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OOAD Miscellanous Q/A #4
Question:What are macros? How macros are useful? Explain with examples.
Macro can be defined as single identifier which is equivalent to expression or statements. Macro substitution is a process in which an identifier in a program is replaced by a pre-defined string. The pre defined string may consist of expression or a complete statement or a group of statements. For this task #define statement is used. This statement is known as macro. A macro has the following form:
#define identifier string.
The preprocessor replaces every occurrence of the identifier in the source code by the provided string. The definition of macro should start with the keyword # define and should be followed by an identifier and a string with at least one blank space between them. The string may be any text and identifier must be a valid name. There are different forms of macro substitution. The most common forms are following:
Simple macro substitution - Simple string replacement is commonly used to define constants. For example,
#define pi 3.1415926
This statement will replace all occurrences of identifier "pi" in the program with the value of 3.1415926. The statement # define pi 3.1415926 is called a macro. Writing macro definition in capital letters is a convention not a rule. A macro can include expression as well. Following are valid examples of a macro:
#define AREA 14.26 #define MAX 100
Argument macro substitution - This macro substitution allows to define more complex and more useful forms of replacement. It takes the following form:
#define identifier (f1, f2, f3, ...,fn) string
where f1, f2, f3, ...,fn are the arguments. For example,
#define CUBE (x) (x*x*x)
If the statement value = cube (side); appears later in the program, it will be expanded by the preprocessor as:
volume = (side *side *side);
The following example defines max ( ) with arguments:
#define MAX( a,b) ((a>b)?a:b)
This macro is called like a function with two parameters.
k = MAX (p,q); //is replaced by k = (p>q)?p:q;
Nested macro substitution - One macro can be used in the definition of another macro. That is macro definitions may be nested. The general form of this type of substitution is:
# define identifier1 string1 # define identifier2 (identifier 1, string 2)
# define square (x) (x*x) # define cube (x) (square(x)*x)
Thus the occurrence of statement cube (x); in the program will be replaced by (x*x*x)
Uses of Macros
Macros enables the programmer to create a name for a string and then use the name throughout the program. The advantage of such as macro is that it only needed to be modified once in the # define directive , and when the program is recompiled , all occurrences of the string in the program will be modified accordingly making writing the source code easier in big programs. Moreover , macros are useful in the following ways:
They increase readability of the program.
They make programs more portable.
They increase efficiency of the programs.
Using macros, it is very easy to make modifications in the program.
They increase the understandability of the program.
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