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9.1 Macro Definitions

Autoconf macros are defined using the AC_DEFUN macro, which is similar to the M4 builtin m4_define macro. In addition to defining a macro, AC_DEFUN adds to it some code that is used to constrain the order in which macros are called (see section 9.4.1 Prerequisite Macros).

An Autoconf macro definition looks like this:

AC_DEFUN(macro-name, macro-body)

You can refer to any arguments passed to the macro as `$1', `$2', etc. See section `How to define new macros' in GNU m4, for more complete information on writing M4 macros.

Be sure to properly quote both the macro-body and the macro-name to avoid any problems if the macro happens to have been previously defined.

Each macro should have a header comment that gives its prototype, and a brief description. When arguments have default values, display them in the prototype. For example:

# --------------------------------------
[{ _AC_ECHO([configure: error: $1], 2); exit m4_default([$2], 1); }])

Comments about the macro should be left in the header comment. Most other comments will make their way into `configure', so just keep using `#' to introduce comments.

If you have some very special comments about pure M4 code, comments that make no sense in `configure' and in the header comment, then use the builtin dnl: it causes M4 to discard the text through the next newline.

Keep in mind that dnl is rarely needed to introduce comments; dnl is more useful to get rid of the newlines following macros that produce no output, such as AC_REQUIRE.

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