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macro

[′mak·rō]
(computer science)

MACRO

(1)
Assembly language for VAX/VMS.

MACRO

(2)
PL/I-like language with extensions for string processing. "MACRO: A Programming Language", S.R. Greenwood, SIGPLAN Notices 14(9):80-91 (Sep 1979).

macro

(3)
A name (possibly followed by a formal argument list) that is equated to a text or symbolic expression to which it is to be expanded (possibly with the substitution of actual arguments) by a macro expander.

The term "macro" originated in early assemblers, which encouraged the use of macros as a structuring and information-hiding device. During the early 1970s, macro assemblers became ubiquitous, and sometimes quite as powerful and expensive as HLLs, only to fall from favour as improving compiler technology marginalised assembly language programming (see languages of choice). Nowadays the term is most often used in connection with the C preprocessor, Lisp, or one of several special-purpose languages built around a macro-expansion facility (such as TeX or Unix's troff suite).

Indeed, the meaning has drifted enough that the collective "macros" is now sometimes used for code in any special-purpose application control language (whether or not the language is actually translated by text expansion), and for macro-like entities such as the "keyboard macros" supported in some text editors (and PC TSRs or Macintosh INIT/CDEV keyboard enhancers).

macro

(1) A shortcut method for invoking a sequence of user interface functions. Macros let users turn widely used menus and keystrokes into one command or key combination. For example, pressing F2 might cause several menus and dialog buttons to be selected in a prescribed order. Macros can be created automatically by recording the keyboard and mouse actions (see macro recorder). See programmable keypad.

(2) In a home theater remote control, a macro performs two or more functions. For example, when pressing the On button on the remote, a macro can be configured to turn on the A/V receiver and the TV one after the other (see IR remote control and RF remote control).

(3) A special-purpose command language within an application. See macro language.

(4) A camera close-up mode. See macro setting.

(5) In a programming language, a macro is a prewritten subroutine that is called within the program. When assembled or compiled, the macro call is substituted with the actual instructions. If the same macro is called at 10 different places in the program, the routine is duplicated 10 times. In contrast, a function may be called 10 times, but there is only one function routine.

(6) Methods for determining wiring patterns on a chip (see hard macro and soft macro).