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On this page you find all important commands for the CLI tool lex. If the command you are looking for is missing please ask our AI.


Lex is a command line tool used for lexical analysis, also known as lexing or scanning. It is typically used in the context of writing compilers or interpreters.

The tool takes a set of user-defined rules, written in a specialized language called regular expressions. These rules define the syntax and structure of the input language being analyzed.

Lex then generates C code based on these rules, which can be compiled and executed to efficiently analyze an input stream of characters. This generated code performs the task of breaking down the input into a sequence of tokens, such as keywords, identifiers, numbers, or symbols.

Lex provides a flexible and powerful mechanism for specifying patterns and actions to be taken when a match is found. Regular expressions, as used in lex, allow for pattern matching, repetition, alternation, and other advanced matching capabilities.

The generated code from lex includes a state machine that handles the recognition of the defined patterns. It efficiently transitions between states based on the input characters, allowing for high-performance lexical analysis.

By separating the lexical analysis phase from other stages of the compiler or interpreter, Lex enables modularity and simplifies the development process. It encapsulates the complexities of pattern matching, allowing developers to focus on higher-level tasks.

Being widely used and available on various platforms, Lex has become a popular choice for implementing lexical analyzers. It forms an essential part of the classic compiler toolkit with tools like Yacc (Yet Another Compiler-Compiler).

Lex is often used in conjunction with Yacc or similar tools to create a complete parsing system. Once lex has tokenized the input, Yacc can then be used to perform syntax analysis and build the parser.

Overall, Lex is a versatile and efficient command line tool that simplifies the process of lexical analysis and aids in the development of compilers and interpreters.

List of commands for lex:

  • lex:tldr:1ec37 lex: Specify the output file.
    $ lex -t ${analyzer-l} > ${analyzer-c}
    try on your machine
    explain this command
  • lex:tldr:6aabd lex: Generate an analyzer from a Lex file.
    $ lex ${analyzer-l}
    try on your machine
    explain this command
  • lex:tldr:f00b5 lex: Specify the output file.
    $ lex ${analyzer-l} --outfile ${analyzer-c}
    try on your machine
    explain this command
tool overview