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5.2.2 A Sample Guile Main Program

Here is ‘simple-guile.c’, source code for a main and an inner_main function that will produce a complete Guile interpreter.

/* simple-guile.c --- how to start up the Guile
   interpreter from C code.  */

/* Get declarations for all the scm_ functions.  */
#include <libguile.h>

static void
inner_main (void *closure, int argc, char **argv)
  /* module initializations would go here */
  scm_shell (argc, argv);

main (int argc, char **argv)
  scm_boot_guile (argc, argv, inner_main, 0);
  return 0; /* never reached */

The main function calls scm_boot_guile to initialize Guile, passing it inner_main. Once scm_boot_guile is ready, it invokes inner_main, which calls scm_shell to process the command-line arguments in the usual way.

Here is a Makefile which you can use to compile the above program. It uses pkg-config to learn about the necessary compiler and linker flags.

# Use GCC, if you have it installed.

# Tell the C compiler where to find <libguile.h>
CFLAGS=`pkg-config --cflags guile-2.0`

# Tell the linker what libraries to use and where to find them.
LIBS=`pkg-config --libs guile-2.0`

simple-guile: simple-guile.o
        ${CC} simple-guile.o ${LIBS} -o simple-guile

simple-guile.o: simple-guile.c
        ${CC} -c ${CFLAGS} simple-guile.c

If you are using the GNU Autoconf package to make your application more portable, Autoconf will settle many of the details in the Makefile above automatically, making it much simpler and more portable; we recommend using Autoconf with Guile. Here is a ‘’ file for simple-guile that uses the standard PKG_CHECK_MODULES macro to check for Guile. Autoconf will process this file into a configure script. We recommend invoking Autoconf via the autoreconf utility.


# Find a C compiler.

# Check for Guile

# Generate a Makefile, based on the results.

Run autoreconf -vif to generate configure.

Here is a template, from which the configure script produces a Makefile customized for the host system:

# The configure script fills in these values.

simple-guile: simple-guile.o
        ${CC} simple-guile.o ${LIBS} -o simple-guile
simple-guile.o: simple-guile.c
        ${CC} -c ${CFLAGS} simple-guile.c

The developer should use Autoconf to generate the ‘configure’ script from the ‘’ template, and distribute ‘configure’ with the application. Here’s how a user might go about building the application:

$ ls     configure*    simple-guile.c
$ ./configure
checking for gcc... ccache gcc
checking whether the C compiler works... yes
checking for C compiler default output file name... a.out
checking for suffix of executables... 
checking whether we are cross compiling... no
checking for suffix of object files... o
checking whether we are using the GNU C compiler... yes
checking whether ccache gcc accepts -g... yes
checking for ccache gcc option to accept ISO C89... none needed
checking for pkg-config... /usr/bin/pkg-config
checking pkg-config is at least version 0.9.0... yes
checking for GUILE... yes
configure: creating ./config.status
config.status: creating Makefile
$ make
$ ./simple-guile
guile> (+ 1 2 3)
guile> (getpwnam "jimb")
#("jimb" "83Z7d75W2tyJQ" 4008 10 "Jim Blandy" "/u/jimb"
guile> (exit)

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