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Process & Tool support for Analysing C Header File Inclusion Order

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010102D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Oct-23
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Oct-23

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The C preprocessor provides a very advanced and flexible tool for C/C++ programmers. One problem that is encountered by programmers is with the use of header files in the order of inclusion. It is quite possible to write header files which mean that the code can work differently according to the order in which the header files are included. The solution presented here allows the order of inclusion of header files to be displayed graphically. By providing graphical feedback problems of mutual inclusion can be identified. This is achieved by taking advantage of the C preprocessor functions to output information during the compilation process. The resultant code is not affected, and no extra code parsing is required. This information is then processed by a graphical tool to show the order of header file inclusion as a tree.