Compile a Lisp source file into a form that both loads and runs faster.




compile-file input-file &key output-file verbose print external-format load => output-truename , warnings-p , failure-p



A pathname designator.


A pathname designator, or :temp .


A generalized boolean.


A generalized boolean.


An external format specification.


A generalized boolean.



A pathname or nil .


A generalized boolean.


A generalized boolean.


compile-file calls the compiler to translate a Lisp source file into a form that both loads and runs faster. A compiled function typically runs more than ten times faster than when interpreted (assuming that it is not spending most of its work calling already compiled functions). A source file with a .lisp or .lsp extension compiles to produce a file with a .*fasl extension (the actual extension depends on the host machine CPU). Subsequent use of load loads the compiled version (which is in LispWorks's FASL or Fast Load format) in preference to the source.

In compiling a file the compiler has to both compile each function and top level form in the file, and to produce the appropriate FASL directives so that load ing has the desired effect. In particular objects need to have space allocated for them, and top level forms are called as they are loaded.

output-file specifies the location of the output file. This argument is useful if you are using a non-default file extension for binary files. If you use a non-default file extensions for binary files, you must inform LispWorks of this by pushing the file extension string onto the variable sys::*binary-file-types* . If you fail to do this, LispWorks assumes that these files are text rather than compiled files. See the example below.

The special value output-file :temp offers a convenient way to specify that the output file is a temporary file in a location that is likely to be writable.

verbose controls the printing of messages describing the file being compiled, the current optimization settings, and other information. If verbose is nil , there are no messages. If verbose is 0 , only the "Compiling file..." message is printed. For all other true values of verbose , messages are also printed about:

The default value is the value of *compile-verbose* , which defaults to t .

print controls the printing of information about the compilation. It can have the following values. If print is nil , no information is printed. If print is a non-positive number, then only warnings are printed. If print is a positive number no greater than 1, or if print is any non-number object, then the information printed consists of all warning messages and one line of information per function that is compiled. If print is a number greater than 1, then full information is printed. The default value of print is the value of *compile-print* , which has the default value 1.

external-format is interpreted as for open. The default value is :default .

If load is true, then the file is loaded after compilation.

output-truename is the truename of the output file, or nil if that cannot be created.

warnings-p is nil if no conditions of type error or warning were detected during compilation. Otherwise warnings-p is a list containing the conditions.

failure-p is nil if no conditions of type error or warning (other than style-warning ) were detected by the compiler, and t otherwise.

(compile-file "devel/fred.lisp")
     ;; compile fred.lisp to fred.fasl
(compile-file "devel/fred") 
     ;; does the same thing
(compile-file "test" :load t) 
     ;; compile test.lisp, then load if successful
(compile-file "program" :output-file "")
     ;; compile  "program.lisp" to ""
(push "abc" sys::*binary-file-types*)
     ;; tells LispWorks that files with extension
     ;; ".abc" are binaries

See declare for a list of the declarations that alter the behavior of the compiler.

The act of compiling a file should have no side effects, other than the creation of symbols and packages as the input file is read by the reader.

By default a form is skipped if an error occurs during compilation. If you need to debug an error during compilation by compile-file , set *compiler-break-on-error*.

During compilation of a file foo.lisp (on an Intel Macintosh, for example) a temporary output file named t_foo.xfasl is used, so that an unsuccessful compile does not overwrite an existing foo.xfasl .

LispWorks uses the following naming conventions for fasl files, and it is recommended that you should use them too, to ensure correct operation of load and so on.

Naming conventions for FASL files


Fasl Extension

x86 Windows/32-bit LispWorks


x64 Windows/64-bit LispWorks


x86 Linux/32-bit LispWorks


amd64 Linux/64-bit LispWorks


x86 FreeBSD/32-bit LispWorks


HP-PA/32-bit LispWorks


SPARC/32-bit LispWorks


SPARC/64-bit LispWorks


Intel Macintosh/32-bit LispWorks


PowerPC Macintosh/32-bit LispWorks


Intel Macintosh/64-bit LispWorks


PowerPC Macintosh/64-bit LispWorks


You can find the fasl file extension appropriate for your machine by looking at the variable system:*binary-file-type* . The variable system::*binary-file-types* contains a list of all the file extensions currently recognized by load and load-data-file.

Compatibility Note

In LispWorks for Windows 4.4 and previous, the fasl file extension is .fsl . This changed in LispWorks 5.0.

In LispWorks for Linux 4.4 and previous, the fasl file extension is .ufsl . This changed in LispWorks 5.0.

See also


LispWorks Reference Manual - 12 Mar 2008