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Guile Initialization Functions

To initialize Guile, use this function:

Function: void scm_boot_guile (int argc, char **argv, void (*main_func) (), void *closure)
Initialize the Guile Scheme interpreter. Then call main_func, passing it closure, argc, and argv. main_func should do all the work of the program (initializing other packages, defining application-specific functions, reading user input, and so on) before returning. When main_func returns, call exit (0); scm_boot_guile never returns. If you want some other exit value, have main_func call exit itself.

scm_boot_guile arranges for the Scheme command-line function to return the strings given by argc and argv. If main_func modifies argc or argv, it should call scm_set_program_arguments with the final list, so Scheme code will know which arguments have been processed.

scm_boot_guile establishes a catch-all error handler which prints an error message and exits the process. This means that Guile exits in a coherent way if a system error occurs and the user isn't prepared to handle it. If the user doesn't like this behavior, they can establish their own universal catcher in main_func to shadow this one.

Why must the caller do all the real work from main_func? Guile's garbage collector assumes that all local variables which reference Scheme objects will be above scm_boot_guile's stack frame on the stack. If you try to manipulate Scheme objects after this function returns, it's the luck of the draw whether Guile's storage manager will be able to find the objects you allocate. So, scm_boot_guile function exits, rather than returning, to discourage you from making that mistake.

One common way to use Guile is to write a set of C functions which perform some useful task, make them callable from Scheme, and then link the program with Guile. This yields a Scheme interpreter just like guile, but augmented with extra functions for some specific application -- a special-purpose scripting language.

In this situation, the application should probably process its command-line arguments in the same manner as the stock Guile interpreter. To make that straightforward, Guile provides this function:

Function: void scm_shell (int argc, char **argv)
Process command-line arguments in the manner of the guile executable. This includes loading the normal Guile initialization files, interacting with the user or running any scripts or expressions specified by -s or -e options, and then exiting. See section Invoking Guile, for more details.

Since this function does not return, you must do all application-specific initialization before calling this function.

If you do not use this function to start Guile, you are responsible for making sure Guile's usual initialization files, `init.scm' and `ice-9/boot-9.scm', get loaded. This will change soon.

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