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gawk: Extension Intro

 16.1 Introduction
 An "extension" (sometimes called a "plug-in") is a piece of external
 compiled code that 'gawk' can load at runtime to provide additional
 functionality, over and above the built-in capabilities described in the
 rest of this Info file.
    Extensions are useful because they allow you (of course) to extend
 'gawk''s functionality.  For example, they can provide access to system
 calls (such as 'chdir()' to change directory) and to other C library
 routines that could be of use.  As with most software, "the sky is the
 limit"; if you can imagine something that you might want to do and can
 write in C or C++, you can write an extension to do it!
    Extensions are written in C or C++, using the "application
 programming interface" (API) defined for this purpose by the 'gawk'
 developers.  The rest of this major node explains the facilities that
 the API provides and how to use them, and presents a small example
 extension.  In addition, it documents the sample extensions included in
 the 'gawk' distribution and describes the 'gawkextlib' project.  ⇒
 Extension Design, for a discussion of the extension mechanism goals
 and design.
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