Chapter 11: Preprocessor Directives

What's in Chapter 11?

Using #define to create macros
Using #ifdef to implement conditional compilation
Using #include to load other software modules
Using #pragma to write interrupt software

C compilers incorporate a preprocessing phase that alters the source code in various ways before passing it on for compiling. Four capabilities are provided by this facility in C. They are:

The preprocessor is controlled by directives which are not part of the C language proper. Each directive begins with a #character and is written on a line by itself. Only the preprocessor sees these directive lines since it deletes them from the code stream after processing them.

Depending on the compiler, the preprocessor may be a separate program or it may be integrated into the compiler itself. C has an integrated preprocessor that operates at the front end of its single pass algorithm.

Macro Processing

We use macros for three reasons. 1) To save time we can define a macro for long sequences that we will need to repeat many times. 2) To clarify the meaning of the software we can define a macro giving a symbolic name to a hard-to-understand sequence. The I/O port #define macros are good examples of this reason. 3) To make the software easy to change, we can define a macro such that changing the macro definition, automatically updates the entire software.

define names which stand for arbitrary strings of text. After such a definition, the preprocessor replaces each occurrence of Name (except in string constants and character constants) in the source text with CharacterString?.... As C implements this facility, the term macro is misleading, since parameterized substitutions are not supported. That is, CharacterString?... does not change from one substitution to another according to parameters provided with Name in the source text.

C accepts macro definitions only at the global level.

The Name part of a macro definition must conform to the standard C naming conventions as described in Chapter 2. CharacterString?... begins with the first printable character following Name and continues through the last printable character of the line or until a comment is reached.

If CharacterString?... is missing, occurrences of Name are simply squeezed out of the text. Name matching is based on the whole name (up to 8 characters); part of a name will not match. Thus the directive

will change



but it will have no effect on

Replacement is also performed on subsequent #define directives, so that new symbols may be defined in terms of preceding ones.

The most common use of #define directives is to give meaningful names to constants; i.e., to define so called manifest constants. However, we may replace a name with anything at all, a commonly occurring expression or sequence of statements for instance. To disable interrupt during a critical section we could implement.

#define START_CRITICAL asm(" tpa\n staa %SaveSP\n sei")
#define END_CRITICAL asm(" ldaa %SaveSP\n tap")
void function(void) {unsigned char SaveSP;
    START_CRITICAL; /* make atomic, entering critical section */
     /* we have exclusive access to global variables */
    END_CRITICAL; /* end critical section */

Listing 11.1: Example of #define


Conditional Compiling

This preprocessing feature lets us designate parts of a program which may or may not be compiled depending on whether or not certain symbols have been defined. In this way it is possible to write into a program optional features which are chosen for inclusion or exclusion by simply adding or removing #define directives at the beginning of the program.

When the preprocessor encounters

it looks to see if the designated name has been defined. If not, it throws away the following source lines until it finds a matching


directive. The #endif directive delimits the section of text controlled by #ifdef, and the #else directive permits us to split conditional text into true and false parts. The first part (#ifdef...#else) is compiled only if the designated name is defined, and the second (#else...#endif) only if it is not defined.

The converse of #ifdef is the

directive. This directive also takes matching #else and #endif directives. In this case, however, if the designated name is not defined, then the first (#ifndef...#else) or only (#ifndef...#endif) section of text is compiled; otherwise, the second (#else...#endif), if present, is compiled.

Nesting of these directives is allowed; and there is no limit on the depth of nesting. It is possible, for instance, to write something like

#ifdef ABC
... /* ABC */
#ifndef DEF
... /* ABC and not DEF */
... /* ABC and DEF */
... /* ABC */
... /* not ABC */
#ifdef HIJ
... /* not ABC but HIJ */
... /* not ABC */

Listing 11.2: Examples on conditional compilation

where the ellipses represent conditionally compiled code, and the comments indicate the conditions under which the various sections of code are compiled.

A good application of conditional compilation is inserting debugging instrumemts. In this example the only purpose of writing to PORTC is assist in performance debugging. Once the system is debugged,we can remove all the debugging code, simply by deleting the #define Debug 1 line.

#define Debug 1
int Sub(int j){ int i;
#ifdef Debug
    PORTC|=0x01; /* PC0 set when Sub is entered */
#ifdef Debug
    PORTC&=~0x01; /* PC0 cleared when Sub is exited */
void Program(){ int i;
#ifdef Debug
    PORTC|=0x02; /* PC1 set when Program is entered */
    while(1) { PORTC=2; i=Sub(i);}}
void ProgB(){ int i;
#ifdef Debug
    PORTC&=~0x02; /* PC1 cleared when Sub is exited */

Listing 11.3: Conditional compilation can help in removing all debugging code

For more information about debugging see Chapter 2 of Valvano's Embedded Microcomputer Systems: Real Time Interfacing.


Including Other Source Files

The preprocessor also recognizes directives to include source code from other files. The two directives

#include "Filename"

#include <Filename>

cause a designated file to be read as input to the compiler. The difference between these two directives is where the compiler looks for the file. The <filename> version will search for the file in the standard include directory, while the "filename" version will search for the file in the same directory as the original source file. The preprocessor replaces these directives with the contents of the designated files. When the files are exhausted, normal processing resumes.

Filename follows the normal MS-DOS file specification format, including drive, path, filename, and extension.

In Chapter 10, an example using #include was presented that implemented a feature similar to encapsulated objects of C++, including private and public functions.


Interrupt software

We use the interrupt key word to specify a function as an interrupt handler. The Metrowerks compiler will then use the rti instruction rather than the rts instruction to return from ExtHan. We start counting the interrupt number from reset. Some of the interrupt numbers used by Metrowerks for the MC68HC812A4 are shown in the following table.

number source
24 Key wakeup H
23 Key wakeup J
20 SCI0
16 timer overflow
15 timer channel 7
8 timer channel 0
6 Key wakeup D
4 SWI software interrupt
0 reset

Table 11-1: Interrupt numbers for the MC68HC812A4 used by Metrowerks

0xFFD6     interrupt 20 SCI
0xFFDE     interrupt 16 timer overflow
0xFFE0     interrupt 15 timer channel 7
0xFFE2     interrupt 14 timer channel 6
0xFFE4     interrupt 13 timer channel 5
0xFFE6     interrupt 12 timer channel 4
0xFFE8     interrupt 11 timer channel 3
0xFFEA     interrupt 10 timer channel 2
0xFFEC     interrupt 9  timer channel 1
0xFFEE     interrupt 8  timer channel 0
0xFFF0     interrupt 7  real time interrupt
0xFFF6     interrupt 4  SWI software int
0xFFF8     interrupt 3  trap software int
0xFFFE     interrupt 0  reset

Table 11-2: Interrupt numbers for the 9S12C32 used by Metrowerks

Metrowerks will automatically set the interrupt vector for KeyWakeup J to point to the ExtHan routine.

void interrupt 23 ExtHan(void){
    KWIFJ=0x80; // clear flag

Listing 11.7: Interrupt service routines are specified in Metrowerks.

We use the prm linker file to define the reset vector.

LINK keywake.abs
NAMES keywake.o start12s.o ansis.lib END
MY_ROM = READ_ONLY 0xF000 TO 0xFF00;
/* set reset vector to function _Startup defined in startup code start12.c */

Listing 11.8: The last line of the PRM linker file defines the reset vector in Metrowerks.


For more information about interrupts see Chapter 4 of Valvano's Embedded Microcomputer Systems: Real Time Interfacing.


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