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Macros and Pre-processor

In the C programming language, macros and pre-processor directives are powerful tools that allow you to perform certain actions before your code is compiled. They can be used to define constants, include header files, perform conditional compilation, and more.

A macro is a fragment of code that is given a name and is replaced by the value of the macro before the program is compiled. Macros are defined using the #define pre-processor directive. For example, you can define a constant using a macro as follows:

#define PI 3.14159

In this case, every occurrence of the symbol “PI” in your code will be replaced by the value 3.14159 before the program is compiled.

Pre-processor directives are special commands that are processed by the C pre-processor before compilation. They are identified by a # symbol at the beginning of the line. Some of the commonly used pre-processor directives in C include:

  • #include: used to include header files in your code.
  • #define: used to define macros.
  • #ifdef, #ifndef, #endif: used for conditional compilation.
  • #pragma: used to provide additional information to the compiler.

For example, the following code includes the “stdio.h” header file in your program:

#include <stdio.h>

Pre-processor directives can also be used to perform conditional compilation, where certain sections of code are included or excluded from the final program depending on certain conditions. This can be done using #ifdef, #ifndef, and #endif directives.

Overall, macros and pre-processor directives in C are powerful tools that can help you write efficient and flexible code. However, they should be used with caution, as they can also make your code harder to read and understand if used excessively or improperly.

Amitesh Kumar

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