Using Source Registries


When using deft, source registries are created for you via the deft update command and you should not have to create them explicitly. You may want to skip this section for now.

Passing the name of a “.lid” file to dylan-compiler works great when you have a single library that only uses other libraries that are part of Open Dylan, but what if you want to use a second library that you wrote yourself or that you installed from GitHub? How will dylan-compiler find the sources for that library? The answer is registries.

For each Dylan library that isn’t part of Open Dylan itself, you create a file in the registry which is named the same as the library and contains a pointer to the “.lid” file for the library. For example, here’s the registry file for hello-world, created in the previous section. Note that this assumes you are still in the directory created by deft new application.

$ ls registry/*/hello-world

What’s going on here? First of all, the registry mechanism makes it possible to have platform-specific libraries. deft currently always writes registry entries to a platform-specific directory, in this case x86_64-darwin, but anything platform-independent can actually go in the registry/generic subdirectory.

Platform-specific registry directories are searched before registry/generic, so if you have a library that includes an extra file for Windows-only definitions, you can use two registry entries: one in registry/x86-win32/hello-world pointing to the Windows-specific LID file and one in registry/generic/hello-world pointing to the LID file that works on other platforms.

Now let’s look at the actual content of our hello-world registry file:

$ cat registry/x86_64-darwin/hello-world

What this is doing is locating a file relative to the directory containing the registry directory itself. If the registry directory is /tmp/hello-world/registry then abstract://dylan/hello-world.lid says the hello-world LID file is in /tmp/hello-world/hello-world.lid. “abstract://dylan/” is just boilerplate.

When you invoke dylan-compiler in the directory containing a “registry” directory it automatically uses that registry, in addition to (and taking precedence over) the registry in the Open Dylan installation directory.


If you prefer to invoke the compiler from outside your workspace or if you want to include multiple workspace registries when searching for libraries, you can set the OPEN_DYLAN_USER_REGISTRIES environment variable. For example:

$ export OPEN_DYLAN_USER_REGISTRIES=/tmp/workspace1/registry

Once you’ve set OPEN_DYLAN_USER_REGISTRIES, dylan-compiler can find library source code no matter what directory you’re currently working in. You only need to specify the library name:

$ cd /tmp
$ dylan-compiler -build hello-world

You can add more than one registry to OPEN_DYLAN_USER_REGISTRIES by separating them with colons (Unix) or semicolons (Windows):

$ export OPEN_DYLAN_USER_REGISTRIES=/tmp/workspace1/registry:/tmp/workspace2/registry

Registry Search Order

For each step in the following list, the directory named for the current platform is searched before the “generic” directory.

  1. If OPEN_DYLAN_USER_REGISTRIES is set then its list of registries is searched in order.

  2. If a directory named registry exists in the current working directory where the Dylan compiler is started, it is searched.

  3. The internal Open Dylan registry in the sources/registry directory in your Open Dylan installation is searched last.

To see the list of registries in the order they will be searched, use the show registries command in the interactive compiler. Example:

$ cd /tmp/x
$ mkdir registry
$ dylan-compiler
> show registries
  {personal registry in /tmp/a/x86_64-linux/}
  {personal registry in /tmp/b/x86_64-linux/}
  {personal registry in /tmp/x/registry/x86_64-linux/}
  {personal registry in /opt/opendylan-2024.2/sources/registry/x86_64-linux/}
  {personal registry in /tmp/a/generic/}
  {personal registry in /tmp/b/generic/}
  {personal registry in /tmp/x/registry/generic/}
  {personal registry in /opt/opendylan-2024.2/sources/registry/generic/}