Lex Source.

The general format of Lex source is:

{user subroutines}
where the definitions and the user subroutines are often omitted. The second %% is optional, but the first is required to mark the beginning of the rules. The absolute minimum Lex program is thus
(no definitions, no rules) which translates into a program which copies the input to the output unchanged.

In the outline of Lex programs shown above, the rules represent the user's control decisions; they are a table, in which the left column contains regular expressions (see section 3) and the right column contains actions, program fragments to be executed when the expressions are recognized. Thus an individual rule might appear

integer	printf("found keyword INT");
to look for the string integer in the input stream and print the message ``found keyword INT'' whenever it appears. In this example the host procedural language is C and the C library function printf is used to print the string. The end of the expression is indicated by the first blank or tab character. If the action is merely a single C expression, it can just be given on the right side of the line; if it is compound, or takes more than a line, it should be enclosed in braces. As a slightly more useful example, suppose it is desired to change a number of words from British to American spelling. Lex rules such as
colour	printf("color");
mechanise	printf("mechanize");
petrol	printf("gas");
would be a start. These rules are not quite enough, since the word petroleum would become gaseum ; a way of dealing with this will be described later.