The location is a concept often used in Camlp5, bound to where errors occur in the source. The basic type is "Ploc.t" which is an abstract type.

  1. Definitions
  2. Building locations
  3. Raising with a location
  4. Other functions


Internally a location is a pair of source positions: the beginning and the end of an element in the source (file or interactive). A located element can be a character (the end is just the beginning plus one), a token, or a longer sequence generally corresponding to a grammar rule.

A position is a count of characters since the beginning of the file, starting at zero. When a couple of positions define a location, the first position is the position of the first character of the element, and the last position is the first character not part of the element. The location length is the difference between those two numbers. Notice that the position corresponds exactly to the character count in the streams of characters.

In the extensible grammars, a variable with the specific name "loc" is predefined in all semantic actions: it is the location of the associated rule. Since the syntax tree quotations generate nodes with "loc" as location part, this allow to generate grammars without having to consider source locations.

It is possible to change the name "loc" to another name, through the parameter "-loc" of the Camlp5 commands.

Remark: the reason why the type "location" is abstract is that in future versions, it may contain other informations, such as the associated comments, the type (for expressions nodes), things like that, without having to change the already written programs.

Building locations

Tools are provided in the module "Ploc" to manage locations.

First, "Ploc.dummy" is a dummy location used when the element does not correspond to any source, or if the programmer does not want to worry about locations.

The function "Ploc.make" builds a location from three parameters:

If the line number is not known, it is possible to use the function "Ploc.make_unlined" taking only the couple of positions of the location. In this case, error messages may indicate the first line and a big count of characters from this line (actually from the beginning of the file). With a good text editor, it is possible, to find the good location, anyway.

If the location is built with "Ploc.make_unlined", and if your program displays a source location itself, it is possible to use the function "Ploc.from_file" which takes the file name and the location as parameters and return, by reading that file, the line number, and the character positions of the location.

Raising with a location

The function "Ploc.raise" allows one to raise an exception together with a location. All exceptions raised in the extensible grammars use "Ploc.raise". The raised exception is "Ploc.Exc" with two parameters: the location and the exception itself.

Notice that "Ploc.raise" just reraises the exception if it is already the exception "Ploc.Exc", ignoring then the new given location.

A paradigm to print exceptions possibly enclosed by "Ploc.Exc" is to write the "try..with" statement like this:

  try ... with exn ->
    let exn =
      match exn with
      [ Ploc.Exc loc exn -> do { ... print the location ...; exn }
      | _ -> exn ]
    match exn with
    ...print the exception which is *not* located...

Other functions

Some other functions are provided:

returns the first position (an integer) of the location.
returns the last position (an integer) of the location (position of the first character not belonging to the element.
returns the line number of the location or -1 if the location does not contain a line number (i.e. built by "Ploc.make_unlined").
returns the position of the beginning of the line of the location. It is zero if the location does not contain a line number (i.e. built by "Ploc.make_unlined").

And still other ones used in Camlp5 sources:

"Ploc.encl loc1 loc2" returns the location starting at the smallest begin of "loc1" and "loc2" and ending at their greatest end.. In simple words, it is the location enclosing "loc1" and "loc2" and all what is between them.
"Ploc.shift sh loc" returns the location "loc" shifted with "sh" characters. The line number is not recomputed.
"Ploc.sub loc sh len" is the location "loc" shifted with "sh" characters and with length "len". The previous ending position of the location is lost.
"Ploc.after loc sh len" is the location just after "loc" (i.e. starting at the end position of "loc"), shifted with "sh" characters, and of length "len".

Copyright 2007-2010 Daniel de Rauglaudre (INRIA)

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