The Literate Programming Extraction Engine is a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language- (PERL-) based computer program that facilitates and simplifies the implementation of a concept of self- documented literate programming in a fashion tailored to the typical needs of scientists. The advantage for the programmer is that documentation and source code are written side-by-side in the same file, reducing the likelihood that the documentation will be inconsistent with the code and improving the verification that the code performs its intended functions. The advantage for the user is the knowledge that the documentation matches the software because they come from the same file. This program unifies the documentation process for a variety of programming languages, including C, C++, and several versions of FORTRAN. This program can process the documentation in any markup language, and incorporates the LaTeX typesetting software. The program includes sample Makefile scripts for automating both the code-compilation (when appropriate) and documentation-generation processes into a single command-line statement. Also included are macro instructions for the Emacs display-editor software, making it easy for a programmer to toggle between editing in a code or a documentation mode.

This program was written by William A. Wood and William L. Kleb of Langley Research Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at under the Software category. LAR-16438.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2003 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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