Compile Time Configuration

Library compile time configuration

The C++ preprocessor iterator library may be configured at compile time by specifying different preprocessor constants to include different additional features. The possible preprocessor constants are described in the following table.

Summary of possible preprocessor constants for
library configuration

Support the #warning directive


Support several MS specific language extensions (i.e. __int8


Enable the preprocessing of the message bodies of #error and #warning directives.


If defined, then the #pragma directives are returned as a token sequence to the caller, if not defined, the whole #pragma directive is skipped.


Enable the preprocessing of the bodies of all #pragma directives.
Note though, that the body of an operator _Pragma() is always preprocessed as this is required by the C99 Standard [2].


Enable the functionality required to define macros with the command line syntax (-DMACRO(x)=definition)


The tokens generated by the Wave library contain the token data and the file position, where this token was found in the input stream.
This constant may be used to redefine the data type, which is used to hold the token data and the corresponding file name. If this isn't defined it defaults to std::string. (The here defined data type should be compatible to the std::string type)


If defined, then the preprocessor library supports variadics and placemarkers. Note, to support C99 mode, this constant must be defined too.


If defined, it will determine the initial maximal possible include file nesting depth supported. It defaults to 1024.


If defined, then the #pragma once directive is supported by Wave. This specifies that the file, in which the pragma resides, will be included (opened) only once by the compiler in a build.


If defined, then the #pragma message("") directive is supported by Wave. This pragma simply generates a remark cotaining the message text. The body of the #pragma message is preprocessed whenever the BOOST_WAVE_PREPROCESS_PRAGMA_BODY constant is defined as well .


If defined, then the #include_next directive is supported by Wave. This is syntactically equivalent to the #include directives, but may be used to inherit a header file (i.e. to include a file, which is named as the current file containing the #include_next).


If this is defined to something != 0, then the C/C++ lexers recognize the strict C99/C++ basic source character set. If it is not defined or defined to zero, the lexers recognize the '$' character as part of identifiers.


If this is defined to a string literal it will be used as the pragma keyword recogniyed by the library as specific Wave pragma's. This constant defaults to "wave", i.e. the library recognizes all #pragma wave option [(argument)] directives and dispatches the handling to the interpret_pragma() preprocessing hook function (see: Preprocessing Hooks). The arguments part of the pragma is optional.


If defined to something not equal to zero ('0') Wave will be compiled to use the depreciated preprocessing hooks. The interface of the preprocessing hooks has been changed after the Boost V1.34.x releases. This constant allows to compile applications using the older interface.


The C++ standard requires the preprocessor to use one of the following types for integer literals: long or unsigned long depending on a optional suffix ('u', 'l', 'ul', or 'lu'). Sometimes it is required to preprocess integer literals larger than that (i.e. long long or unsigned long long). Defining this pp constant enables the recognition of long long integers even if these do not have the 'll' suffix.

This preprocessor constant is effective only, if your target platform supports long long integers (BOOST_HAS_LONG_LONG is defined). Please note, that this setting doesn't relate to the Wave support option support_option_long_long, which enables the recognition of 'll' suffixes only.


This preprocessor constant allows to configer whether the Wave library will be built with threading support enabled or not. This value (if defined) should be set to zero ('0') if threading needs to be disabled and to a numerical value not equal to zero, if threading should be enabled explicitely.

If this constant is not defined, the Wave library will be built using the threading as picked up from the Boost build environment (see BOOST_HAS_THREADS in the Boost configuration dosumentation).

Using a different token type or lexer type in conjunction with Wave

It is possible to use the Wave library while using your own token and/or lexer types. This may be achieved by providing your lexer type as the second template parameter while instantiating the boost::wave::context<> object. The token type used by the library is derived from the token_type typedef to be provided by the lexer type. If you want to provide your own token type only, you may use the boost::wave::lex_iterator<> type contained with the library. This type needs to be parametrized with the token type to use.

The Wave library contains several samples illustrating these possibilities. The cpp_tokens sample shows the usage of a custom lexer and a custom token types. The lexer type used is functionally fully compatible to the re2c [3] based lexer used by default. It is implemented based on the SLex [5] lexer example written by Dan Nuffer. The token type used therein is functionally equivalent to the default token type except for an additional operator<< used for dumping the information carried by the token.

Separation and inclusion compilation models

The Wave C++ preprocessor iterator library is build almost completely as a header only library (except for the re2c based lexer). If you're trying to include all required files at once you will mention, that the resulting compilation times are very large (up to an hour - depending on your system configuration). This straightforward method we'll call the inclusion compilation model. If you do not pay attention to compilation times, that's the way to go, no special handling is needed.

If you're interested in decreasing compilation times, the following method is to be used. This we will call it the separation compilation model. The trick is to separate the different objects such, that they are compilable separately. The function, which instantiates the templated object in question is factored out such, that its definition is visible to only one translation unit. To simplify this further this creation function is packaged into a small generator template structure.

There are two levels of separation implemented: the separation of the compilation of the C++ lexer and the separation of the compilation of the different Spirit grammars used. To use these separations you will have to define two preprocessor constants while compiling the whole application and you will have to explicitely instantiate some helper templates. The following tables shows these constants in detail.

Summary of possible compilation constants required
to enable the separation compilation model

Preprocessor constant

C++ lexer


Spirit grammars


The following table shows the explicit template instantiations required, if you want to use the separation compilation model. The TokenT placeholder type has to be replaced with your token type to use and the LexIteratorT placeholder type has to be replaced with your lex iterator type you've used while instantiation of the boost::wave::context<> object. You will achieve the best results, if you place these into separate compilation units each. The IteratorT placeholder should be replaced by the iterator type, which was used to instantiate the boost::wave::context<> object.

Summary of required explicit template instantiations
required when using the separation compilation model

Templates to explicitly instantiate

C++ lexer template cpplexer::re2clex::new_lexer_gen<IteratorT>;
Spirit grammars

template wave::grammars::expression_grammar_gen<TokenT>;
template wave::grammars::intlit_grammar_gen<TokenT>;
template wave::grammars::chlit_grammar_gen<TokenT>;
template wave::grammars::cpp_grammar_gen<LexIteratorT>;
template wave::grammars::predefined_macros_grammar_gen<LexIteratorT>;
template wave::grammars::defined_grammar_gen<LexIteratorT>;

To see an example of this you can look at the Wave driver program included as an acompanion sample to the C++ preprocessor iterator library. The corresponding files are named obviously "instantiate_...something.cpp", where the '...somthing' is a hint, which grammars are explicitely instantiated inside. By using the separation model the compilation times required to build the Wave example are dropped by up to 90%.