like:

         mouse|rat/(cat|dog)   run();

     is better written:

         mouse/cat|dog         run();
         rat/cat|dog           run();

     or as

         mouse|rat/cat         run();
         mouse|rat/dog         run();

     Note that here the special '|' action does not provide any  savings,  and
     can even make things worse (see BUGS in flex(1)).

     Another area where the user can increase a scanner's performance (and one
     that's  easier  to  implement)  arises  from the fact that the longer the
     tokens matched, the faster the scanner will run.  This  is  because  with
     long  tokens  the  processing of most input characters takes place in the
     (short) inner scanning loop, and does not often have to  go  through  the
     additional work of setting up the scanning environment (e.g., yytext) for
     the action.  Recall the scanner for C comments:

         %x comment
                 int line_num = 1;

         "/*"         BEGIN(comment);

         <comment>\n             ++line_num;
         <comment>"*"+"/"        BEGIN(INITIAL);

     This could be sped up by writing it as:

         %x comment
                 int line_num = 1;

         "/*"         BEGIN(comment);

         <comment>[^*\n]*\n      ++line_num;
         <comment>"*"+[^*/\n]*\n ++line_num;
         <comment>"*"+"/"        BEGIN(INITIAL);

     Now instead of each newline requiring the processing of  another  action,
     recognizing  the  newlines  is "distributed" over the other rules to keep
     the matched text as long as possible.  Note that adding  rules  does  not
     slow  down  the  scanner!  The speed of the scanner is independent of the
     number of rules or (modulo the considerations given at the  beginning  of
     this section) how complicated the rules are with regard to operators such
     as '*' and '|'.

     A final example in speeding up  a  scanner:  suppose  you  want  to  scan
     through a file containing identifiers and keywords, one per line and with
     no other extraneous  characters,  and  recognize  all  the  keywords.   A
     natural first approach is:

         asm      |
         auto     |
         break    |
         ... etc ...
         volatile |
         while    /* it's a keyword */

         .|\n     /* it's not a keyword */

     To eliminate the back-tracking, introduce a catch-all rule:

         asm      |
         auto     |
         break    |
         ... etc ...
         volatile |
         while    /* it's a keyword */

         [a-z]+   |
         .|\n     /* it's not a keyword */

     Now, if it's guaranteed that there's exactly one word per line,  then  we
     can  reduce  the  total  number  of  matches  by a half by merging in the
     recognition of newlines with that of the other tokens:

         asm\n    |
         auto\n   |
         break\n  |
         ... etc ...
         volatile\n |
         while\n  /* it's a keyword */

         [a-z]+\n |
         .|\n     /* it's not a keyword */

     One has to be careful here, as we have now reintroduced backtracking into
     the  scanner.   In particular, while we know that there will never be any
     characters in the input stream other than letters or newlines, flex can't
     figure  this out, and it will plan for possibly needing backtracking when
     it has scanned a token  like  "auto"  and  then  the  next  character  is
     something  other  than  a  newline or a letter.  Previously it would then
     just match the "auto" rule and be done, but now it has  no  "auto"  rule,
     only  a  "auto\n" rule.  To eliminate the possibility of backtracking, we
     could either duplicate all rules but without final newlines, or, since we
     never  expect  to  encounter  such  an input and therefore don't how it's
     classified, we can introduce one more  catch-all  rule,  this  one  which
     doesn't include a newline:

         asm\n    |
         auto\n   |
         break\n  |
         ... etc ...
         volatile\n |
         while\n  /* it's a keyword */

         [a-z]+\n |
         [a-z]+   |
         .|\n     /* it's not a keyword */

     Compiled with -Cf, this is about as fast as one can get a flex scanner to
     go for this particular problem.

     A final note:  flex is slow when  matching  NUL's,  particularly  when  a
     token  contains  multiple  NUL's.   It's  best to write rules which match
     short amounts of text if  it's  anticipated  that  the  text  will  often
     include NUL's.

     flex is a rewrite of the Unix lex tool (the two  implementations  do  not
     share any code, though), with some extensions and incompatibilities, both
     of which are of concern to those who wish to write scanners acceptable to
     either  implementation.  At present, the POSIX lex draft is very close to
     the original lex implementation, so some of these  incompatibilities  are
     also  in conflict with the POSIX draft.  But the intent is that except as
     noted below, flex  as  it  presently  stands  will  ultimately  be  POSIX
     conformant  (i.e., that those areas of conflict with the POSIX draft will
     be resolved in flex's favor).  Please bear in mind that all the  comments
     which  follow are with regard to the POSIX draft standard of Summer 1989,
     and not the final document (or subsequent drafts); they are  included  so
     flex  users  can  be  aware of the standardization issues and those areas
     where flex may in the near future undergo changes incompatible  with  its
     current definition.

     flex is fully compatible with lex with the following exceptions:

     -    The undocumented lex  scanner  internal  variable  yylineno  is  not
          supported.   It  is  difficult  to  support this option efficiently,
          since it requires examining every character scanned and  reexamining
          the   characters  when  the  scanner  backs  up.   Things  get  more
          complicated when the end of buffer or file is reached or  a  NUL  is
          scanned  (since the scan must then be restarted with the proper line
          number count), or the user uses the  yyless(),  unput(),  or  REJECT
          actions, or the multiple input buffer functions.

          The fix is to add rules which,  upon  seeing  a  newline,  increment
          yylineno.   This is usually an easy process, though it can be a drag
          if some of the patterns can match multiple newlines along with other

          yylineno is not part of the POSIX draft.

     -    The input() routine is not redefinable, though it may be  called  to
          read  characters  following whatever has been matched by a rule.  If
          input() encounters an end-of-file the normal yywrap() processing  is
          done.  A ``real'' end-of-file is returned by input() as EOF.

          Input is instead controlled by redefining the YY_INPUT macro.

          The  flex  restriction  that  input()  cannot  be  redefined  is  in
          accordance  with  the  POSIX  draft,  but  YY_INPUT has not yet been
          accepted into the draft (and probably won't; it looks like the draft
          will  simply  not specify any way of controlling the scanner's input
          other than by making an initial assignment to yyin).

     -    flex scanners do not use stdio for input.   Because  of  this,  when
          writing  an interactive scanner one must explicitly call fflush() on
          the stream associated with the terminal after writing out a  prompt.
          With  lex  such  writes are automatically flushed since lex scanners
          use getchar() for  their  input.   Also,  when  writing  interactive
          scanners with flex, the -I flag must be used.

     -    flex scanners are not as reentrant as lex scanners.  In  particular,
          if  you  have  an interactive scanner and an interrupt handler which
          long-jumps out of the  scanner,  and  the  scanner  is  subsequently
          called again, you may get the following message:

              fatal flex scanner internal error--end of buffer missed

          To reenter the scanner, first use

              yyrestart( yyin );

     -    output() is not supported.  Output from the ECHO macro  is  done  to
          the file-pointer yyout (default stdout).

          The POSIX  draft  mentions  that  an  output()  routine  exists  but
          currently gives no details as to what it does.

     -    lex does not support exclusive start conditions  (%x),  though  they
          are in the current POSIX draft.

     -    When definitions are expanded, flex encloses  them  in  parentheses.
          With lex, the following:

              NAME    [A-Z][A-Z0-9]*
              foo{NAME}?      printf( "Found it\n" );

          will not match the string "foo" because when the macro  is  expanded
          the  rule  is equivalent to "foo[A-Z][A-Z0-9]*?"  and the precedence
          is such that the '?' is associated with "[A-Z0-9]*".  With flex, the
          rule  will  be  expanded to "foo([A-Z][A-Z0-9]*)?" and so the string
          "foo" will match.  Note that because of this, the ^, $, <s>, /,  and
          <<EOF>> operators cannot be used in a flex definition.

          The POSIX draft interpretation is the same as flex's.

     -    To specify a character class  which  matches  anything  but  a  left
          bracket  (']'), in lex one can use "[^]]" but with flex one must use
          "[^\]]".  The latter works with lex, too.

     -    The lex %r (generate a Ratfor scanner) option is not supported.   It
          is not part of the POSIX draft.

     -    If you are providing your own yywrap() routine, you must  include  a
          "#undef  yywrap"  in the definitions section (section 1).  Note that
          the "#undef" will have to be enclosed in %{}'s.

          The POSIX draft specifies that yywrap() is a function  and  this  is
          very  unlikely  to change; so flex users are warned that yywrap() is
          likely to be changed to a function in the near future.

     -    After a call to unput(), yytext and yyleng are undefined  until  the
          next token is matched.  This is not the case with lex or the present
          POSIX draft.

     -    The precedence of the {} (numeric range) operator is different.  lex
          interprets  "abc{1,3}"  as  "match one, two, or three occurrences of
          'abc'", whereas flex interprets it as "match 'ab' followed  by  one,
          two,  or three occurrences of 'c'".  The latter is in agreement with
          the current POSIX draft.

     -    The precedence of the  ^  operator  is  different.   lex  interprets
          "^foo|bar"  as  "match  either  'foo' at the beginning of a line, or
          'bar' anywhere", whereas flex interprets it as "match  either  'foo'
          or 'bar' if they come at the beginning of a line".  The latter is in
          agreement with the current POSIX draft.

     -    To refer to yytext outside of the scanner source file,  the  correct
          definition  with  flex  is "extern char *yytext" rather than "extern
          char yytext[]".  This is contrary to the current POSIX draft  but  a
          point   on   which   flex   will  not  be  changing,  as  the  array
          representation entails a serious performance penalty.  It  is  hoped
          that  the POSIX draft will be emended to support the flex variety of
          declaration (as this is a fairly painless change to require  of  lex

     -    yyin is initialized by lex to be stdin; flex,  on  the  other  hand,
          initializes yyin to NULL and then assigns it to stdin the first time
          the scanner is called, providing yyin has not already been  assigned
          to  a  non-NULL value.  The difference is subtle, but the net effect
          is that with flex scanners, yyin does not have a valid  value  until
          the scanner has been called.

     -    The special table-size declarations such as %a supported by lex  are
          not required by flex scanners; flex ignores them.

     -    The name FLEX_SCANNER is #define'd so scanners may  be  written  for
          use with either flex or lex.

     The following flex features are not included in lex or  the  POSIX  draft

         #line directives
         %{}'s around actions
         comments beginning with '#' (deprecated)
         multiple actions on a line

     This last feature refers to the fact that with flex you can put  multiple
     actions on the same line, separated with semi-colons, while with lex, the

         foo    handle_foo(); ++num_foos_seen;

     is (rather surprisingly) truncated to

         foo    handle_foo();

     flex does not truncate the action.  Actions  that  are  not  enclosed  in
     braces are simply terminated at the end of the line.

     reject_used_but_not_detected  undefined  or  yymore_used_but_not_detected
     undefined  -  These errors can occur at compile time.  They indicate that
     the scanner uses REJECT or yymore() but that flex failed  to  notice  the
     fact,  meaning  that  flex  scanned  the  first  two sections looking for
     occurrences of these actions and failed to  find  any,  but  somehow  you
     snuck  some  in  (via  a  #include  file, for example).  Make an explicit
     reference to the action in your flex input file.  (Note  that  previously
     flex  supported  a %used/%unused mechanism for dealing with this problem;
     this feature is still supported but now deprecated, and will go away soon
     unless  the author hears from people who can argue compellingly that they
     need it.)

     flex scanner jammed - a scanner compiled with -s has encountered an input
     string which wasn't matched by any of its rules.

     flex input buffer overflowed - a  scanner  rule  matched  a  string  long
     enough  to  overflow  the  scanner's  internal input buffer (16K bytes by
     default -  controlled  by  YY_BUF_SIZE  in  "flex.skel".   Note  that  to
     redefine this macro, you must first #undefine it).

     scanner  requires  -8  flag  -  Your   scanner   specification   includes
     recognizing  8-bit  characters  and  you did not specify the -8 flag (and
     your site has not installed flex with -8 as the default).

     fatal flex scanner internal error--end of buffer missed - This can  occur
     in  an  scanner  which  is reentered after a long-jump has jumped out (or
     over) the scanner's activation frame.   Before  reentering  the  scanner,

         yyrestart( yyin );

     too many %t classes! - You managed to put every single character into its
     own  %t  class.   flex  requires  that  at least one of the classes share

     See flex(1).


     flex(1), lex(1), yacc(1), sed(1), awk(1).

     M. E. Lesk and E. Schmidt, LEX - Lexical Analyzer Generator

     Vern Paxson, with the help of many ideas and much  inspiration  from  Van
     Jacobson.    Original   version   by   Jef  Poskanzer.   The  fast  table
     representation is a partial  implementation  of  a  design  done  by  Van
     Jacobson.  The implementation was done by Kevin Gong and Vern Paxson.

     Thanks to the many  flex  beta-testers,  feedbackers,  and  contributors,
     especially  Casey  Leedom,  benson@odi.com, Keith Bostic, Frederic Brehm,
     Nick Christopher, Jason Coughlin, Scott David Daniels, Leo  Eskin,  Chris
     Faylor,  Eric  Goldman,  Eric  Hughes,  Jeffrey R. Jones, Kevin B. Kenny,
     Ronald Lamprecht, Greg Lee, Craig Leres, Mohamed el Lozy,  Jim  Meyering,
     Marc Nozell, Esmond Pitt, Jef Poskanzer, Jim Roskind, Dave Tallman, Frank
     Whaley, Ken Yap, and those whose names have  slipped  my  marginal  mail-
     archiving skills but whose contributions are appreciated all the same.

     Thanks to Keith Bostic, John Gilmore,  Craig  Leres,  Bob  Mulcahy,  Rich
     Salz, and Richard Stallman for help with various distribution headaches.

     Thanks to Esmond Pitt and Earle Horton for 8-bit  character  support;  to
     Benson  Margulies  and Fred Burke for C++ support; to Ove Ewerlid for the
     basics of support for NUL's; and to Eric Hughes for the basics of support
     for multiple buffers.

     Work is being done on extending flex to generate scanners  in  which  the
     state  machine  is  directly  represented  in  C code rather than tables.
     These scanners may well be  substantially  faster  than  those  generated
     using  -f  or  -F.  If you are working in this area and are interested in
     comparing notes and seeing whether redundant work can be avoided, contact
     Ove Ewerlid (ewerlid@mizar.DoCS.UU.SE).

     This work was primarily done when I was at the Real Time Systems Group at
     the  Lawrence  Berkeley  Laboratory  in Berkeley, CA.  Many thanks to all
     there for the support I received.

     Send comments to:

          Vern Paxson
          Computer Science Department
          4126 Upson Hall
          Cornell University
          Ithaca, NY 14853-7501