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Manual Reference Pages  -  BISON (1)


bison - GNU Project parser generator (yacc replacement)




bison [OPTION]... FILE


Bison is a parser generator in the style of yacc(1). It should be upwardly compatible with input files designed for yacc.

Input files should follow the yacc convention of ending in .y. Unlike yacc, the generated files do not have fixed names, but instead use the prefix of the input file. Moreover, if you need to put C++ code in the input file, you can end his name by a C++-like extension (.ypp or .y++), then bison will follow your extension to name the output file (.cpp or .c++). For instance, a grammar description file named parse.yxx would produce the generated parser in a file named, instead of yacc’s or old Bison version’s

This description of the options that can be given to bison is adapted from the node Invocation in the bison.texinfo manual, which should be taken as authoritative.

Bison supports both traditional single-letter options and mnemonic long option names. Long option names are indicated with -- instead of -. Abbreviations for option names are allowed as long as they are unique. When a long option takes an argument, like --file-prefix, connect the option name and the argument with =.

Generate a deterministic LR or generalized LR (GLR) parser employing LALR(1), IELR(1), or canonical LR(1) parser tables. IELR(1) and canonical LR(1) support is experimental.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too. The same is true for optional arguments.

    Operation modes:

-h, --help display this help and exit
-V, --version
  output version information and exit
  output directory containing locale-dependent data
  output directory containing skeletons and XSLT
-y, --yacc emulate POSIX Yacc
-W, --warnings[=CATEGORY]
  report the warnings falling in CATEGORY
-f, --feature[=FEATURE]
  activate miscellaneous features


-L, --language=LANGUAGE
  specify the output programming language
-S, --skeleton=FILE
  specify the skeleton to use
-t, --debug
  instrument the parser for debugging
  enable location support
-D, --define=NAME[=VALUE]
  similar to ’%define NAME "VALUE"’
-F, --force-define=NAME[=VALUE]
  override ’%define NAME "VALUE"’
-p, --name-prefix=PREFIX
  prepend PREFIX to the external symbols deprecated by ’-Dapi.prefix=PREFIX’
-l, --no-lines
  don’t generate ’#line’ directives
-k, --token-table
  include a table of token names


  also produce a header file
-d likewise but cannot specify FILE (for POSIX Yacc)
-r, --report=THINGS
  also produce details on the automaton
  write report to FILE
-v, --verbose
  same as ‘--report=state’
-b, --file-prefix=PREFIX
  specify a PREFIX for output files
-o, --output=FILE
  leave output to FILE
-g, --graph[=FILE]
  also output a graph of the automaton
-x, --xml[=FILE]
  also output an XML report of the automaton (the XML schema is experimental)

    Warning categories include:

  unset or unused midrule values
‘yacc’ incompatibilities with POSIX Yacc
  S/R conflicts (enabled by default)
  R/R conflicts (enabled by default)
  obsolete constructs
  all other warnings (enabled by default)
‘all’ all the warnings
  turn off warnings in CATEGORY
‘none’ turn off all the warnings
  treat warnings as errors

    THINGS is a list of comma separated words that can include:

  describe the states
  complete the core item sets with their closure
  explicitly associate lookahead tokens to items
  describe shift/reduce conflicts solving
‘all’ include all the above information
‘none’ disable the report

    FEATURE is a list of comma separated words that can include:

  show errors with carets
‘all’ all of the above
‘none’ disable all of the above


Written by Robert Corbett and Richard Stallman.


Report bugs to <>.
GNU Bison home page: <>.
General help using GNU software: <>.

Report translation bugs to <>.
For complete documentation, run: info bison.


Copyright © 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.


lex(1), flex(1), yacc(1).

The full documentation for bison is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and bison programs are properly installed at your site, the command
info bison
should give you access to the complete manual.

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bison 2.7.12-4996 BISON (1) April 2013

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