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Function Definition Syntax

   Definitions of functions can appear anywhere between the rules of an
`awk' program.  Thus, the general form of an `awk' program is extended
to include sequences of rules _and_ user-defined function definitions.
There is no need to put the definition of a function before all uses of
the function.  This is because `awk' reads the entire program before
starting to execute any of it.

   The definition of a function named NAME looks like this:

     function NAME(PARAMETER-LIST)

NAME is the name of the function to define.  A valid function name is
like a valid variable name: a sequence of letters, digits, and
underscores, that doesn't start with a digit.  Within a single `awk'
program, any particular name can only be used as a variable, array, or

   PARAMETER-LIST is a list of the function's arguments and local
variable names, separated by commas.  When the function is called, the
argument names are used to hold the argument values given in the call.
The local variables are initialized to the empty string.  A function
cannot have two parameters with the same name, nor may it have a
parameter with the same name as the function itself.

   The BODY-OF-FUNCTION consists of `awk' statements.  It is the most
important part of the definition, because it says what the function
should actually _do_.  The argument names exist to give the body a way
to talk about the arguments; local variables exist to give the body
places to keep temporary values.

   Argument names are not distinguished syntactically from local
variable names. Instead, the number of arguments supplied when the
function is called determines how many argument variables there are.
Thus, if three argument values are given, the first three names in
PARAMETER-LIST are arguments and the rest are local variables.

   It follows that if the number of arguments is not the same in all
calls to the function, some of the names in PARAMETER-LIST may be
arguments on some occasions and local variables on others.  Another way
to think of this is that omitted arguments default to the null string.

   Usually when you write a function, you know how many names you
intend to use for arguments and how many you intend to use as local
variables.  It is conventional to place some extra space between the
arguments and the local variables, in order to document how your
function is supposed to be used.

   During execution of the function body, the arguments and local
variable values hide or "shadow" any variables of the same names used
in the rest of the program.  The shadowed variables are not accessible
in the function definition, because there is no way to name them while
their names have been taken away for the local variables.  All other
variables used in the `awk' program can be referenced or set normally
in the function's body.

   The arguments and local variables last only as long as the function
body is executing.  Once the body finishes, you can once again access
the variables that were shadowed while the function was running.

   The function body can contain expressions that call functions.  They
can even call this function, either directly or by way of another
function.  When this happens, we say the function is "recursive".  The
act of a function calling itself is called "recursion".

   In many `awk' implementations, including `gawk', the keyword
`function' may be abbreviated `func'.  However, POSIX only specifies
the use of the keyword `function'.  This actually has some practical
implications.  If `gawk' is in POSIX-compatibility mode (Note:
Command-Line Options.), then the following statement does
_not_ define a function:

     func foo() { a = sqrt($1) ; print a }

Instead it defines a rule that, for each record, concatenates the value
of the variable `func' with the return value of the function `foo'.  If
the resulting string is non-null, the action is executed.  This is
probably not what is desired.  (`awk' accepts this input as
syntactically valid, because functions may be used before they are
defined in `awk' programs.)

   To ensure that your `awk' programs are portable, always use the
keyword `function' when defining a function.

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