ScriptBasic Developers Manual

by Peter Verhas

Table of Contents

[Contents]

1. Introduction

ScriptBasic is an open source scripting implementation of the programming language BASIC. The language and the implementation make the software a considerable choice in many cases when there is a need for some scripting tool. This software can be used where traditionally Perl, Python, TCL or some other scripting interpreter is used.

The language itself is BASIC with powerful command set and large number of extension modules. The language was designed so that this is familiar for all BASIC programmers no matter which dialect one has experience with. Thus the learning curve of the language is very steep: you can start to write your first programs just in few minutes.

The interpreter is built modular, well documented, and easy to read source code and has well defined and documented interfaces. It is easy to embed the interpreter into an application and it is also easy to write external modules extending the language. Applications embedding ScriptBasic can build virtual machines in multiple or in single process running interpreters simultaneously independent of each other, but they can also execute multi-thread applications running interpreter threads that provide features for the BASIC programs running parallel to communicate to each other.

This means that ScriptBasic can be the language of choice in situations when the application programmer wants to implement some programmability feature into the application. It will attract the users of the application because there is no need to learn a new programming language at the time when they have to learn the functions of the application anyway. The programmer on the other hand has an easy job to integrate ScriptBasic into the application because it was designed for the purpose.

To sum up these in a listing the language and the implementation has the following features:

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1.1. Chapters

This documentation has four main chapters. These are

I advise you to read the architecture chapter first to get the overall picture. After that you can read one of the three middle chapters based on your plans. If you plan to embed the interpreter, read the second chapter. If you want to write an extension module, read the third chapter. If you intend to write a preprocessor, read the fourth chapter. You may want to do more than one even.

By now you may not need what the differences are. This will change after reading the architecture chapter.

The last chapter is to be read just before you start to experiment with ScriptBasic. This will give you guide lines how to compile the program from source. This may not be needed for extension module and preprocessor developers, but it does not do any harm either. It may help.

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2. Interpreter Architecture

This chapter tells you the architecture of the interpreter. It is not a must to read this chapter, and you may find that some topic is irrelevant or not needed to learn to embed or to extend ScriptBasic. However understanding the internal working order of ScriptBasic should help you understand why some of the extending or embedding interfaces work the way they actually do. So I recommend that you read on and do not skip this chapter.

To read this chapter and to understand the internal working of the interpreter is vital when you decide to write an internal preprocessor. Internal preprocessors interact with not only the execution system but also the reader, lexer, syntaxer and builder modules along the way one after the other as they do their unique job processing a BASIC program, thus internal preprocessor writers have to understand how these modules work.

ScriptBasic is not a real scripting language. This is a mix of a scripting language and compiled languages. The language is scripting in the sense that it is very easy to write small programs, there is no need for long variable and function declarations. On the other hand the language is compiled into an internal code that is executed afterwards. This is the same or similar technique, which is used in the implementations of the language Java, Perl, Python and many other languages.

ScriptBasic as a language is a BASIC dialect that implements most BASIC features that BASIC implementations usually do. However ScriptBasic variables are not typed, and dynamic storage, like arrays are automatically allocated and released. A ScriptBasic variable can store a string, an integer, a real value or an array. Naturally a variable can not store more than one of any of these types of values. But you need not declare a variable to be INTEGER or REAL, or STRING. A variable may store a string at a time and the next assignment command may release the original value and store a different value in the variable.

When a program is executed it goes through several steps. The individual steps are implemented in different modules each being coded in a separate C language source file. These modules were developed so that they provide clear interface and thus could be replaced. The lexical analyzer uses the functions provided by the reader, the syntax analyzer uses the functions provided by the lexical analyzer and so on. The modules never dig into each others private area.

The modules are listed here with some explanation.

The following sections detail these modules and also some other modules that help these modules to perform their actual tasks.

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2.1. External Preprocessor

The module that implements the external preprocessor handling is coded in the C source file `epreproc.c' (Note that there is a file `ipreproc.c' that handles internal preprocessors.) The sole function in this file is named epreproc. This is quite a complex function that gets a lot of arguments listing all the preprocessors that have to be executed one after the other on the source file or on the file created by the previous preprocessor in case there are more than one preprocessors to be applied in chains. The function gets a series of preprocessors to be executed in the command line but in case there is no preprocessor defined in the arguments it executes the preprocessors that have to be executed according to the BASIC program file name extension and the configuration file.

Only the preprocessors that are configured can be executed. Each preprocessor has a symbolic name, which is used to name it in the configuration file or on the command line using the option `-p'.

An external preprocessor is a program that reads a text file and produces a text file. ScriptBasic executes the external preprocessor in a separate process and supplies it with the input and the output file name on the command line. For example the `scriba.conf.lsp' configuration file may contain the following lines

preproc (
  extensions (
     heb "heb"
     )
  external (
    heb (
      executable "/usr/bin/scriba /usr/share/scriba/source/heber.bas"
      directory "/var/cache/scriba/hebtemp/"
      )    
    )
  )

The key executable defines the executable image of the preprocessor. In this case this is an executable image and an argument because the HEB (HTML Embedded Basic) preprocessor is written in BASIC. The other arguments, namely the input file name and the output file name are appended after this string separated by space. When the preprocessor is executed the actual command line is

/usr/bin/scriba /usr/share/scriba/source/heber.bas myprog.heb /var/cache/scriba/hebtemp/ADBKPLNBDELMMNKGNBBLHAHGBKKJFIMN

(The above sample command line may be split into two lines by the printing/displaying system, but this is essentially a single command line with the executable name and the two arguments.)

The final argument is a file name automatically generated by ScriptBasic using MD5 calculation of the input file name full path (may and presumably should not be correct in this example above as I just typed some random 32 characters). The preprocessor should read the file myprog.heb and should generate /var/ca@dots{MN} (forgive me for not typing that long file name again).

If there are more preprocessor to be executed on the generated result then the next is executed on the generated file as input file and another output file is generated.

The preprocessor program should gracefully exit the process it runs in and exit with the code 0. Any other process exit code is treated as error and the further processing of the BASIC program is aborted.

The sample code for the HEB preprocessor can be found in the ScriptBasic source distribution. Note that this preprocessor implementation is a sample and is not meant to be a professional, commercial grade preprocessor.

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2.2. Reader

The module reader is implemented in the C source file `reader.c' This is a very simple module it just reads the lines from the source code files and stores the actual text in memory using linked lists. There is not too much possibility to configure this module except that the memory handling functions and the file opening, closing and reading functions are used via function pointers that can be altered by the caller.

These input modules configurable by the embedding application make it possible to read the BASIC source code from database, network or from some other stream not being conventional text file.

Like any other module in ScriptBasic the reader module uses a module object. This is like a class definition except that the interpreter is coded in C and thus there is nothing like VTABLE or inheritance. Otherwise the code is object oriented. Here we list the actual definition of the reader object. Note however that this is actually a copy of the actual definition from the file `reader.c' and it may have been changed since I wrote this manual. So the reader object by the time I wrote this manual (v2.0.0) was:

#define BUFFER_INITIAL_SIZE 1024 //bytes
#define BUFFER_INCREMENT 1024 // number of bytes to increase the buffer size, when it is too small
  char *Buffer;  // buffer to read a line
  long dwBuffer; // size of Buffer in bytes
  long cBuffer;  // the number of character actually in the buffer

pSourceLine Result; // the lines of the file(s) read

// iteration variables pSourceLine CurrentLine; // the current line in the iteration long NextCharacterPosition; // the position of the next character to be returned during iteration char fForceFinalNL; // if this is TRUE then an extra new line is // added to the last line if it was terminated by EOF

pReportFunction report; void *reportptr; // this pointer is passed to the report function. The caller should set it. int iErrorCounter; unsigned long fErrorFlags;

pImportedFileList pImportList;

char *FirstUNIXline; struct _PreprocObject *pPREP; } ReadObject, *pReadObject;

The pointers fpOpenFile, fpGetCharacter and fpCloseFile point to functions that are used to open the input file. The pointer pFileHandleClass set by the higher code using the module reader is passed to these functions without caring its meaning. This is not used by the standard file input/output functions that are used by the command line version of the program, but can be useful for program environment when the source file is stored in some other forms and not in a file. An example of such use can be seen in the function scriba_LoadProgramString implemented in the file `scriba.c'.

The linked list of source lines is stored in the structure named SourceLine The definition of this structure is

typedef struct _SourceLine {
  char *line;
  long lLineNumber;
  long LineLength;
  char *szFileName;
  struct _SourceLine *next;
  } SourceLine, *pSourceLine;

You can see that each source line is pointed by the field line and the length of the line is also stored. The reason for this extra field is that the line itself may contain zero character although this is rare for a program source file to contain zero character inside.

Before the file is read the function reader_InitStructure should be called. This is usual for the ScriptBasic modules. This function initializes the reader object to the usual values that actually ScriptBasic needs.

The reader provides function reader_ReadLines that actually reads the lines and also processes all lines that contain an include or import directive to include a line.

The reader has some extra functions that are specific to ScriptBasic or generally saying are specific to program source reading.

Source programs under UNIX usually start with a line

#! /usr/bin/scriba

that tells the operating system how to start the code.

((((Some very old and totally outdated version of some UNIX systems check the first four characters to look for #! /. There is a space between the ! and the /. So if you want to be look a real code geek put this extra space before the executable path. To be honest I have never encountered this issue since 1987 when I met my first UNIX at TU Delft, Hollandia. OK that's for the story, get back to the reader!))) Always close the parentheses you open!)

The reader recognizes this line if this is the very first line of the program and unlinks it from the list. Instead you can reach this line via the reader object variable FirstUNIXline. This is specific to program source reading and not general file reading. But the reader module is a program source reader or more specific: a BASIC, even ScriptBasic program source reader, though it was coded to be as general as possible.

Another specific issue is the new line at the end of the last line. Lines are usually terminated by new-line. This line terminating character is included in the string at the end of each element of the linked list the reader creates. However when the last line is terminated by the pure EOF some syntax analyzers may fail (ScriptBasic syntax analyzer is also an example, but the reader is kind to care about this). For the reason if the variable fForceFinalNL is set to be TRUE this line gets the extra new-line when read.

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2.3. Lexer

The module lexer is implemented in the C source file `lexer.c' This is a module that converts the read characters to a list of tokens. The lexer recognizes the basic lexical elements, like numbers, strings or keywords. It starts to read the characters provided by the reader and group it p into lexical elements. For example whenever the lexical analyzer sees a " character it starts to process a string until it finds the closing ". When it does the module creates a new token, links it to the end of the list and goes on.

To do this the lexical analyzer has to know what is a keyword, string or number.

Because general purpose, table driven lexical analyzers are usually rather slow ScriptBasic uses a proprietary lexical analyzer that is partially table driven, but not so general purpose as one created using the program LEX.

There are some rules that are coded into the C code of the lexical analyzer, while other are defined in tables. Even the rules coded into the C program are usually parameterized in the module object.

Lets see the module object definition from the file `lexer.c' (Note that the C .h header files are extracted from the .c files thus there is no need to double maintain function prototypes.)

Note however that this is actually a copy of the actual definition from the file `lexer.c' and it may have been changed since I wrote this manual. So the lexer object by the time I wrote this manual was:

typedef struct _LexObject {
  int (*pfGetCharacter)(void *);
  char * (*pfFileName)(void *);
  long (*pfLineNumber)(void *);
  void *pvInput;
  void *(*memory_allocating_function)(size_t, void *);
  void (*memory_releasing_function)(void *, void *);
  void *pMemorySegment;

char *SSC; char *SCC;

char *SFC; char *SStC; char *SKIP;

char *ESCS; long fFlag;

pReportFunction report; void *reportptr; int iErrorCounter; unsigned long fErrorFlags;

char *buffer; long cbBuffer;

pLexNASymbol pNASymbols; int cbNASymbolLength;

pLexNASymbol pASymbols;

pLexNASymbol pCSymbols; pLexeme pLexResult; pLexeme pLexCurrentLexeme; struct _PreprocObject *pPREP; }LexObject, *pLexObject;

This struct contains the global variables of the lexer module. In the first "section" of the structure you can see the variables that may already sound familiar from the module reader. These parameterize the memory allocation and the input source for the module. The input functions are usually set so that the characters come from the module reader, but there is no principal objection to use other character source for the purpose.

The variable pvInput is not altered by the module. It is only passed to the input functions. The function pointer name pfGetCharacter speaks for itself. It is like getc returns the next character. However when this function pointer is set to point to the function reader_NextCharacter the input is already preprocessed a bit. Namely the include and import directives were processed.

This imposes some interesting feature that you may recognize now if you read the reader module and this module definition carefully. include and import works inside multi-line strings. (OK I did not talk about multi-line strings so far so do not feel ashamed if you did not realize this.)

The function pointers pfFileName and pfLineNumber should point to functions that return the file name and the line number of the last read character. This is something that a getc will not provide, but the reader functions do. This will allow the lexical analyzer to store the file name and the line number for each token.

The next group of variables seems to be frightening and unreadable at first, but here is this book to explain them. These variables define what is a string, a symbol, what has to be treated as unimportant space and so on. Usually symbols start with alpha character and are continued with alphanumeric characters in most programming languages. But what is an alpha character? Is _ one or is $ a valid alphanumeric character. Well, for the lexer module if any of these characters appear in the variable SSC then the answer is yes. The name stands for Symbol Start Characters. But lets go through all these variables one by one.

The default values for these variables are set in the function lex_InitStructure. Interestingly these default values are perfectly ok for ScriptBasic.

The field pNASymbols points to an array that contains the non-alpha symbols list. Each element of this array contains a string that is the textual representation of the symbol and a code, which is the token code of the symbol. For example the table NASYMBOLS in file `syntax.c' is:

LexNASymbol NASYMBOLS[] = { { "@\\" , CMD_EXTOPQN } , { "@`" , CMD_EXTOPQO } , { "@'" , CMD_EXTOPQP } , { "@" , CMD_EXTOPQQ } ,

...

{ "@" , CMD_EXTOPQ } , { "^" , CMD_POWER } , { "*" , CMD_MULT } , { NULL, 0 } };

When the lexical analyzer finds something that is not a string, number or alphanumeric symbol it tries to read forward and recognize any of the non-alpha tokens listed in this table. It is extremely important that the symbols are ordered in this table so that the longer symbols come first thus a symbol abc is not presented before abcd. Otherwise abcd will never be found!

The variable cbNASymbolLength is nothing to care about. This is used internally and is calculated automatically by the lexical analyzer.

The variable pASymbols is similar to the variable pNASymbols pointing to a same kind of table. This variable however should point to an array that contains the alphanumeric symbols. You can find the array ASYMBOLS in file `syntax.c' that is pointed by this variable for ScriptBasic.

The order of the words in this array is not important except that more frequent words being listed earlier result faster compilation.

The field pCSymbols points to an array that is used only for debugging purposes. I mean debugging ScriptBasic code itself and not debugging BASIC programs.

The rest of the variables are used by the functions that iterate through the list of tokens when the syntax analyzer reads the token list or to report errors during lexical analysis. Error reporting is detailed in a separate section.

The tables that list the lexical elements are not maintained "by hand". The source for ScriptBasic syntax is maintained in the file `syntax.def' and the program `syntaxer.pl' creates the C syntax file `syntax.c' from the syntax definition.

The program `syntaxer.pl' is so complex that after two years I wrote it I had hard time to understand it and I rather treat it as a holly code: blessed and untouchable. (Ok: see: that code is quite compound, but if there was any bug found in that I could understand what I did in a few hours. Anyway, the brain created that code once belonged to me.)

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2.3.1. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.4. Syntax Analyzer

The syntax analyzer is a module that reads the token stream delivered by the lexer module and builds a memory data structure containing the syntactically analyzed and built program. The syntax analyzer is contained in the source file `expression.c' The name of this module come from the fact that the most important and most complex task of syntax analysis is the analysis of the expressions.

For the syntax analyzer the program is a series of commands. A command is a series of symbols. There is nothing like command blocks, or one command embedding another command. Therefore the syntax definition is quite simple and yet still powerful enough to define a BASIC like language.

Because syntax analysis is quite a complex task and the syntax analyzer built for ScriptBasic is quite a complex one I recommend that you first read the tutorial from the ScriptBasic web site that talks about the syntax analysis. This is a series of slides together with real audio voice explaining the structure of the syntax analyzer of ScriptBasic.

The syntax analyzer should be configured using a structure containing the configuration parameters and the “global variables” for the syntactical analyzer. This structure contains the pointer to the array containing the syntax definition. Each element of the array defines command syntax. Command syntax is the list of the symbols that construct the command. When the syntactical analyzer tries to analyze a line it tries the array elements until it finds one matching the line. When checking a line against a syntax definition the syntactical analyzer takes the lexical elements on the line and checks that they match the next symbol in the syntax definition. A symbol can be as simple as a reserved word, like if else, endif. Such a syntax element is matched by the specific keyword. On the other hand a symbol on the syntax definition can be as complex as an expression, which is matched by a whole expression.

The syntax analyzer has some built in assumption about the language, but the actual syntax is defined in tables. This way it is possible to analyze different languages using different tables in the same program even in the same process in separate threads.

When the syntax analyzer reads the syntax definition of a line and matches the tokens from the lexer against the syntax element it may do several things:

The first is the case when the syntax element is a constant symbol. For example it is a command keyword. In this case there is nothing to do with the keyword except that the syntax analyzer has to recognize that this is the statement identified by the keyword. The actual code will be generated later when non-constant syntactical elements are found.

When the syntax analyzer sees that the next syntax element is some variable, non-constant syntax element it matches the coming tokens and creates the nodes that hold the actual value for the tokens. For example when the syntax element is string the syntax analyzer checks that the coming token is a string and creates a node that holds the string. The most important example is the syntax element expression. In this case the syntax analyzer checks that the coming tokens form an expression and not only "consumes" these tokens, but creates several nodes that hold the structure of the expression.

We can distinguish between constant and variable symbolic definition elements.

There are some special symbols that are always matched whenever they are checked by the syntax analyzer. They do not consume any lexical element from the line, and generate values in the memory structure that the analyzer builds.

The symbolic definition elements are:

Note that you can find other syntax definition elements in the file syntax.def. However these are converted to a character value by the Perl script tool syntaxer.pl These pseudo syntax definition elements are:

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2.4.1. Name Space

The scriba syntax analyzer implements a simple name space handling. A variable, label or function name always belongs to a name space. The default name space is main. When the syntax analyzer processes a non-absolute symbol it converts the name to contain the name space. A variable named var in the name space main has the name main::var. The syntax analyzer automatically converts the name to contain the name space, therefore main::var and var are equivalent when used in the name space main.

When a variable contains double colon it is treated as an absolute name, and no name space is prepended to it. If you are in the name space module and use the variable name main::var it will NOT be converted to module::main::var. The reason is that it already contains the characters :: and therefore scriba assumes that it already contains the name space.

If you are in the name space module and want to refer to the variable module::main::var you can use the names module::main::var or ::main::var. The first format contains all nested name spaces to the variable. The second version tells the syntax analyzer that the variable is relative, altough it contains double colon. This is because it starts with double colons.

If you are in name space module::submodul and want to refer to the variable module::var you can either write module::var or _::var. The first format contains all nested name spaces to the variable. The second version tells the syntax analyzer that the variable is relative and the base module is the embedding module of the current one.

If you are familiar with the UNIX or DOS/Windows directory notation you can find similarities of file names and name space in scriba. In file names double dot means the parent directory. In scriba underscore character means the parent name space. You can use the _ character not only in front of a name, but also within :: characters. For example

Main::module::var
Main::module::submodule::_::var
Main::_::Main::module::var

are equivalent.

Name spaces help to separate variables and to develop scripts cooperatively, but does not prohibit one name space to access variables or symbols of other name spaces.

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2.4.2. Expression

The formal description of an expression syntax is:

 tag ::= UNOP tag
         NUMBER
         STRING
         '(' expression ')'
         VARIABLE { '[' expression_list ']' }
         FUNC '(' expression_list ')'
         .

expression_list ::= expression [ ',' expression_list ] . expression_i(1) ::= tag . expression_i(i) := expression_i(i-1) [ OP(i) expression_i(i) ] . expression ::= expression_i(MAX_PREC) .

where

The syntax analyzer is written to match an expression whenever an expression syntax definition element is to be matched according to these rules. The list of built-in function, unary operators and binary operators are defined in the module "global" variables, BuiltInFunctions, Unaries, and Binaries.

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2.4.3. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.5. Builder

The module is implemented in the file `builder.c'.

The rule of the builder is to compile the code created by the syntax analyzer into a continuous memory area. This compilation phase has two advantages. First of all it results a compact code which can easily saved into external file and can also be loaded making recompilation unnecessary before each execution. The second advantage is that the resulting code is smaller and saves memory.

When the syntax analyzer starts its work the final size of the code is not known. Therefore the syntax analyzer starts to build up a memory structure using pointers, linked lists allocating memory step by step as the code grows. Each command, expression element is stored in an internal structure, which is called a node. For example a node containing the operation "plus" contains the node type, which says it is an operator "plus" and contains two pointers to the two operands. The operands are also nodes. If the operand is a number the node contains the value of the number and the node type telling that it is a long or double number. If the operand is a variable the node type tells that the node is a variable and the node contains the serial number of the variable. If the operand needs further evaluation then the node is probably an operation having arguments pointed by pointers.

The structure that the builder creates is same as that of the syntax analyzer but it is allocated in a single memory chunk and instead of pointers it uses indices to refer a node from another. These indices are numbered from 1 and not from zero. This is because the index zero is used for NULL pointer if you know what I mean.

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2.5.1. Node Structure

Have a look at the C definition of a node:

typedef struct _cNODE {
  long OpCode; // the code of operation
  union {
    struct {// when the node is a command
      unsigned long next;
      union {
        unsigned long pNode;// node id of the node
        long lLongValue;
        double dDoubleValue;
        unsigned long szStringValue;
        }Argument;
      }CommandArgument;
    struct {//when the node is an operation
      unsigned long Argument;//node id of the node list head
      }Arguments;
    union {// when the node is a constant

double dValue; long lValue; unsigned long sValue; // serial value of the string from the string table }Constant; struct {// when the node is a variable unsigned long Serial;// the serial number of the variable }Variable; struct {// when node is a user functions unsigned long NodeId; // the entry point of the function unsigned long Argument; // node id of the node list head }UserFunction; struct {// when the node is a node list head unsigned long actualm; //car unsigned long rest; //cdr }NodeList; }Parameter; } cNODE,*pcNODE;

The field OpCode is the same as the code used in the lexer or the syntax analyzer. In case of an IF statement it is CMD_IF. This field can, should and is used to identify which part of the union Parameter is to be used.

The individual lines of the BASIC program that create code are chained into a list. Each line has a head node. The OpCode of the head nodes is eNTYPE_LST. This type of node contains NodeList structure. The field NodeList.actualm contains the index of the first node of the actual line and the field NodeList.rest contains the index of the next header node.

This type of node is used to gather expression lists into a linked list.

Note that usually not the first node in the byte-code is the first head node, where the code is to be started. The nodes generated from a line are created before the head node is allocated in the syntax analyzer and the head node thus gets a larger serial number. The builder uses the serial numbers counted by the syntax analyzer and does not rearrange the nodes.

The command node that the field NodeList.actualm "points" contains the opcode of the command. For example if the actual command is IF then the OpCode is CMD_IF.

In case of command nodes the Parameter is CommandArgument. If the command has only a single argument the field next is zero. Otherwise this field contains the node index of the node holding the next argument.

The Parameter.CommandArgument.Argument union contains the actual argument of the command. There is no indication in the data structure what type the argument is. The command has to know what kind of arguments it gets, and should not interpret the union different.

The field pNode is the node index of the parameter. This is the case for example when the parameter is an expression or a label to jump to.

The fields lLongValue, dDoubleValue and szStringValue contain the constant values in case the argument is a constant. However this is actually not the string that is stored in the field szStringValue but the index to the string table where the string is started. (Yes, here is some inconsistency in naming.)

Strings are stored in a string table where each string is stored one after the other. Each string is terminated with a zero character and each string is preceded by a long value that indicates the length of the string. The zero character termination eases the use of the string constants when they have to be passed to the operating system avoiding the need to copy the strings in some cases.

The field Parameter.CommandArgument.next is zero in case there are no more arguments of the command, or the index of the node containing the next argument. The OpCode field of the following arguments is eNTYPE_CRG.

When the node is part of an expression and represents an operation or the call of a built-in function then the Arguments structure of the Parameter union is to be used. This simply contains Argument that "points" to a list of "list" nodes that list the arguments in a list. In this case the OpCode is the code of the built-in function or operation.

When the node represents a string or a numeric constant the Constant union field of the union Parameter should be used. This stores the constant value similar as the field CommandArgument except that it can only be long, double or a string. In case of constant node the OpCode is eNTYPE_DBL for a double, eNTYPE_LNG for a long and eNTYPE_STR for a string.

When the node represents a variable the field Variable has to be used. In this case the field Serial contains the serial number of the variable. To distinguish between local and global variables the OpCode is either eNTYPE_LVR for local variables or eNTYPE_GVR for global variables.

When the node is a user defined function call the field UserFunction is used. Note that this is not the node that is generated from the line sub/function myfunc but rather when the function or subroutine is called. The OpCode is eNTYPE_FUN.

The field NodeId is the index of the node where the function or subroutine starts. The field Argument is the index of the list node that starts the list of the argument expressions.

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2.5.2. Binary File Format

The built code is usually saved to a cache file and this file is used later to load the already compiled code into memory for subsequent execution. The format of this file can be read from the function build_SaveCode in file `builder.c'. This function is quite linear it just saves several structures and is well commented so you should not have problem to understand it. However here I also give some description on the format of the binary file.

The binary file may or may not start with a textual line. This line is the usual UNIX #! /usr/bin/scriba string telling the operating system how to execute the text file. Altough we are talking now about a binary file, from the operating system point of view this is just a file, like a ScriptBasic source file, a Perl script or a bash script. The operating system starts to read the file and if the start of the file is something like

#! /usr/bin/scriba\n

with a new-line character at the end then it can be executed from the command line if some other permission related constraints are met.

When ScriptBasic saves the binary format file it uses the same executable path that was given in the source file. If the source file starts with the line #! /usr/bin/mypath/scriba and the basic progam `myprog.bas' was started using the command line

/usr/bin/scriba -o myprog.bbf myprog.bas

then the file `myprog.bbf' will start with the line #! /usr/bin/mypath/scriba.

The user's guide lists a small BASIC program that reads and writes the binary file and alters this line.

Having this line on the first place in the binary format BASIC file makes it possible to deliver programs in compiled format. For example you may develop a CGI application and deliver it as compiled format to protect your program from the customer. You can convert your source issuing the command line

/usr/bin/scriba -o outputdirectory/myprog.bas myprog.bas

and deliver the binary `myprog.bas' to the customer. ScriptBasic does not care the file extension and does not expect a file with the extension .bas to be source BASIC. It automatically recognizes binary format BASIC programs and thus you need no alter even the URLs that refer to CGI BASIC programs.

The next byte in the file following this optional opening line is the size of a long on the machine the code was created. The binary code is not necessarily portable from one machine to another. It depends on pointer and long size as well as byte ordering. We experienced Windows NT and Linux to create the same binary file but this is not a must, may change.

The size of a long is stored in a single character as sizeof(long)+0x30 so the ASCII character is either '4' or '8' on 32 and 64 bit machines.

This byte is followed by the version information. This is a struct:

  unsigned long MagicCode;
  unsigned long VersionHigh, VersionLow;
  unsigned long MyVersionHigh,MyVersionLow;
  unsigned long Build;
  unsigned long Date;
  unsigned char Variation[9];

The MagicCode is 0x1A534142. On DOS based system this is the characters 'BAS' and ^Z which means end of text file. Thus if you issue the command

C:\> type mybinaryprogram.bbf

you will get

4BAS

without scrambling your screen. If you use UNIX system then be clever enough not to cat a binary program to the terminal.

The values VersionHigh and VersionLow are the version number of ScriptBasic core code. This is currently 1 and 0. The fields MyVersionHigh and MyVersionLow are reserved for developers who develop a variation of ScriptBasic. The variation may alter some features and still is based on the same version of the core code. These two version fields are reserved here to distinguish between different variation versions based on the same core ScriptBasic code. To maintain these version numbers is essential for those who embed ScriptBasic into an application, especially if the different versions of the variations alter the binary file format which I doubt is really needed.

The field Build is the build of the core ScriptBasic code.

The Date is date when the file `builder.c' was compiled. The date is stored in a long in a tricky way that ensures that no two days result the same long number. In case you want to track how this is coded see the function build_MagicCode in file `builder.c'. This is really tricky.

The final field is Variation which is and should be an exactly 8 character long string and a zero character.

If you want to compile a different variation then alter the #define directives in the file `builder.c'

#define VERSION_HIGH 0x00000001
#define VERSION_LOW  0x00000000
#define MYVERSION_HIGH 0x00000000
#define MYVERSION_LOW  0x00000000
#define VARIATION "STANDARD"

To successfully load a binary format file to run in ScriptBasic the long size, the magic code, version information including the build and the variation string should match. Date may be different.

The following foru long numbers in the binary file define

This is followed by the nodes themselves and the stringtable.

This is the last point that has to exist in a binary format file of a BASIC program. The following bytes are optional and may not be present in the file.

The optional part contains the size of the function table defined on a long and the function table. After this the size of the global variable table is stored in a long and the global variable table.

The global variable and function symbol table are list of elements, each containing a long followed by the zero character terminated symbolic name. The long stores the serial number of the variable or the entry point of the function (the node index where the function starts).

These two tables are not used by ScriptBasic by itself, ScriptBasic does not need any symbolic information to execute a BASIC program. Programmers embedding ScriptBasic however demanded access global variables by name and the ability to execute individual functions from a BASIC program. If this last part is missing from a binary format BASIC program you will not be able to use in an application that uses these features.

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2.5.3. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.6. Executor

The executor kills the code. Oh, no! I was just kidding. It executes the code, which means something different. Starts with the first node and goes on.

The execution of the code starts calling the function execute_Execute implemented in the file `execute.c'

This function initializes the execution environment that was not initialized before calling the function execute_InitStructure

It allocates global variables, it fills command and instruction parameters and finalizer function pointers with NULL and starts the function execute_Execute_r

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2.6.1. Command parameters

Each command type has a pointer that it can use for its own purpose. This is to avoid using global variables. The file commands for example use the pointer available for the command OPEN. To access this pointer the macro PARAMPTR is used defined in the file `command.c'

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2.6.2. Instrunction parameters

Not only the commands have a pointer for their use, but there are pointers available for each instruction. To make it clear:

If there are three OPEN statements in a program they share a common command pointer, but each have its own instruction pointer.

The code fragments implementing the different commands are free to use their own or any other related command or instruction pointer.

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2.6.3. Finalizer function

Finalizer function pointers are available for each command type. This way they are similar to command parameters. There can be many OPEN statements in a program they share a common finalizer pointer. Each finalizer pointer is initialized to NULL.

The code fragments may put a function entry address in the finalizer pointer. When the execution of a program is finished the executing function calls each function that has a non NULL pointer in the finalizer array.

The _r in the function name tells that this is a recursive function that may call itself when an expression evaluation performs a function or subroutine call.

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2.6.4. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.7. Configuration File Handling

ScriptBasic contains a fairly sophisticated configuration handling module. The configuration information is read each time the interpreter starts, therefore it is vital that the information can be processed fast even if the configuration data is complex. This can be the case because the configuration information may also contain data for external modules that the interpreter loads when it starts and the external modules can access it any time they run.

The configuration information for ScriptBasic has to be maintained in textual format in a file that has more or less LISP syntax.

The format of the text file version of the configuration information is simple. It contains the keys and the corresponding values separated by one or more spaces and new lines. Usually a key and the assigned value is written on a line. Lines starting with the character ; is comment.

The values can be integer numbers, real numbers, strings and sub-configurations. Strings can either be single line or multi-line strings starting and ending with three """ characters, just like in the language ScriptBasic or in the language Python.

Sub-configurations start with the character ( and are closed with the character ). The list between the parentheses are keys and corresponding values.

This text file has to be converted to binary format. The ScriptBasic interpreter loads this binary format into memory without processing its content, thus loading speed of the configuration information is limited only by IO.

When the interpreter or an external module needs some configuration information there are functions in this module that can search and read information from the configuration file.

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2.7.1. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.8. Memory Allocation

This module is a general purpose memory allocation module, which can be used in any project that needs heavy and sophisticated memory allocation. Originally the module was developed for the ScriptBasic project. Later we used it for Index.hu Rt AdEgine project and multi-thread features were introduced.

The major problem with memory allocation is that memory should be released. Old programs depend on the operating system to release the memory when the process exists and do not release the memory before program termination. Such programs are extremely difficult to port to multi-thread operation. In multi thread operation a thread my exit, but the memory still belongs to the process that goes on.

This module provides a bit of abstraction that helps the programmer to release the memory. The abstraction is the following:

A piece of memory is always allocated from a segment. A segment is logical entity and you should not think of a segment in this content as a continuous memory area. I could also say that: whenever a piece of memory is allocated it is assigned to a segment. When a piece of memory is released it is removed from the segment. A segment is an administrative entity that keep track of the memory pieces that were allocated and assigned to the segment.

To explain segment to the fines details: segments are implemented as linked lists. Each element of the list contains the allocated memory piece as well as a pointer to the next and previous list members.

Whenever the programmer starts a sophisticated task that allocates several memory pieces it has to create a new segment and allocate the memory from that segment. When the memory is to be release the programmer can just say: release all the memory from the segment. This way he or she does not need keep track of the allocated memory structures, and walk through the memory pointers of his or her program which are designed to the program function instead of releasing the memory.

The overhead is the space allocated by two pointers for each memory piece and the size of the three pointers for each segment.

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2.8.1. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.9. Variable Allocation

This module implemented in the source file `memory.c' provides functions to allocate and deallocate memory for BASIC variables. This module itself allocates memory calling the underlying allocation module implemented in the file `myalloc.c'. The role of this module is to help ScriptBasic to reuse the allocated memory used for BASIC variable value store effectively.

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2.9.1. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.10. Error Reporting

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2.10.1. Functions implemented in this module

The following subsections list the functions that are implemented in this module. The source text of this documentation was extracted from the source Documentation embedded in the C source as comment. Treat these subsections more as reference documentation and less tutorial like.

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2.11. The Logger Module

The logger module is included in ScriptBasic though it is not a critical part of it. The command line version itself does not use the functions implemented in this module, though the functions are available for external modules. The Eszter SB Application Engine uses this module to asynchronously log hits and other events to ASCII text log files.

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2.12. Hook Functions

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2.13. Handle Pointers in External Modules Support Functions

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2.14. Thread Support Functions

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2.15. Dynamic Library Handling Support Functions

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2.16. Other System Dependant Functions

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2.17. Module Management

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2.18. Run Time Options Handling

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2.19. Simple Pattern Matching

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2.20. Symbol Table Handling

The functions in this module implement a general purpose symbol table handling.

Generally a symbol table is a binding functionality that associates symbols with attributes. Symbols in this implementation is a zero terminated string, and the attribute is a void * pointer. This is a general approach that can be used to store and retrieve any kind of symbols.

The symbol table handling functions usually always return a void ** that can be modified to point to the actual structure storing the attributes of the symbol.

The internal structure of a symbol table is a hash table of PRIME elements (211). Each hash stores a binary table sorting the symbols.

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3. Embedding the Interpreter

ScriptBasic was designed from the very start to be embeddable. This means that C programmers having their own application can fairly easy compile and link ScriptBasic together with their application and have ScriptBasic as a built in scripting language in their application.

To do this the C programmer should use the C api implemented in the file `scriba.c'. In this chapter we detail the C API as a reference listing all callable function, but before that there are some sections that describe a bit the overall model of ScriptBasiC. The next section will talk about what object orientation means for ScriptBasic and how to follow this object oriented approach when programming a ScriptBasic extended application in C.

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3.1. Object Oriented Model of ScriptBasic

Although ScriptBasic is implemented in pure C the coding and developing concept is rather object oriented. Such is the concept of the C API calling interface. This means that you have to deal with an abstract ScriptBasic program object when you want to execute a program. The structure of this program object is totally private to ScriptBasic and as a programmer embedding the interpreter you need not worry about it. The only action you have to do is to create such an object before doing any other function call calling scriba_new() and to destroy it after the BASIC program was executed and is not going to be used any more calling the function scriba_destroy().

The object is stored in memory and this piece of memory is allocated by ScriptBasic. The function scriba_new() allocates this memory and returns a pointer to this "object". Later this pointer has to be used to refer to this object.

Because C is not object oriented the functions called should explicitly get this pointer as first argument. When programming C++ the class pointer is used to access the class methods, and that also implicitly passes the object pointer to the method. The pointer passing code is generated by the C++ compiler. When calling ScriptBasic API the programmer has to store the "object" pointer and pass it as first argument to any function.

The type of the object pointer is pSbProgram.

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3.2. Sample Embedding

The best way of learning is learning by example. Therefore here we will discuss the most obvious embedding application: the command line variation of ScriptBasic. The command line variation of ScriptBasic can be found in the file `scribacmd.c' in the source directory `variations/standard'. You may also find there a file named `basiccmd.c' that contains the code that was used before the scriba_ C API was introduced. Have a look at it and bless God you have the new API.

In this section we will present the code from the file, but for brevity some code will not be copied to here. Also note that the code is copied and as the program develops the actual code may change while the one copied here most probably remains the same. (The API definitions are not "hand" copied, but rather taken from the C file when the documentation is compiled, so whenever the API changes the new documentation recompiled reflects the change.)

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3.2.1. Include Header Files

The main program of the standalone variation is implemented in the file `scribacmd.c'. If you look at the start of this program you can see that it start including the file `scriba.h'. This file contains all definitions that are needed by the C compiler to compile the code calling the scriba_ API functions.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <string.h>

#include "../../getopt.h" #include "../../scriba.h"

#include "../../basext.h"

In case you miss the file `scriba.h' then you should generate it using the program `headerer.pl' or `headerer.bas' which are also part of the distribution. C header files in ScriptBasic are not maintained by themselves. The text is rather maintained inside the C code, and is extracted using one of these scripts. (They do the same task.) The reason for this is to eliminate the double maintenance of function prototypes in the C and in the header file.

The file `basext.h' is also #included by the main program. This is not usually needed by other main programs. The standalone version needs it for the sole reason to be able to print out on the usage screen the extension module interface version that the actual interpreter support. This version is defined in the macro INTERFACE_VERSION. Other than that there is no reason or need to include any other file than `scriba.h'.

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3.2.2. Function main(), Variable Declarations

After some macro definitions that I do not list here the start of the function main comes:

main(int argc, char *argv[], char *env[]){

. . . . variable declarations . . . . .

pSbProgram pProgram;

. . . . variable declarations . . . . .

This piece of code defines the local variables. The variable pProgram will hold the pointer to the program object or simply saying pProgram is the program object variable. The other variables are not described here, their names and the code where they are used should make their usage and purpose clear.

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3.2.3. Command Line handling

The next piece of code is the command line option handling. This is not described here, because this is nothing special to ScriptBasic.

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3.2.4. Creating Program Object

The real interesting piece of code starts at this fragment:

  pProgram = scriba_new(malloc,free);

This code first of all creates a new program object calling scriba_new(). The two arguments to this function should be two pointers to two functions that will be used by the interpreter to allocate and release memory. The two functions should exhibit behavior like malloc and free. All lower layers inherit these functions and call these functions to get and to release memory. In case there are more than one program objects used they may one after the other or in different threads at the same time use the same functions or different functions. The only requirement is that the functions pointed by the arguments should be thread safe if different threads are started executing ScriptBasic interpreters. Thread safeness also may play important role when some extension module is multi-thread.

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3.2.5. Loading Configuration

  scriba_LoadConfiguration(pProgram,pszForcedConfigurationFileName);

The next function call is scriba_LoadConfiguration(). This function gets the configuration information from the compiled configuration file. The details of configuration files is detailed in section Configuration File Handling.

It is not a must to call this function from the embedding application, but with some few exceptions most embedding applications will do. Most ScriptBasic interpreter program objects need configuration information to be executed successfully.

To get the configuration for a program object there are two ways:

The second approach is necessary to gain performance in case there are several interpreters running one after the other or in parallel threads in the same process. If all these interpreters need the same configuration information they can use the same memory data, because the configuration information is not alterable by the interpreter. This way you can save the successive file loading and the extra memory space.

When the configuration is inherited it is very important that the program object holding the configuration is not destroyed while any of the inheriting program objects are alive. Therefore such applications usually create a program object that does not run any program but holds the configuration information loaded calling scriba_LoadConfiguration() and that exists for the life of the whole process.

For more information how to inherit the configuration information see the function scriba_InheritConfiguration().

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3.2.6. Loading Internal Preprocessors

The next function call loads the internal preprocessors. This is not necessary needed for the applications. This is needed only if there is some way to load an internal preprocessor before the program code is loaded. In the case of the standalone variation the command line option `-i' can specify internal preprocessor names.

  iError = scriba_LoadInternalPreprocessor(pProgram,pszIPreproc);
  if( iError ){
    report_report(stderr,"",0,iError,REPORT_ERROR,&iErrorCounter,NULL,&fErrorFlags);
    ERREXIT;
    }

If this function is not called by the main program for the program object the interpreter will still process internal preprocessors that are referenced by the program code using the statement use.

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3.2.7. Setting the File Name

To successfully load a program there is a need for the name of the file that holds the source code. To specify this file name for a program object the function scriba_SetFileName() should be used.

  scriba_SetFileName(pProgram,szInputFile);

This is the usual way getting the program into the program object, but there is another way. Some applications do not store the BASIC program string in text files, but in some other mass media, like relation database. In that case the application has to load the program string into the application memory and call scriba_LoadProgramString() to compile and execute the BASIC program. However in this case the program should not contain any include or import statement.

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3.2.8. Using the Cache

ScriptBasic is powerful being able to store the compiled version of BASIC programs in binary format in file. The next piece of code checks if there is already a compiled version of the BASIC program in the configured cache directory calling the function scriba_UseCacheFile()

  if( scriba_UseCacheFile(pProgram) == SCRIBA_ERROR_SUCCESS ){
    if( (iError = scriba_LoadBinaryProgram(pProgram)) != 0 ){
      ERREXIT;
      }

The function scriba_LoadBinaryProgram() loads the binary program.

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3.2.9. Run External Preprocessors

If the cache file is not usable then the source text has to be loaded and compiled. Before that the external preprocessors has to do their jobs if there is any. To do this the function scriba_RunExternalPreprocessor() is called.

    iError=scriba_RunExternalPreprocessor(pProgram,pszEPreproc);

It is not a must for an application to call this function. Some application may require the user to write their program in pure BASIC and not to use any preprocessor.

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3.2.10. Loading the Source Program

When the external preprocessors are done the program has to be loaded calling the function scriba_LoadSourceProgram().

    if( scriba_LoadSourceProgram(pProgram) )ERREXIT;

This call loads the program source and processes it up to the point of execution. All interpreter processing, file reading, inclusion of other files, lexical, syntactical analysis and program building is done calling this function.

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3.2.11. Saving Binary File

Before executing the loaded program the application may save the compiled binary version of the program. This can be done calling the function scriba_SaveCode() to save the binary code into a specific file, or calling the function scriba_SaveCacheFile() to save the binary code into the cache with an automatically calculated name.

    if( szOutputFile ){
      if( isCoutput )
        scriba_SaveCCode(pProgram,szOutputFile);
      else
        scriba_SaveCode(pProgram,szOutputFile);
      if( !execute )exit(0);
      }
     if( ! nocache )scriba_SaveCacheFile(pProgram);
 

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3.2.12. Execute the BASIC Program

This is the step that all the previous steps were done. This function call to scriba_Run() executes the program.

  if( iError=scriba_Run(pProgram,CmdLinBuffer) ){
 report_report(stderr,"",0,iError,REPORT_ERROR,&iErrorCounter,NULL,&fErrorFlags);
    ERREXIT;
    }

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3.2.13. Destroying the Program Object

Although the program is executed and has finished still there is something extremely important that the application has to do: clean-up.

  scriba_destroy(pProgram);

The call to scriba_destroy releases all resources (memory) that were allocated to execute the BASIC program. Calling this function is not mandatory in a single process application that executes only one interpreter and exits from the process. In that case not calling this function the operating system is going to release the resources. However this is a bad practice.

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3.3. ScriptBasic C API

The ScriptBasic C API is the high level programming interface that any programmer wanting to embed ScriptBasic into any application should use. This is the interface that the readily available variations of ScriptBasic use. This interface provides a general, high level abstraction interface to the ScriptBasic compilation and run-time system.

The API provides easy to use, and simple functions that can be used straightforward as well as more sophisticated, complex, harder to understand functions for special purpose application. The programmer can start with the simple functions and use the more complex ones as he or she developer the needs not fulfilled with the simpler functions.

The API delivers an object oriented calling interface even though this API is purely C and not C++. The object oriented interface means that you have to call scriba_new to create a ScriptBasic object before any other call and you have to pass the returned pointer to each called function as first argument to operate on the actual BASIC program object.

This approach allow the programmer to allocate, load, compile, run, re-run, release multiple ScriptBasic programs even in multiple threads simultaneously with the limits that the operating system imposes not ScriptBasic.

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4. Extension Modules

Extension modules are written usually using the language C and implement functions that can not be efficiently implemented in BASIC. These functions can be called from the BASIC programs just as if they were written in BASIC.

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4.1. How Extension Modules are Used

To write external modules it is a good practice to learn first how ScriptBasic uses the modules.

External functions and external commands in ScriptBasic are declared using the declare sub or declare command statements. An example of such a statement is

declare sub alma alias "trial" lib "ext_tial"
or
declare command iff alias "iff" lib "ext_tial"

Following this declaration the function or the command can be used just as it were implemented in BASIC.

call alma(1,2,3)

The difference between external functions and external commands is the way ScriptBasic handles the arguments passed to them. Both external functions and external commands are implemented as C functions in the extension module compiled into a DLL or shareable object. Both of them look like user defined functions in the BASIC source code.

The difference is that external functions are called after the actual arguments are evaluated, while external commands are called without evaluating the arguments. Because of this external functions and external commands are implemented in C functions that have different prototypes. There is a prototype for external functions and a different one for external commands.

When ScriptBasic compiles this line the function or subroutine alma is defined just as a normal function or subroutine defined using the instructions of the basic language. Note that there are no differences other than syntax between subroutines and functions in ScriptBasic. When the program calls the function alma the ScriptBasic run-time system performs a function call to the basic function alma. In other words there is no difference from the caller point of view between the line above and the line:

Sub alma(a,b)
End sub

The function call can be performed in two different ways. One way is when the function appears in an expression. The other way is when the function is called using the call statement. There is no difference between the two calling possibilities from the internal operation point of view of the interpreter. This is because CALL statement is implemented in a very simple way to simply evaluate the expression after the call statement and drop the result.

The calling code does not evaluate the expressions passed to the function as arguments. This is usually the task of the functions. The functions get the node pointer to the expression list where the actual values for the arguments are and they can evaluate them.

The two different declarations declare sub and declare command differ in the way ScriptBasic interpreter handles the arguments. When an external function is declared using the command declare sub the arguments are evaluated by the interpreter before the function implemented in the external module is called. When an external command is declared using the command declare command the arguments are NOT evaluated by the ScriptBasic interpreter before calling the function implemented in the external module. In the latter case the external function has to decide if it wants certain arguments to be evaluated and can call the ScriptBasic function execute_Evaluate via the extension call-back table to evaluate the arguments. Also the prototype of a function declared using the statement declare command is different from the prototype of a function declared using the command declare sub.

When a function is implemented externally ScriptBasic sees a declare sub statement instead of a function or sub statement and starts to execute this statement calling the code implemented in the file `external.c' in the source directory `commands'.

The name of the example function is alma as declared in the statement above. However this is only a symbolic name that exists only during syntax analysis and is not available when the code is executed. The alias for the function is trial. This is the name of the function as it is implemented in the external module. When the interpreter executes this line the function name trial is used in the system call to locate the entry point. The module that contains the function is ext_trial. The actual file name is `ext_trial.dll' or `ext_trial.so' or some other name containing the given name and an extension specific to the operating system. During module load ScriptBasic automatically appends the appropriate extension as defined in the configuration file of ScriptBasic. (For further information on ScriptBasic configuration file syntax and location see the ScriptBasic Users' Guide!) ScriptBasic searches the module in the directories defined in the configuration file and tries to load it using absolute file name. This way the system specific search paths are not taken into account.

When function implemented in an external module is first called the interpreter checks if the module is loaded or not. If the module is not loaded the interpreter loads the module and calls module initialization functions. If the module was already loaded it locates the entry point of the function and calls the function.

During module load ScriptBasic appends the appropriate dynamic load library extension and tries to load the module from the directories defined in the configuration file. It takes the directories in the order they are specified in the configuration file and in case it can load the module from a directory listed it stops trying.

When the module is loaded ScriptBasic locates the function versmodu and calls it. The task of this function is to negotiate the interface version between the external module and ScriptBasic. The current interface version is defined in the file `basext.c' with the C macro INTERFACE_VERSION. ScriptBasic calls this function to tell the module what version ScriptBasic supports. The function can decide if the module can work with the indicated version and can answer: yes it is OK, no it is not OK or yes, but I can support only version X. This is a negotiation process that finally result some agreement or the module is abandoned if no agreement can be reached.

The function versmodu gets three arguments:

int versmodu(int Version, char *pszVariation, void **ppModuleInternal)

The first argument is the version of the interface. The second argument is the ZCHAR terminated 8-character string of the variation. This is “STANDARD” for the standard, stand alone, command line version of ScriptBasic. The ppModuleInternal pointer points to the module pointer initialized to NULL. This pointer is hardly ever used in this function, but its address is passed as a third argument in case some application needs it. The role of this pointer will be discussed later.

The function should check the parameters passed and return either zero in case it can not accept the interface or the highest interface it can handle. If this is the same as the version passed in the first argument the module should be accepted. If this is smaller than the interface version offered by ScriptBasic the interpreter can decide if it can support the older interface required by the module.

If the function versmodu returns a version larger than the version offered the interpreter will interpret this as a negotiation failure and will treat the module as not loaded.

If there is no function named versmodu in the library ScriptBasic crosses the fingers and hopes the best and assumes that the module will be able to work with the interface ScriptBasic offers. (should we change it to be configurable to disallow such modules?)

After the successful version negotiation the interpreter calls the function named bootmodu. This function gets four arguments.

int bootmodu(pSupportTable pSt, void **ppModuleInternal, pFixSizeMemoryObject pParameters, pFixSizeMemoryObject *pReturnValue)

The first parameter is a pointer to the interface structure. This interface structure can and should be used to communicate with ScriptBasic. The second parameter points to the module pointer. The last two parameters are NULL for this function. The reason to pass two NULL pointers is that this is the prototype of each function callable by ScriptBasic implemented in the module. The last two parameters point to the parameters of the function and to the left value where the function value is to be returned. bootmodu actually does not get any parameter and should not pass any value back.

This function can be used to initialize the module, to allocate memory for the common storage if the functions implemented in the module keep some state information. If there is no function named bootmodu in the library file ScriptBasic assumes that the module does not need initialization. If the function bootmodu exists it should return zero indicating success or an error code. If an error code is returned the module is treated as failed. And an error is raised. (Errors can be captured using the BASIC ON ERROR GOTO command.

When this function returns the ScriptBasic interpreter evaluates the arguments and performs a call to the function named trial in our example.

When the program has finished the interpreter tries to locate the function finimodu in the module. This function may exist and should have the same prototype as any other function (except versmodu):

int finimodu(pSupportTable pSt,
             void **ppModuleInternal,
             pFixSizeMemoryObject pParameters,
             pFixSizeMemoryObject *pReturnValue)

This function can be used to perform clean-up tasks. The interpreter may call the finimodu functions of different modules in different threads asynchronously. (However it does not currently.)

Note that there is no need to release the allocated memory in case the module allocates memory using the memory allocation methods provided by the interface. Other resources may need release; for example files may need closing.

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4.2. A Simple Sample Module

After you have got a slight overview how ScriptBasic handles the modules get a jump-start looking at the simplest sample module trial.c!

This module was the very first module the developers wrote to test the module handling functionality of ScriptBasic. This does almost nothing, but prints out some trace messages so that you can see how the different functions are called in the module. There is only one function in this module that the basic code can call. This is trial. This function increments a long value and returns the actual value of this state variable.

Here is the whole code:

#include <stdio.h>

#include "../../basext.h"

besVERSION_NEGOTIATE

printf("The function bootmodu was started and the requested version is %d\n",Version); printf("The variation is: %s\n",pszVariation); printf("We are returning accepted version %d\n",(int)INTERFACE_VERSION);

return (int)INTERFACE_VERSION;

besEND

besSUB_START long *pL;

besMODULEPOINTER = besALLOC(sizeof(long)); if( besMODULEPOINTER == NULL )return 0; pL = (long *)besMODULEPOINTER; *pL = 0L;

printf("The function bootmodu was started.\n");

besEND

besSUB_FINISH printf("The function finimodu was started.\n"); besEND

besFUNCTION(trial)

long *pL;

printf("Function trial was started...\n"); pL = (long *)besMODULEPOINTER; (*pL)++; besRETURNVALUE = besNEWMORTALLONG; LONGVALUE(besRETURNVALUE) = *pL;

printf("Module directory is %s\n",besCONFIG("module")); printf("dll extension is %s\n",besCONFIG("dll")); printf("include directory is %s\n",besCONFIG("include"));

besEND

besCOMMAND(iff) NODE nItem; VARIABLE Op1; long ConditionValue;

USE_CALLER_MORTALS;

/* evaluate the parameter */ nItem = besPARAMETERLIST; if( ! nItem ){ RESULT = NULL; RETURN; } Op1 = besEVALUATEEXPRESSION(CAR(nItem)); ASSERTOKE;

if( Op1 == NULL )ConditionValue = 0; else{ Op1 = besCONVERT2LONG(Op1); ConditionValue = LONGVALUE(Op1); }

if( ! ConditionValue ) nItem = CDR(nItem);

if( ! nItem ){ RESULT = NULL; RETURN; } nItem = CDR(nItem);

RESULT = besEVALUATEEXPRESSION(CAR(nItem)); ASSERTOKE; RETURN; besEND_COMMAND

As you can see there is a lot of code hidden behind the macros. You can not see versmodu, bootmodu or finimodu, because they are implemented using the macro besVERSION_NEGOTIATE, besSUB_START and bes_SUB_FINISH. These macros are provided in the header file `basext.h', along with other type definitions and include statements that are needed to compile a module. To have a deeper understanding feel free to have a look at the file `basext.c' containing the source for basext.h.

All the macros defined in the header file for the extensions start with the three letters bes. These stand for basic extension support.

The version negotiation function prototype and function start is created using the macro besVERSION_NEGOTIATE. This macro generates the function head with the parameters named Version, pszVariation and ppModuleInternal. The accepted version is returned using the macro INTERFACE_VERSION. The reason to use this macro is to ease maintainability.

The current version of the interface is 10 (or more). Later interfaces may probably support more callback interface functions, but it is unlikely that the interfaces become incompatible on the source level. When the module is recompiled in an environment that uses a newer interface it will automatically return the interface version that it really supports. If the interfaces become incompatible in source level the compilation phase will most probably fail.

The bootmodu function is created using the macro besSUB_START. In this example this allocates a state variable, which is a long. The memory allocation is performed using a callback function and with the aid of the macro besALLOC.

Here we can stop a bit and examine, how the callback functions work. The ScriptBasic interpreter has several functions that are available for the extensions. To access these functions the module should know the entry point (address) of the functions. To get the entry points ScriptBasic creates a table of the callback functions. A pointer to this table is passed as the first argument to each module function except the version negotiation function versmodu. In C syntax this table is a struct named SupportTable.

There are numerous functions that an extension can and should use to communicate with ScriptBasic. One of the most important functions is memory allocation. The field of the SupportTable named Alloc is initialized to point to the function alloc_Alloc defined in the file `myalloc.c'. This allocation function needs the size of the needed memory block and a pointer to a so-called memory segment. The memory segment pointer to be used is available via the SupportTable. The first member of the table is a pointer to another table containing the current interpreter execution environment. This environment is also a &code{struct} and contains the memory segment pointer.

This is a bit complicated and you can get confused. To ease coding use the macros available. These will hide all these nifty details. However know that these macros assume that you use them together. In other words besALLOC can only be used in a function when the function head was created using the macro besFUNCTION (or besSUB_START or besSUB_FINISH in case of bootmodu and finimodu). This is because the macros assume certain variable names in the arguments.

The function finimodu is created using the macro besSUB_FINISH. This function in this example does nothing but prints a test message. There is no need to release the memory allocated using besALLOC, because the memory is administered to belong to the segment of the interpreter execution environment and is released by the interpreter before the exits.

The real function of the module is named trial and is defined using the macro besFUNCTION. It gets the state variable via the module pointer. The module pointer is always passed to the module functions as the second argument. The functions can access it using the macro besMODULEPOINTER. Using this macro it looks like a local variable.

To return the counter value the function needs a basic variable. This variable should hold a long value and should be mortal. This is created using the macro besNEWMORTALLONG. The variable is actually a struct and the field containing the long value can be accessed using the macro LONGVALUE.

You can notice that this macro does not start with the letters bes. The reason is that this macro comes from a different header file `command.h'. This header file is included by `basext.h' and the definitions in that file are mainly for implementing internal commands linked statically. However some of the macros can be used for dynamic modules as well.

The function trial finally writes out some configuration data. On one hand this is another example of a callback function used via a macro named besCONFIG. But this is more important than that. This shows you that the modules can access any configuration data.

There is no need for any module to process separate configuration files. ScriptBasic reads the configuration file and stores each key and value pair it finds. It stores even those that do not mean anything for ScriptBasic itself, because they may be meaningful and needed by modules. The example module trial does not have its own data, therefore we print out the configuration data that ScriptBasic surely has.

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4.3. Compiling a Module

Compiling a module is easy and straightforward. Just do it as you would do for any dynamic load library. On Linux you have to compile the source code to object file, saying
cc -c -o trial.o trial.c
ld -d -warn-section-align -sort-comon -shared -o trial.so trial.o
assuming that the name of the file to compile is `trial.c'. On other Unix operating systems you have to issue similar commands.

On Windows NT you can use Visual C++ and create an empty project using the work space wizard to create a new dll file. You have to add your source code to the project, select release version and compile the program.

Note that Windows NT dll files do not automatically export each non-static function of a program. They have to be declared in a DEF file or the functions should be denoted with a special type casting keyword. If you use the predefined macros available including the file `basext.h' your functions will be exported without creating a def file.

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4.4. Installing a Module

A module is usually composed of two files. One file is the binary library module with the extension .dll under Windows NT or .so under Unix. The other file is an include file, which contains the declare sub statement for each external function.

To install a module you have to copy or move the module binary to one of the directories specified in the configuration file as ScriptBasic module directory and you have to copy or move the include file into one of the directories specified in the configuration file as ScriptBasic include directory.

The basic program that uses the module includes the include file and it is ready to call the functions declared in that file. Currently there are no install programs available that place the file at the appropriate locations.

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4.5. Module Support Functions

Module support functions and macros are to ease the life of the extension programmers. They are defined in the file `basext.c' and in the file `basext.h' generated from `basext.c' using the tool `headerer.pl'.

It is highly recommended that the extensions use these functions and that the extensions use the macros to call the functions the way the documentation suggests. The reason for this is to create readable code and to provide maintainability.

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5. Preprocessors

ScriptBasic is capable handling two kind of preprocessors. One is external preprocessors, the other one is internal preprocessor. The names external and the internal distinguish between the execution type of these preprocessors. External preprocessors are executed in a separate process. Internal preprocessors run in the interpreter thread.

Because of this external preprocessors are standalone command line tools, which may be written for any application and not specifically for ScriptBasic. You can edit the ScriptBasic configuration file so that you can use the C preprocessor, m4 or jamal as a preprocessor. It is fairly easy to write an external preprocessor compared to internal preprocessors. External preprocessor reads a file and creates an output file. It need not know anything about the internal structures of ScriptBasic. Then only thing a ScriptBasic external preprocessor writer has to know is what it wants to do and how to read and write files.

Internal preprocessors are implemented in dynamic link libraries, work closely together with ScriptBasic and can not be started standalone. Internal preprocessors are written specifically for ScriptBasic and can and should access many of ScriptBasic internal structures.

From this you can see that external preprocessors are much easier to write, while internal preprocessors have much more possibilities. An internal preprocessor can never started as external and vice versa.

Before starting to write a preprocessor you have to carefully check what you want to gain and decide if you want to write an external preprocessor or an internal.

Because external preprocessors are just standalone programs and there is even a sample preprocessor HEB written in BASIC this chapter talks about the internal preprocessor capabilities. External Preprocessor

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5.1. Loading Preprocessor

Loading a preprocessor depends on the embedding application. To load an internal preprocessor the function ipreproc_LoadInternalPreprocessor is called (implemented in the file `ipreproc.c').

This function gets the name of an external preprocessor to load. The function searches the configuration information for the named preprocessor, loads the DLL/SO and invokes the initiation function of the preprocessor.

int ipreproc_LoadInternalPreprocessor(pPreprocObject pPre,
                                      char *pszPreprocessorName);

The first argument is the pointer to the ScriptBasic preprocessor object to access the configuration information and the list of loaded preprocessors to put the actual one on the list.

The second argument is the name of the preprocessor as named in the configuration file, for example

preproc (
  internal (
    sample "C:\\ScriptBasic\\bin\\samplepreprocessor.dll"
    )

The return value is zero or the error code.

(Note that this documentation may not be up-to date about the precise functioning of this function. For most up-to date information see the source documentation that is extracted from the source comment using the tool `esd2html.pl'.)

In the code base of ScriptBasic this function is called by the reader `reader.c' in the function reader_LoadPreprocessors. This is called automatically when the source is read and include files were also included. This function (reader_LoadPreprocessors) goes through all the lines and searches for lines that start with the word preprocess and name a preprocessor. The function loads the preprocessor and deletes the source line.

The function ipreproc_LoadInternalPreprocessor is also called from the function scriba_LoadInternalPreprocessor in source file `scriba.c'

This function can and should be used by the embedding programs to load all internal preprocessors that are to be loaded based on some external conditions. For example the VARIATION STANDARD of ScriptBasic (aka. the command line embedding variation) loads all internal preprocessors that were named after the command line option `-i'.

Other embedding application may get the information of desired preprocessors from different sources, like environment variables, configuration files and so on.

Note that internal preprocessors are not used whenever an already compiled version of the program is executing. If there is a preprocess line in the source code and the program has generated a cache or any other binary format BASIC program and that file is used to execute the program the preprocessor will no effect. The interpreter will not load the preprocessor and thus it will act as it did not exist.

There are two kind of preprocessors:

Altering preprocessors are BASIC program specific and are usually invoked because the program contains a line preprocess.

Debugger type preprocessors are loaded the way of the execution of the program requests it. For example the user uses the option `-i'. In this case the command line version of ScriptBasic does not use cache file to ensure that the program really does using the preprocessor and starts the debugger, for example.

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5.2. Skeleton of a Preprocessor

An internal preprocessor implemented as a .dll or .so file has to export a single function named preproc. The declaration of this function should look like this:

int DLL_EXPORT preproc(pPrepext pEXT,
                       long *pCmd,
                       void *p);

The first argument of the function is the preprocessor pointer. This pointer points to a structure. For each preprocessor loaded there is a separate structure of this type. This structure hold information on the preprocessor and there is some storage pointer in the structure that the preprocessor can access.

The definition of the structure is:

typedef struct _Prepext {
  long lVersion;
  void *pPointer;
  void *pMemorySegment;
  struct _SupportTable *pST;
  } Prepext, *pPrepext;

The field lVersion is the version of the interface that ScriptBasic wants to use when communicating with the preprocessor. If this version is not the same as the interface version that the preprocessor was compiled for then the preprocessor has to ask ScriptBasic not to use it and may return an error code or zero indicating that no error has happened. This may be useful in some cases when the preprocessor is optional and in case the preprocessor can not be loaded the program still may function. Read on how the preprocessor has to do this.

The field pPointer is initialized to NULL and is never changed by ScriptBasic. This is a pointer that can be used by the preprocessor to access its own thread local variables.

The field pMemorySegment is initialized to point to a memory segment that can be used via the memory allocation routines of ScriptBasic. These routines, however need not be linked to the DLL, because they are already in the process loaded as part of the executable and can be reached via the function support table.

This support table is pointed by the field pST and is the same type of struct as the support table available for the extension modules. Although this support table is the same type of struct it is not the same struct. The fields pointing to the different functions are eventually pointing to the same function, but when the program starts to execute a new support table is allocated and initialized. Thus there is no reason for the preprocessor to alter this table, because altering the table will have no effect on the execution of the program. Also the preprocessor if decides to stay in memory while the program is executed (for example a debugger), may rely on this support table even if a module altering the run-time support table is used.

In case there are more than one internal preprocessors used they will share the same support table. This way a preprocessor altering the preprocessor support table may alter the behavior of another internal preprocessor. However doing that need deep and detailed information of both ScriptBasic code and the other preprocessor and may result code that closely depends on the different versions of the different programs that work together.

The next argument to the function pCmd is an input and output variable. When the function is called by ScriptBasic it contains the command that the preprocessor is expected to perform. In other words this value defines the reason why the preprocessor was loaded. There are numerous points when ScriptBasic calls the preprocessor and at each point it sets this variable differently.

When the function returns it is supposed to set the variable *pCmd to one of the following values:

The preprocessors function preproc may at any call return an int value. This value will be used by the interpreter as error code. This code is zero in case there was no error. This value has to be returned to ensure that the interpreter goes on. The error code 1 is used at any code in ScriptBasic to signal memory allocation problems. The symbolic constant COMMAND_ERROR_PREPROCESSOR_ABORT can be used to tell the interpreter to stop. For example the sample debugger preprocessor uses this error code when the user gives the command q to quit debugging.

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5.3. Preprocessor Entry Points

Lets recall the prototype of the preprocessor function, which has to be implemented in each preprocessor:

int DLL_EXPORT preproc(pPrepext pEXT,
                       long *pCmd,
                       void *p);

This function has to be implemented in each internal preprocessor and is called when the preprocessor is loaded or when some the processing of the source program has reached a certain point. To inform the function about this point the argument pCmd is used. This argument points to a long that holds the a constant identifying the reason why the preprocessor function was called. The following subsections list these identifiers.

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5.3.1. PreprocessorLoad

This entry point is used when the preprocessor is loaded. The pointer p is NULL.

When the preprocessor function is called with this argument it can be sure that this is the very first call to the function within the actual interpreter thread. It also can depend on the support function table and on the preprocessor memory segment pointer being initialized and ready to allocate memory.

It has to check that the version the preprocessor was designed and compiled for is appropriate and works together with the ScriptBasic interpreter that invoked the preprocessor. This can easily be done checking the version information in the preprocessor structure. Sample code:

      if( pEXT->lVersion != IP_INTERFACE_VERSION ){
        *pCmd = PreprocessorUnload;
        return 0;
        }

This code is the appropriate place to allocate space for the preprocessor structure that hold the thread local variables. For example:

      pDO = pEXT->pST->Alloc(sizeof(DebuggerObject),pEXT->pMemorySegment);
      *pCmd = PreprocessorUnload;
      if( pDO == NULL )return 1;

Note that this example is a simplified version of the one that you can find in the sample debugger preprocessor. This example uses the Alloc support function that is usually points to the function alloc_Alloc implemented in the file `myalloc.c'. When coding an external preprocessor you can rely on ScriptBasic that as soon as the preprocessor is unloaded the memory allocated using this function with the memory segment initiated for the preprocessor (like above) will be released.

The preprocessor has to return the error code or zero and may alter the value of the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue or PreprocessorUnload.

Although the calling code ignores the value returned in *pCmd unless it is PreprocessorUnload it is required by principle to set a value in this variable. The value PreprocessorDone can not be used when returning from this entry.

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5.3.2. PreprocessorReadStart

This entry point is used before the source file reading starts. The pointer p points to the ReadObject used to read the source files. There is few uses of this entry point. You may alter the file handling function pointers or the memory allocation function pointers in the ReadObject.

This entry point is invoked only when the preprocessor load was initiated by external conditions, like command line option `-i' and never if the source code contained the preprocessor loading directive. This is because when the reader realizes that the preprocessor has to be loaded it is far over this point.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.3. PreprocessorReadDone0

This entry point is used when the reader has done the reading of the source file, but did not do any processing further. The parameter p points to the ReadObject. The preprocessor at this point can access the lines of the core BASIC program file without the included files and the very first line of the program that may be a Windows NT or UNIX special line (like #!/usr/bin/scriba) is still in the input lines.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.4. PreprocessorReadDone1

This entry point is used when the reader has done the reading the source file and unhooked the optional first Windows NT or UNIX start line (like #!/usr/bin/scriba), but did not process the included files. The preprocessor at this point can access the lines of the core BASIC program file without the included files. The parameter p points to the ReadObject.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.5. PreprocessorReadDone2

This entry point is used when the reader has done the reading the source file and unhooked the optional first Windows NT or UNIX start line (like #!/usr/bin/scriba), and has processed the included files. The preprocessor at this point can access the lines of the full BASIC program file with the included files. The parameter p points to the ReadObject.

This is the last point before the source code directive loaded preprocessors are invoked.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.6. PreprocessorReadDone3

This point is used when the reader has done all reading tasks, processed and linked the include files, has removed the first Windows NT or UNIX specific line, and loaded the preprocessors that were to be loaded by program directive. The parameter p points to the ReadObject.

At this point the preprocessor may check the source code and alter it according to its need. All processing should be done here that needs the characters of the source file. Careful decision has to be made whether using this point of entry to alter the source file or the entry point PreprocessorLexDone when the source file is already tokenized.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.7. PreprocessorLexInit

This entry point is used when the lexer object was allocated and initialized. The pointer p points to the LexObject.

The preprocessor at this point may alter the LexObject parameters. Here is a copy of the function lex_InitStructure from ScriptBasic v1.0build26. (other versions may slightly differ).

void lex_InitStructure(pLexObject pLex
  ){
/*noverbatim
CUT*/
  pLex->pfGetCharacter = NULL;
  pLex->pfFileName = _MyFileName;
  pLex->pfLineNumber = _MyLineNumber;
  pLex->SSC = "QWERTZUIOPASDFGHJKLYXCVBNMqwertzuiopasdfghjklyxcvbnm_:$";
  pLex->SCC = "QWERTZUIOPASDFGHJKLYXCVBNMqwertzuiopasdfghjklyxcvbnm_1234567890:$";
  pLex->SFC = "QWERTZUIOPASDFGHJKLYXCVBNMqwertzuiopasdfghjklyxcvbnm_1234567890$";
  pLex->SStC = "\"";
  pLex->ESCS = "\\n\nt\tr\r\"\"\'\'";
  pLex->fFlag = LEX_PROCESS_STRING_NUMBER       |
                LEX_PROCESS_STRING_OCTAL_NUMBER |
                LEX_PROCESS_STRING_HEX_NUMBER   |
                0;
  pLex->SKIP = " \t\r"; /* spaces to skip 
                           \r is included to ease compilation of DOS edited 
                           binary transfered files to run on UNIX */
  pLex->pNASymbols = NULL;
  pLex->pASymbols  = NULL;
  pLex->pCSymbols  = NULL;
  pLex->cbNASymbolLength = 0; /* it is to be calculated */

pLex->buffer = lexALLOC(BUFFERINCREASE*sizeof(char));

if( pLex->buffer ) pLex->cbBuffer = BUFFERINCREASE; else pLex->cbBuffer = 0;

CALL_PREPROCESSOR(PreprocessorLexInit,pLex); }

(Note CALL_PREPROCESSOR is a macro that call the preprocessor with appropriate arguments.)

The preprocessor may decide for example to alter the string SSC that contains all characters that may start a symbol, or SCC that contains all characters that can part a symbol or SFC that contains all characters that can be the final character of a symbol. This way for example a preprocessor may set these strings that allows Hungarian programmers to use ISO-Latin-2 accented letters in their variables. (However those characters are going to be case sensitive.)

The preprocessor may also set the pointers that point to the tables that contains the alphanumeric symbols (pASymbols), non-alpha symbols (pNASymbols) and the table used for some ScriptBasic internal debugging purpose (pCSymbols).

The preprocessor may also release and reallocate a smaller or larger buffer if wishes. (I personally see no reason.)

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.8. PreprocessorLexDone

This entry point is used when the lexer has finished the lexical analysis and the list of tokens is already in the memory. The pointer p points to the LexObject.

At this point the preprocessor may alter the tokenized form of the BASIC program. The list of tokens still contains the comment lines (also tokenized although it may make no sense), and the continuation lines are still being split containing the _ character and the new-line token.

The preprocessor may gain information from comments in case the some comments provide information for the preprocessor.

If the preprocessor uses some special symbols that drive the preprocessor processing but should be removed from the token list the preprocessor at this point may unlink the token from the list or just set the type of the token to LEX_T_SKIP or LEX_T_SKIP_SYMBOL.

If you do not or do not want to understand the difference between the two possibilities described soon then the rule of thumb is to use LEX_T_SKIP and you are safe.

The type LEX_T_SKIP should be used in case the token is handled due to ProcessLexSymbol preprocessor command and LEX_T_SKIP otherwise.

When the type is set LEX_T_SKIP_SYMBOL the lexical analyzer knows to release the string holding the symbol. If the type is LEX_T_SKIP only the token record is released.

If the symbol string is not released due to erroneously setting the type to LEX_T_SKIP instead LEX_T_SKIP_SYMBOL the memory will not be released until the interpreter finishes pre execution steps. So usually if you do not know how to set the type to skip a token LEX_T_SKIP is safe.

When processing comments the preprocessor should either use only the comments starting with the keyword rem or should carefully detect the comments starting with '.

For more information how to do it you really have to look at the function lex_RemoveComments in the file `lexer.c'.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.9. PreprocessorLexNASymbol

This entry point is used when the lexer has found a non alpha symbol. Non alpha symbols are predefined character strings, like <> or <= that contain more than one character but are not alpha characters.

When this entry point is called the pointer p points to a pointer that point to a pointer pointing to the last processed lexeme. This seems to be quite complex and uselessly complex to pass such a pointer at the firstglance. However it is not.

When the lexer builds the list of the lexemes reading the characters it creates a linked list of structures of type Lexeme. The lexer object field pLexResult points to the first element of this list. The lexer code uses a local variable named plexLastLexeme that first points to this pointer, and later it always points to the forward link pointer of the last element of the list.

When the preprocessor is called using this entry point this variable passed in the argument p "by value". Through this pointer you can

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.10. PreprocessorLexASymbol

This entry point is used when the lexer has found an alpha symbol. Alpha symbols are the keywords that are predefined in ScriptBasic. When this entry point is called the pointer p points to a pointer that point to a pointer pointing to the last processed lexeme. This seems to be quite complex and uselessly complex to pass such a pointer at the firstglance. However it is not.

When the lexer builds the list of the lexemes reading the characters it creates a linked list of structures of type Lexeme. The lexer object field pLexResult points to the first element of this list. The lexer code uses a local variable named plexLastLexeme that first points to this pointer, and later it always points to the forward link pointer of the last element of the list.

When the preprocessor is called using this entry point this variable passed in the argument p "by value". Through this pointer you can

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.11. PreprocessorLexSymbol

This entry point is used when the lexer finds a symbol that is alphanumeric but is not predefined by ScriptBasic. These are the variables and symbols (like the statement OPEN opening modes.)

When this entry point is called the pointer p points to a pointer that point to a pointer pointing to the last processed lexeme. This seems to be quite complex and uselessly complex to pass such a pointer at the firstglance. However it is not.

When the lexer builds the list of the lexemes reading the characters it creates a linked list of structures of type Lexeme. The lexer object field pLexResult points to the first element of this list. The lexer code uses a local variable named plexLastLexeme that first points to this pointer, and later it always points to the forward link pointer of the last element of the list.

When the preprocessor is called using this entry point this variable passed in the argument p "by value". Through this pointer you can

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.12. PreprocessorLexString

This entry point is used when the preprocessor has processed a single-line string.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.13. PreprocessorLexMString

This entry point is used when the preprocessor has processed a multi-line string. When this entry point is called the pointer p points to a pointer that point to a pointer pointing to the last processed lexeme. This seems to be quite complex and uselessly complex to pass such a pointer at the firstglance. However it is not.

When the lexer builds the list of the lexemes reading the characters it creates a linked list of structures of type Lexeme. The lexer object field pLexResult points to the first element of this list. The lexer code uses a local variable named plexLastLexeme that first points to this pointer, and later it always points to the forward link pointer of the last element of the list.

When the preprocessor is called using this entry point this variable passed in the argument p "by value". Through this pointer you can

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.14. PreprocessorLexInteger

This entry point is called when the lexer has processed an integer.

When this entry point is called the pointer p points to a pointer that point to a pointer pointing to the last processed lexeme. This seems to be quite complex and uselessly complex to pass such a pointer at the firstglance. However it is not.

When the lexer builds the list of the lexemes reading the characters it creates a linked list of structures of type Lexeme. The lexer object field pLexResult points to the first element of this list. The lexer code uses a local variable named plexLastLexeme that first points to this pointer, and later it always points to the forward link pointer of the last element of the list.

When the preprocessor is called using this entry point this variable passed in the argument p "by value". Through this pointer you can

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.15. PreprocessorLexReal

This entry point is called when the lexer has processed an real number.

When this entry point is called the pointer p points to a pointer that point to a pointer pointing to the last processed lexeme. This seems to be quite complex and uselessly complex to pass such a pointer at the firstglance. However it is not.

When the lexer builds the list of the lexemes reading the characters it creates a linked list of structures of type Lexeme. The lexer object field pLexResult points to the first element of this list. The lexer code uses a local variable named plexLastLexeme that first points to this pointer, and later it always points to the forward link pointer of the last element of the list.

When the preprocessor is called using this entry point this variable passed in the argument p "by value". Through this pointer you can

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.16. PreprocessorLexCharacter

This entry point is called when the lexer has processed a character.

When this entry point is called the pointer p points to a pointer that point to a pointer pointing to the last processed lexeme. This seems to be quite complex and uselessly complex to pass such a pointer at the firstglance. However it is not.

When the lexer builds the list of the lexemes reading the characters it creates a linked list of structures of type Lexeme. The lexer object field pLexResult points to the first element of this list. The lexer code uses a local variable named plexLastLexeme that first points to this pointer, and later it always points to the forward link pointer of the last element of the list.

When the preprocessor is called using this entry point this variable passed in the argument p "by value". Through this pointer you can

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.17. PreprocessorExStart

This entry point is used when the syntax analyzer starts.

The argument p points to the actual peXobject syntax analysis object structure.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.18. PreprocessorExStartLine

This entry point is used when the syntax analyzer starts to analyze a program line. The argument p points to the actual peXobject syntax analysis object structure. The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.19. PreprocessorExEnd

This entry point is used when the syntax analyzer has finished analyzing the basic program. The argument p points to the actual peXobject syntax analysis object structure. The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.20. PreprocessorExFinish

This entry point is called from the function scriba_DoSyntaxAnalysis implemented in the file `scriba.c' when the syntax analyzer has finished.

The only difference between this entry point and the entry point PreprocessorExEnd is that at this point the field pCommandList in the peXobject object structure already points to the list of nodes.

The argument p points to the actual peXobject syntax analysis object structure. The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.21. PreprocessorExStartLocal

This entry point is used when the syntax analyzer starts a new local scope. This is when a function or a sub starts.

The argument p points to the actual peXobject syntax analysis object structure. The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.22. PreprocessorExEndLocal

This entry point is used when the syntax analyzer exists a local scope. This is when a function or a sub ends.

The argument p points to the actual peXobject syntax analysis object structure. The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.23. PreprocessorExLineNode

This entry point is used when the syntax analyzer creates a new node for a basic program line.

The argument p points to the actual peXobject syntax analysis object structure. The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.24. PreprocessorExeStart

This entry point is used from the function scriba_Run implemented in the file `scriba.c' before the execution of the basic program starts.

The argument p points to the execution context of the basic program.

By this time most of the preprocessors should have asked the basic interpreter to unload. Only preprocessors implementing debugger, profiler or other development support functions may remain in memory and active.

At this very point debugger or other development support preprocessors may and should access the execution hook functions, like the sample debugger preprocessor does:

  case PreprocessorExeStart:

{ pExecuteObject pEo = p; pDebuggerObject pDO = pEXT->pPointer; pEo->pHookers->hook_pointer = pEXT; pDO->CallStackDepth = 0; pDO->DbgStack = NULL; pDO->StackTop = NULL; pEo->pHookers->HOOK_ExecBefore = MyExecBefore; pEo->pHookers->HOOK_ExecAfter = MyExecAfter; pEo->pHookers->HOOK_ExecCall = MyExecCall; pEo->pHookers->HOOK_ExecReturn = MyExecReturn; *pCmd = PreprocessorContinue; return 0; }

(Note that this is an example only and not the actual code. The actual code performs other tasks as well.)

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.25. PreprocessorExeFinish

This entry point is used from the function scriba_Run implemented in the file `scriba.c' after the execution of the basic program finished.

The argument p points to the execution context of the basic program.

By this time most of the preprocessors should have asked the basic interpreter to unload. Only preprocessors implementing debugger, profiler or other development support functions may remain in memory and active.

The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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5.3.26. PreprocessorExeNoRun

This entry point is used from the function scriba_NoRun implemented in the file `scriba.c' before the execution of the basic program is not started. (Note that scriba_NoRun performs initialization for the execution but does not start the execution.)

By this time most of the preprocessors should have asked the basic interpreter to unload. Only preprocessors implementing debugger, profiler or other development support functions may remain in memory and active. The function has to return zero or the error code and should set the parameter *pCmd to PreprocessorContinue, PreprocessorDone, or PreprocessorUnload.

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6. Compilation

ScriptBasic is written in C and thus there is a need for some C compiler to successfully install it from source. However some of the code is not maintained in C but rather in some higher level language (what an exaggeration!), which is compiled to C. To compile all the code from source you also need a functional Perl interpreter executing the version 5 of the language Perl.

Compilation is automated as much as it is possible and was highly tested on Windows NT and under Linux (Debian). Under other operating systems resembling to UNIX the compilation should be quite straight forward though may not be so seamless as it is for the ones I tested.

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6.1. Compilation under UNIX

Compilation starts from the clean source package. You unzip it or gunzip untar it into the source directory. To be safe you can run

sh convert.sh

that converts all text files from Windows line feed convention to UNIX convention. If you have a tarball rather than a ZIP file then you may already have the correct line ending, but running the conversion does not hurt. Well, if you feel better by that you can run it many times. On the other hand if you uploaded the Windows source package you will not get along compiling the package without this conversion.

To compile the code you have to issue the command

./setup

This will run all the commands that are needed before compilation to generate the C source files from the “real” source files and also compiles the make files from their macro source. Finally it runs the compilation processes.

The program `setup.pl' started by the shell script `setup' is a huge Perl script that automates the compilation under UNIX and under Windows NT as well.

To install the compiled code the script `setup.pl' has to be started again, this time using the argument:

./setup –-install

Although its use may imply it does not install ScriptBasic. It “only” creates the file `install.sh' that you can run later any time

$ su
Password: **********
# ./install.sh

from the root account. It is recommended that you examine and understand the content of the script before executing it. It actually installs ScriptBasic, compiles the configuration information, stops the Eszter SB Application Engine and many other things.

I said >>“only” creates the file ...<< in double quotes, because it does many things before actually creating the file. It interactively asks you about the destination directories, installs an experimental installation of ScriptBasic locally to run some test programs, examines which modules were compiled fine and so on. It even tests the possible maximal value for the configuration key maxlevel that limits the maximal recursive function call level inside ScriptBasic. To do so it creates a configuration that does not limit the depth and runs a test program until it crashes. The test program in each level of depth opens a file and appends a single byte to the file. Finally the length of the file gives the maximal possible recursive function depth on your installation.