Getting started / Tutorials

Advanced Installation

Roswell as a scripting environment

Roswell as an implementation manager

Roswell as a Testing Environment

Distributing applications


For Developers/Maintainers

Roswell as a Scripting Environment

Although Roswell is a unified interface to Common Lisp implementations, it also encourages writing scripts with it. A "Roswell script" is an implementation-independent script which can be invoked from a shell command line, launched by Roswell and run under standard CL environment.

To relatively new users of common lisp: Roswell scripts are just like shell scripts, but for lisp. Most tutorials you will find on the internet will be assuming a REPL (read-eval-print-loop), but you can do the same thing in a file.

To advanced users: Compared to writing a normal lisp script (e.g. by #!/usr/bin/sbcl -l), Roswell scripts have the following advantages: * A roswell script can be distributed using quicklisp's infrastructure (if you are a library author), and installed with ros install [system], i.e., those scripts are made available anywhere in your system. * Also, the script can be dumped into an executable binary for the distribution purpose or for reducing the startup time. Each subsection below describes each feature.

Initialising a Roswell Script

To start, run ros init in your terminal:

$ ros init
Usage: ros init [template] name [options...]

$ ros init fact
Successfully generated: fact.ros

The content of the file looks like this:

#|-*- mode:lisp -*-|#
exec ros -Q -- $0 "$@"
(defun main (&rest argv)
  (declare (ignorable argv)))

This looks a little bit hacky. It actually is a shell script which exec Roswell immediately. Roswell runs the same script, skips multi-line comments, reads the rest of the file as a Common Lisp program, and finally invokes a function main with command-line arguments.

Here's an example program which takes the exact one argument and prints its factorial:

#|-*- mode:lisp -*-|#
exec ros -Q -- $0 "$@"

(defun fact (n)
  (if (zerop n)
      (* n (fact (1- n)))))

(defun main (n &rest argv)
  (declare (ignore argv))
  (format t "~&Factorial ~D = ~D~%" n (fact (parse-integer n))))
$ fact.ros 3
Factorial 3 = 6

$ fact.ros 10
Factorial 10 = 3628800

Though it falls through CL debugger if there's no arguments or non-integer value, I assume it's okay for now as a simple example ;) For further details, see this article.

Another thing you may notice is the speed --- why it takes so long to just compute the factorial? It is due to the slow startup time, and you can easily reduce it. See Reducing Startup Time.

Distributing Scripts via Quicklisp (for advanced users)

When you write a script which would make other people happy, let's think about sharing it. The easiest way to achieve this is to just send the .ros file to the others. However, it is impractical when your script is more like a "library" containing multiple separated source files.

If you're the author of the library, then consider adding the ros file to the repository and automatically providing a roswell-installable command-line interface to it. The .ros files should be located in roswell/ subdirectory in the repository. Once added, ros install recognizes the ros scripts in the repository. When ros install <library name> is invoked, it downloads the specified library from Quicklisp and then copies the script files to ~/.roswell/bin. These scripts can be launched via ros exec <script name>. Also, when the PATH to ~/.roswell/bin is resolved, they are available from the command line.

$ ros install <library name>

For instance, try ros install clack:

$ ros install clack
found system clack.
Attempting install scripts...
$ ros exec clackup                                                ### launch the web server!

To avoid ros exec, add bin/ to the PATH variable:

$ echo 'export PATH="$HOME/.roswell/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.zshrc
$ clackup                                                         ### launch the web server!