M4sugar makes heavy use of diversions under the hood, because it is often the case that text that must appear early in the output is not discovered until late in the input. Additionally, some of the topological sorting algorithms used in resolving macro dependencies use diversions. However, most macros should not need to change diversions directly, but rather rely on higher-level M4sugar macros to manage diversions transparently. If you change diversions improperly, you risk generating a syntactically invalid script, because an incorrect diversion will violate assumptions made by many macros about whether prerequisite text has been previously output. In short, if you manually change the diversion, you should not expect any macros provided by the Autoconf package to work until you have restored the diversion stack back to its original state.
In the rare case that it is necessary to write a macro that explicitly
outputs text to a different diversion, it is important to be aware of an
M4 limitation regarding diversions: text only goes to a diversion if it
is not part of argument collection. Therefore, any macro that changes
the current diversion cannot be used as an unquoted argument to another
macro, but must be expanded at the top level. The macro
m4_expand will diagnose any attempt to change diversions, since
it is generally useful only as an argument to another macro. The
following example shows what happens when diversion manipulation is
attempted within macro arguments:
m4_do([normal text] m4_divert_push([KILL])unwantedm4_divert_pop([KILL]) [m4_divert_push([KILL])discardedm4_divert_pop([KILL])])dnl ⇒normal text ⇒unwanted
Notice that the unquoted text
unwanted is output, even though it
was processed while the current diversion was
KILL, because it
was collected as part of the argument to
m4_do. However, the
discarded disappeared as desired, because the diversion
changes were single-quoted, and were not expanded until the top-level
rescan of the output of
To make diversion management easier, M4sugar uses the concept of named
diversions. Rather than using diversion numbers directly, it is nicer
to associate a name with each diversion. The diversion number associated
with a particular diversion name is an implementation detail, and a
syntax warning is issued if a diversion number is used instead of a
name. In general, you should not output text
to a named diversion until after calling the appropriate initialization
routine for your language (
AT_INIT, …), although there are some exceptions documented
M4sugar defines two named diversions.
Text written to this diversion is discarded. This is the default diversion once M4sugar is initialized.
This diversion is used behind the scenes by topological sorting macros,
M4sh adds several more named diversions.
This diversion is reserved for the ‘#!’ interpreter line.
This diversion holds text from
This diversion holds comments about the purpose of a file.
This diversion is managed by
This diversion contains M4sh sanitization code, used to ensure M4sh is executing in a reasonable shell environment.
This diversion contains M4sh initialization code, initializing variables that are required by other M4sh macros.
This diversion contains the body of the shell code, and is the default diversion once M4sh is initialized.
Autotest inherits diversions from M4sh, and changes the default
BODY back to
KILL. It also adds several
more named diversions, with the following subset designed for developer
This diversion contains initialization sequences which are executed
after atconfig and atlocal, and after all command line
arguments have been parsed, but prior to running any tests. It can be
used to set up state that is required across all tests. This diversion
will work even before
Autoconf inherits diversions from M4sh, and adds the following named diversions which developers can utilize.
This diversion contains shell variable assignments to set defaults that must be in place before arguments are parsed. This diversion is placed early enough in configure that it is unsafe to expand any autoconf macros into this diversion.
AC_PRESERVE_HELP_ORDER was used, then text placed in this
diversion will be included as part of a quoted here-doc providing all of
the --help output of configure related to options
This diversion occurs after all command line options have been parsed, but prior to the main body of the configure script. This diversion is the last chance to insert shell code such as variable assignments or shell function declarations that will used by the expansion of other macros.
For now, the remaining named diversions of Autoconf, Autoheader, and Autotest are not documented. In other words, intentionally outputting text into an undocumented diversion is subject to breakage in a future release of Autoconf.
Permanently discard any text that has been diverted into diversion.
m4_divert_text, except that content is only
output to diversion if this is the first time that
m4_divert_once has been called with its particular arguments.
If provided, check that the current diversion is indeed diversion.
Then change to the diversion located earlier on the stack, giving an
error if an attempt is made to pop beyond the initial m4sugar diversion
Remember the former diversion on the diversion stack, and output subsequent text into diversion. M4sugar maintains a diversion stack, and issues an error if there is not a matching pop for every push.
Output content and a newline into diversion, without affecting the current diversion. Shorthand for:
One use of
m4_divert_text is to develop two related macros, where
macro ‘MY_A’ does the work, but adjusts what work is performed
based on whether the optional macro ‘MY_B’ has also been expanded.
Of course, it is possible to use
require that ‘MY_B’ occurs first, if it occurs at all. But this
imposes an ordering restriction on the user; it would be nicer if macros
‘MY_A’ and ‘MY_B’ can be invoked in either order. The trick
is to let ‘MY_B’ leave a breadcrumb in an early diversion, which
‘MY_A’ can then use to determine whether ‘MY_B’ has been
AC_DEFUN([MY_A], [# various actions if test -n "$b_was_used"; then # extra action fi]) AC_DEFUN([MY_B], [AC_REQUIRE([MY_A])dnl m4_divert_text([INIT_PREPARE], [b_was_used=true])])
Initialize the M4sugar environment, setting up the default named
diversion to be