Everybody who has programmed in C programming language must be aware about “goto” and “labels” used in C to jump within a C function. GCC provides an extension to C called “local labels”.
Conventional Labels vs Local Labels
Conventional labels in C have function scope. Where as local label can be scoped to a inner nested block. Therefore, conventional Labels cannot be declared more than once in a function and that is where local labels are used.
A label can appear more than once in function when the label is inside a macro and macro is expanded multiple times in a function. For example if a macro funcMacro() has definition which involves jump instructions (goto statement) within the block and funcMacro is used by a function foo() several times.
In such a function foo() , the function macro will be expanded two times.
This will result in having more than one definition of label ‘x’ in a function, which leads to confusion to the compiler and results in compilation error. In such cases local labels are useful.
The above problem can be avoided by using local labels. A local label are declared as below:
Local label declarations must come at the beginning of the block, before any ordinary declarations or statements.
Below is C example where a macro IS_STR_EMPTY() is expanded multiple times. Since local labels have block scope and every expansion of macro causes a new do while block, the program compiles and runs fine.