Structure of a DEXTL Program

DEXTL programs are divided into two sections that are not physically separated by any element, but that should appear in the order indicated below:

  • Declarations section
  • Specification section

Declarations Section

The following elements are included in this section:

  1. Name of the Lexical Analyzer (or scanner) to be used. This is mandatory and should appear at the beginning of the DEXTL program. The file will be included with the desired scanner (see section Scanners for a description of the available scanners and to know how to create new scanners). This is indicated with:

    #include “scanners/name_scanner”

    The same scanner can be used for all the specifications that share the same tagsets.

  2. Name of the skeleton used to generate the scanner corresponding to the specification. The specifications generator tool adds to the DEXTL program:


  3. Name of the default tagset for the patterns, where none is specified.

    DEFAULTSET= “Name set”

  4. Files included. Likewise, the specification generation tool will indicate in the DEXTL program what other external programs are included. The effect will be the same as if the content of this file were in the current file, where the include is found. The syntax is:

    #include “Name file”

  5. Attributes with default value. These have a fixed value for all the items/results found with the specification, and we will call them attributes with fixed value:


    Where the context is optional. This context must not be mistaken with the navigation context, but with data associated with this field that is communicated together with the value associated with it.

    It is possible to define an attribute with fixed value that can be used later in the program, but where its value is not to be communicated to the application. In this case, the format is


    It is possible to assign several values (multivalued value) to an attribute with fixed value:

    NAME [CONTEXT] = {“VALUE1”,”VALUE2”,…}

  6. Tagsets to be used. Format:






  • As mentioned in the preceding section, it is possible to define parameters (or identifiers) associated with a format tag to which certain values can be assigned and which are passed on to the user application for all the tags of this type found.

Specification Section

This section includes the extraction specifications per se.