Using dylan-compiler interactively

The interactive mode of dylan-compiler allows you to carry out multiple development tasks over a period of time without having to restart the console compiler each time. To start the console environment in interactive mode, enter dylan-compiler without any arguments at a shell. For example:

$ dylan-compiler
Welcome to Open Dylan!

For documentation on Open Dylan, see
See for an introduction to the command line tools.

Type "help" for more information.

If you’ve used the Open Dylan IDE on Windows, note that using dylan-compiler interactively is similar to working in the IDE’s interactor.

You can find a list of command groups by entering the command help. The command groups in the console compiler are:

Command Group



basic commands


browsing commands


project building commands


internal commands


library packs commands


project commands


property handling commands


registry commands


report commands


operating system commands

You can use help -group group-name to view the available commands and properties of a specific group. You can also use help command-name to view the full documentation of a command. We can see the kind of information available by looking at the help entry for the help command:

> help help
Usage: :HELP [options*] [command]

If specified with no arguments, HELP shows a list of all commands
with a one line description. Help can display command options by
specifying the name of the command. Additionally, it can display
group or property help by specifying the GROUP or PROPERTY option.

  COMMAND - the command to describe

  -GROUP group - the command group to describe
  -PROPERTY property - the property to describe

Therefore, to find out what commands exist within the PROJECT command group, type:

> help -group project


Commands applying to projects.

  CLOSE   closes the specified project
  IMPORT  imports a LID file
  OPEN    opens the specified project

  PROJECT   Current project
  PROJECTS  Open projects

For documentation on a group, use:    HELP -GROUP group.
For documentation on a command, use:  HELP command
For a complete list of commands, use: SHOW COMMANDS

Then, to examine the OPEN command, type:

> help open
Usage: OPEN file

Opens the specified project.


  FILE - the filename of the project

Properties can be displayed via the show command. For example to see the value of the “projects” property listed previously, use show projects.

To exit the console environment, use the exit command.