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Compiling and linking

Scheme 48 has a static linker that produces stand-alone heap images from module descriptions. One specifies a particular procedure in a particular structure to be the image's startup procedure (entry point), and the linker traces dependency links as given by open and access clauses to determine the composition of the heap image.

There is not currently any provision for separate compilation; the only input to the static linker is source code. However, it will not be difficult to implement separate compilation. The unit of compilation is one module (not one file). Any opened or accessed structures from which macros are obtained must be processed to the extent of extracting its macro definitions. The compiler knows from the interface of an opened or accessed structure which of its exports are macros. Except for macros, a module may be compiled without any knowledge of the implementation of its opened and accessed structures. However, inter-module optimization will be available as an option.

The main difficulty with separate compilation is resolution of auxiliary bindings introduced into macro expansions. The module compiler must transmit to the loader or linker the search path by which such bindings are to be resolved. In the case of the delay macro's auxiliary make-promise (see example above), the loader or linker needs to know that the desired binding of make-promise is the one apparent in delay's defining package, not in the package being loaded or linked.

[I need to describe structure reification.]

Margaret M Fleck
Tue Nov 5 21:13:16 CST 1996