<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
A general explanation of pre-processor directives and how they are evaluated by the compiler. Discussed are include and define.

General discussion

A compiler directive is an instruction to the compiler to complete a task before formally starting to compile the program, thus they are sometimes called pre-processor directives. Among other items, during the pre-processor step the compiler is looking for compiler directives and processes them as they are encountered. After completing the tasks as directed, the compiler proceeds to its second step where it checks for syntax errors (violations of the rules of the language) and converts the source code into an object code that contains machine language instructions, a data area, and a list of items to be resolved when he object file is linked to other object files.

Within C++ the pound symbol or # as the first character of a line indicates that the next word is a directive (or command word) to be evaluated. The two most common compiler directives are:

  1. include – with the item following include being the name of a file that is to be inserted at that place in the file. The files are often called "Header Files" because the include directive is normally inserted toward the top of the file (at the head) as one of the first items.
  2. define – with the item followed by an identifier name and a value. This identifier name and value is stored by the compiler and when it encounters the identifier name in the program it substitutes the value for the identifier name.

In the following example the include directive is inserting a file that contains code from the Input-Output Stream library. This file contains necessary code to use cout and cin for sending data to the monitor or getting data from the keyboard.


In the next example the define directive is being used to handle a constant (called a defined constant).

Subtituting pi

#define PI 3.14159 ....Later on in the program when it encounters PI....it will replace or substitute PI with the value 3.14159 ....For example:area_circle = radius * radius * PI; would become:area_circle = radius * radius * 3.14159;

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Of note, compiler directives in C++ do not have a semi-colon after them. Within C++ programming instructions or statements end with a semi-colon, but not compiler directives.


compiler directive
An instruction to the compiler to complete a task before formally starting to compile the program.
A compiler directive to insert the contents of a file into the program.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Programming fundamentals - a modular structured approach using c++. OpenStax CNX. Jan 10, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10621/1.22
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Programming fundamentals - a modular structured approach using c++' conversation and receive update notifications?