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\ -> PPWIZARD Command Line -> Switches -> /Syntax

Switch /Syntax:Spec

This is a PPWIZARD command line switch.

For some output extensions or file types PPWIZARD automatically checks the syntax of the generated files. You can turn this off, on, or tweek the output using this switch.

The syntax checking typically works by executing code which returns a specific return code if a certain 'unusual' parameter is passed. REXX, VBS and some other languages go through a loading step where syntax is validated, if this fails the code will never get executed. This is why we add a little stub to return a specific return code. The stub does not get in the way because if is never accidently invoked.

If you use this switch you will probably want to also use "/DeleteOnError:NO", so you can examine the code if an error is detected.

The first and last characters of the "Spec" defines the delimiter being used to delimit the following values:

  1. ToWhat
    You can specify the following for this value:

    1. FileExtension
      You can apply the rule to a particular extension, for example use "VBS" (no dot!) for VBSCRIPT files.

    2. *ProcessingMode
      You can apply the rule to all extensions covering a particular processing mode, for example use "*REXX" for rexx files.

    3. *
      You can apply the rule to all files that did not match the rules above by specifying "*".

    The above are listed in the order that PPWIZARD will look for it.

  2. The Test Command
    This is the command line of the command required to test the syntax of the generated program. Use "{?}" to indicate where the filename should be placed. Pass "" to disable checking.

    As a special case while in REXX mode if "*" is passed this specifies that the internal validation should be used.

  3. The Expected Return Code
    This is the expected return code from the above command. Typically the lines you insert (see below) will return this value. Pass "" to disable checking.

  4. A Failing Line Number Extraction Mask
    See "OutSyntaxErrLineMask" below, use "" for no mask.

  5. One or More lines
    The 'Spec' delimiter can be used to split this into multiple lines. This is the line or lines of code which is inserted into the header of the file to allow the syntax checking to take place.

    If this value begins with "?:" then the code should not be automatically inserted but will be inserted manually via the <?SyntaxCheck> symbol. The <?SyntaxCheck> symbol can be used if for some reason you do not wish to perform syntax checking for the odd one or two files.

Use of Header File

If the test command value starts with '@' and there is no return code or lines then this indicates that a file should be read to create the stub code and set the command and expected return code values.

If your header file included conditional generation of the header based on the extension of the output file then it could make sense to use a "*" rule.

You header should output the syntax checking stub and should also set these rexx variables:

Default REXX Configuration (/SYNTAX not used)

PPWIZARD has an inbuilt (but primitive) method of locating syntax errors in your code, however it relies on you reading the resultant output to determine the error line (and will not display it).

It is possible to give PPWIZARD a bit of help in which case it will tell you the failing line number and display the line in context.


The following shows how syntax checking for files with the extension ".VBS" can be turned off:


The following shows how a file can be included to add syntax checking code for multiple extensions (first removes existing VBS code):

/syntax:~/VBS/~ /syntax:~/*/@c:\tmp\syntax.h~

The following is an example of what the "syntax.h" file could look like:

;--- Determine what we wish to do -------------------------------------------
#info 'in syntax.h'
#DefineRexx ''
   ;---- Get extension (if not unix then make upper case) -------------------
   @@Extn = FilePart('EXTN', '<?OutputFile>');
   #if ['<?OpSys>' <> 'UNIX']
       @@Extn = translate(@@Extn);    ;;Make upper case

   ;---- Want a comment? ---
       when @@EXTN = "VBS" then
           ;--- VB SCRIPT (user must use "SyntaxCheck" standard symbol) ---
           OutSyntaxRc          = '21924';
           OutSyntaxCode        = 'if Wscript.Arguments.Count = 1 then if Wscript.Arguments(0) = "!CheckSyntax!" then wscript.quit(' || OutSyntaxRc || ')';
           @@Code               = '';       ;;Generate nothing now (below)!
           OutSyntaxErrLineMask = '({?}, '  ;;How to extract the failing line #
           OutSyntaxCmd         = 'cscript.exe "{?}" //NOLOGO !CheckSyntax!'
           OutSyntaxMsg         = "Note that you must not use VBSCRIPT's OPTION command after the syntax checking code is inserted!";
           ;--- Don't want any syntax checking code ---
           @@Code       = '';

           ;--- Return reserved variables with "empty" values ---
           OutSyntaxRc  = '';
           OutSyntaxCmd = '';
           OutSyntaxMsg = '';

;--- Any syntax checking code to generate? ---------------------------------*/
#if [@@Code <> '']
    ;--- This code returns a specific return code when passed specific parameter ---

If you add any extensions (Perl etc) please consider sending them to me so I can update the documentation fo others.

email me  any feedback, additional information or corrections.
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My whole website and this manual itself was developed using PPWIZARD (free preprocessor written by Dennis Bareis)
Saturday May 28 2022 at 2:55pm