cpp.info: Ifdef

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Ifdef

   The simplest sort of conditional is
     #ifdef MACRO
     CONTROLLED TEXT
     #endif /* MACRO */
   This block is called a "conditional group".  CONTROLLED TEXT will be
included in the output of the preprocessor if and only if MACRO is
defined.  We say that the conditional "succeeds" if MACRO is defined,
"fails" if it is not.
   The CONTROLLED TEXT inside of a conditional can include
preprocessing directives.  They are executed only if the conditional
succeeds.  You can nest conditional groups inside other conditional
groups, but they must be completely nested.  In other words, `#endif'
always matches the nearest `#ifdef' (or `#ifndef', or `#if').  Also,
you cannot start a conditional group in one file and end it in another.
   Even if a conditional fails, the CONTROLLED TEXT inside it is still
run through initial transformations and tokenization.  Therefore, it
must all be lexically valid C.  Normally the only way this matters is
that all comments and string literals inside a failing conditional group
must still be properly ended.
   The comment following the `#endif' is not required, but it is a good
practice if there is a lot of CONTROLLED TEXT, because it helps people
match the `#endif' to the corresponding `#ifdef'.  Older programs
sometimes put MACRO directly after the `#endif' without enclosing it in
a comment.  This is invalid code according to the C standard.  GNU CPP
accepts it with a warning.  It never affects which `#ifndef' the
`#endif' matches.
   Sometimes you wish to use some code if a macro is _not_ defined.
You can do this by writing `#ifndef' instead of `#ifdef'.  One common
use of `#ifndef' is to include code only the first time a header file
is included.  *Note Once-Only Headers::.
   Macro definitions can vary between compilations for several reasons.
Here are some samples.
   * Some macros are predefined on each kind of machine (*note
     System-specific Predefined Macros::).  This allows you to provide
     code specially tuned for a particular machine.
   * System header files define more macros, associated with the
     features they implement.  You can test these macros with
     conditionals to avoid using a system feature on a machine where it
     is not implemented.
   * Macros can be defined or undefined with the `-D' and `-U' command
     line options when you compile the program.  You can arrange to
     compile the same source file into two different programs by
     choosing a macro name to specify which program you want, writing
     conditionals to test whether or how this macro is defined, and
     then controlling the state of the macro with command line options,
     perhaps set in the Makefile.  *Note Invocation::.
   * Your program might have a special header file (often called
     `config.h') that is adjusted when the program is compiled.  It can
     define or not define macros depending on the features of the
     system and the desired capabilities of the program.  The
     adjustment can be automated by a tool such as `autoconf', or done
     by hand.