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Plug in to CL’s Kitchen

Posted by adeyblue, 25 January 2013 · 403 views

It's well known that Visual Studio's C compiler hasn't progressed much beyond C89, save for things like variadic macros. What might not be quite as well known is that to rectify this a bit, somebody created a C99 to C89 converter. A decent tool to be sure, but it doesn't integrate well into Visual Studio. Being a seperate program means you have to fudge things to run it instead of cl.exe, or you have to set a pre-build step, save the processed output and then compile those files instead of the ones in your project. It's not terribly friendly for IDE purposes. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to intercept the compilation and process the source files as it goes? What isn't well known is that you can do that, with compiler plugins.

The good news about these plugins is that unlike IDE ones such as Visual AssistX, the support is directly in the compiler so you don't have to have a pay-for version to use them. You see, not only does cl.exe have the plethora of options it displays as help, it has undocumented ones too. Ones which allow you to change or add compiler passes and pass your own arguments to them.

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