Here are constraint modifier characters.
When the compiler fixes up the operands to satisfy the constraints, it needs to know which operands are inputs to the instruction and which are outputs from it. `=' identifies an output; `+' identifies an operand that is both input and output; all other operands are assumed to be input only.
If you specify `=' or `+' in a constraint, you put it in the first character of the constraint string.
`&' applies only to the alternative in which it is written. In constraints with multiple alternatives, sometimes one alternative requires `&' while others do not. See, for example, the `movdf' insn of the 68000.
An input operand can be tied to an earlyclobber operand if its only use as an input occurs before the early result is written. Adding alternatives of this form often allows GCC to produce better code when only some of the inputs can be affected by the earlyclobber. See, for example, the `mulsi3' insn of the ARM.
`&' does not obviate the need to write `='.
(define_insn "addhi3" [(set (match_operand:HI 0 "general_operand" "=m,r") (plus:HI (match_operand:HI 1 "general_operand" "%0,0") (match_operand:HI 2 "general_operand" "di,g")))] ...)
GCC can only handle one commutative pair in an asm; if you use more, the compiler may fail. Note that you need not use the modifier if the two alternatives are strictly identical; this would only waste time in the reload pass.
Here is an example: the 68000 has an instruction to sign-extend a halfword in a data register, and can also sign-extend a value by copying it into an address register. While either kind of register is acceptable, the constraints on an address-register destination are less strict, so it is best if register allocation makes an address register its goal. Therefore, `*' is used so that the `d' constraint letter (for data register) is ignored when computing register preferences.
(define_insn "extendhisi2" [(set (match_operand:SI 0 "general_operand" "=*d,a") (sign_extend:SI (match_operand:HI 1 "general_operand" "0,g")))] ...)