7.3 Packages

7.3.4 Using packages in interpreted and compiled code

CLtL2 warns that package system differences between the compile-time and the load-time environments can cause incompatibilities. However, not every conceivable difference has a bad effect. The following rules should prevent you from experiencing incompatibilities:

1. Define, or create, a package all in one place. Avoid having incremental pieces of the package definition distributed throughout several files.

2. A package definition should consist of some subset of calls to the following functions, in the order indicated, with no intervening computations that could affect the outcome:

3. Use a nonqualified format instead of colon qualification for a symbol whenever it can be specified that way. For example, to reach the symbolcar from theuser package, you could typelisp:car orlisp::car, but you should use the unqualified form:car.

4. Avoid the use of double-colon qualification in files under almost all circumstances; certainly do not use it where any other qualification specifies the same symbol.

For example, assume that theace package uses thedud package, thatring is an external symbol ofdud, and thatsong is present as an internal symbol ofdud:

5. Remind yourself that the colon syntax is only visible in the source code text file of your program; after the Lisp reader reads in your code, the rest of the Lisp system has no idea whether you typedace:spades, ace::spades, or merelyspades. Thus, Lisp reading is inherently an information-losing operation.

6. Whenever possible, use strings as names rather than symbols. Thus, say
(in-package "RABBIT") rather than(in-package 'rabbit). The functionsexport,import, andshadowing-import require an explicit symbol rather than a name, so you cannot use strings for them.

Note: Liquid Common Lisp permitsshadow to take a string as an argument.

7. Define a file to be all in one package; avoid multiplein-package statements. Put aprovide statement at the very end of the last file defining a module, rather than at the beginning of a file as suggested by CLtL2. The facilities of a module are not truly "provided" until after the file or files defining it have been fully and successfully loaded.

These rules are described in detail in the following sections. - Package rule 1 - Package rule 2 - Package rules 3 and 4 - Package rule 5 - Package rule 6 - Package rule 7

The Advanced User's Guide - 9 SEP 1996

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