(autoconf.info)Programming in M4sh


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8.4 Programming in M4sh
=======================

M4sh, pronounced "mash", is aiming at producing portable Bourne shell
scripts.  This name was coined by Lars J. Aas, who notes that,
according to the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):

     Mash \Mash\, n.  [Akin to G. meisch, maisch, meische, maische,
     mash, wash, and prob. to AS. miscian to mix.  See "Mix".]

       1. A mass of mixed ingredients reduced to a soft pulpy state by
          beating or pressure....

       2. A mixture of meal or bran and water fed to animals.

       3. A mess; trouble.  [Obs.] -Beau. & Fl.

   For the time being, it is not mature enough to be widely used.

   M4sh reserves the M4 macro namespace `^_AS_' for internal use, and
the namespace `^AS_' for M4sh macros.  It also reserves the shell and
environment variable namespace `^as_', and the here-doc delimiter
namespace `^_AS[A-Z]' in the output file.  You should not define your
own macros or output shell code that conflicts with these namespaces.

   M4sh provides portable alternatives for some common shell constructs
that unfortunately are not portable in practice.

 -- Macro: AS_BOURNE_COMPATIBLE
     Set up the shell to be more compatible with the Bourne shell as
     standardized by Posix, if possible.  This may involve setting
     environment variables, or setting options, or similar
     implementation-specific actions.

 -- Macro: AS_CASE (WORD, [PATTERN1], [IF-MATCHED1], ..., [DEFAULT])
     Expand into a shell `case' statement, where WORD is matched
     against one or more patterns.  IF-MATCHED is run if the
     corresponding pattern matched WORD, else DEFAULT is run.

 -- Macro: AS_DIRNAME (FILE-NAME)
     Output the directory portion of FILE-NAME.  For example, if
     `$file' is `/one/two/three', the command
     `dir=`AS_DIRNAME(["$file"])`' sets `dir' to `/one/two'.

 -- Macro: AS_IF (TEST1, [RUN-IF-TRUE1], ..., [RUN-IF-FALSE])
     Run shell code TEST1.  If TEST1 exits with a zero status then run
     shell code RUN-IF-TRUE1, else examine further tests.  If no test
     exits with a zero status, run shell code RUN-IF-FALSE, with
     simplifications if either RUN-IF-TRUE1 or RUN-IF-FALSE1 is empty.
     For example,

          AS_IF([test "$foo" = yes], [HANDLE_FOO([yes])],
                [test "$foo" != no], [HANDLE_FOO([maybe])],
                [echo foo not specified])

     ensures any required macros of `HANDLE_FOO' are expanded before
     the first test.

 -- Macro: AS_INIT
     Initialize the M4sh environment.  This macro calls `m4_init', then
     outputs the `#! /bin/sh' line, a notice about where the output was
     generated from, and code to sanitize the environment for the rest
     of the script.  Finally, it changes the current diversion to
     `BODY'.

 -- Macro: AS_MKDIR_P (FILE-NAME)
     Make the directory FILE-NAME, including intervening directories as
     necessary.  This is equivalent to `mkdir -p FILE-NAME', except
     that it is portable to older versions of `mkdir' that lack support
     for the `-p' option.  Also, `AS_MKDIR_P' succeeds if FILE-NAME is
     a symbolic link to an existing directory, even though Posix is
     unclear whether `mkdir -p' should succeed in that case.  If
     creation of FILE-NAME fails, exit the script.

     Also see the `AC_PROG_MKDIR_P' macro (Note: Particular Programs).

 -- Macro: AS_SHELL_SANITIZE
     Initialize the shell suitably for `configure' scripts.  This has
     the effect of `AS_BOURNE_COMPATIBLE', and sets some other
     environment variables for predictable results from configuration
     tests.  For example, it sets `LC_ALL' to change to the default C
     locale.  Note: Special Shell Variables.

 -- Macro: AS_TR_CPP (EXPRESSION)
     Transform EXPRESSION into a valid right-hand side for a C
     `#define'.  For example:

          # This outputs "#define HAVE_CHAR_P 1".
          type="char *"
          echo "#define AS_TR_CPP([HAVE_$type]) 1"

 -- Macro: AS_TR_SH (EXPRESSION)
     Transform EXPRESSION into a valid shell variable name.  For
     example:

          # This outputs "Have it!".
          header="sys/some file.h"
          AS_TR_SH([HAVE_$header])=yes
          if test "$HAVE_sys_some_file_h" = yes; then echo "Have it!"; fi

 -- Macro: AS_SET_CATFILE (VAR, DIR, FILE)
     Set the shell variable VAR to DIR/FILE, but optimizing the common
     cases (DIR or FILE is `.', FILE is absolute, etc.).


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