ecFlow's documentation is now on readthedocs!

The pre-processor in ecFlow reads the ecFlow files and processes them to form a job-file, manual-page, or for editing in ecflow_ui. It also does the interpretation of the commands defined in ECF_JOB_CMD , ECF_KILL_CMD, and ECF_STATUS_CMD.

The ecFlow pre-processor was developed to work on any file(i.e. script or even python file). It allows users to do some of the C-pre-processor like tasks, namely including files. It works on the same principle by looking at the first character on each line in ecFlow file (or ecFlow script. If that is found to be an ECF-micro character (by default '%', see ECF_MICRO) the line is for the pre-processor. If, however, the line starts with two of these characters, a single `%'-character is passed on to the next phase (to be used as an ECF-variable introducer).
Currently, there is no %if - statement in the pre-processor. If - statements, however, can be handled by the shell running the script.
The pre-processor also carries out the variable substitution. When ecFlow is preparing to execute a task it reads the ecFlow script and produces a job file in which it replaces all the relevant variables.
Table 3 1shows pre-processor symbols that ecFlow understands. Notice that some of them work in pairs.
Table 3 1 ecFlow pre-processor symbols

%include <filename>

%ECF_INCLUDE%/filename directory is searched for the filename and the contents included in the output. If that variable is not defined ECF_HOME is used instead. This is the recommended format for include.

%include "filename"

Include the contents of file %ECF_HOME%/%SUITE%/%FAMILY%/filename into the output

%include filename

Include the contents of the file filename into the output. Notice that since the $CWD of ecFlow can be anywhere, the only form that can be safely used must start with a slash '/'.

%includeonce filenameInclude the contents of file filename into the output ONCE. if the filename is encountered again as %includeonce, then it is ignored. (Same three formats for filename as for plain %include)

%includenopp filename

Same as %include, but the file is not interpreted at all. This allows you to test the filename separately with ease. (Same three formats for filename as for plain %include.)


Remove all the lines from the output until a line with %end is found.


If creating a job-file remove all the lines from the output until a line with %end is found. If creating a manual page include all the lines until a line with %end is found.


Stop the pre-processing until a line starting with %end is found. No interpretation of the text will be done (e.g. no variable substitutions)
The line is retained, if pre-processing is requested by ecflow_ui


End processing of %comment or %manual or %nopp

%ecfmicro CHAR

Change the ECF_MICRO character to the character given. If set in an include file the effect is retained for the rest of the job (or until set again).
This does not change how ECF_FETCH or ECF_JOB_CMD work, they still use ECF_MICRO

Note that for %include, if the filename starts with slash, '/' character, no interpretation will be made. The full pathname of the file will be used.
From ecFlow release 4.4.0  you can have variables in the include file definition.

%include <%SUITE%/file.h> 
%include %MY_INCLUDE%            # here MY_INCLUDE must expand, <filename> or "filename" or filename
%include %MY_INCLUDE:<filename>% # if MY_INCLUDE not defined use <filename>