The standalone command-line builder

Author(s): Ciao Development Team, Jose F. Morales.

ciao_builder is the Ciao standalone command-line builder. ciao_builder can be used to manage Ciao source code organized as bundles.

This command is available to the user in two forms: wrapped around the (or ciao-boot.bat in Windows) scripts (see Bootstrapping the build system), or as part of the general ciao command-line tool.

Introduction to the build process

This picture shows a detailed view all the elements of the build and installation process of a bundle or collection of bundles.

    Phase 0-
       Bootstrapping the build system
    Phase 1-
       SOURCE ---(configure)--> CONFIG
    Phase 2- (needs CONFIG)
       SOURCE ---(build)--> BUILD --(install)--> INSTALLED

Above, arrows specify actions and nodes are collections of files:

Source code
Configuration of the source
Binaries, compiled libraries, and generated documentation (.pdf, .html, etc.)
Copies of BUILD that exclude temporary files (mostly caches for separate and incremental compilation).

The source distribution only contains SOURCE elements. The actions build and install create the BUILD and INSTALLED elements.

NOTE: Bootstrapping is a transparent process and its details are not needed to understand and use the build system. See Bootstrapping the build system for more details on phase 0.

Configuration and build

TODO: complete

Configuration and build can be reverted with clean commands. The meaning of clean and distclean is based on their standard meaning (see the Makefile example at, except for realclean that cleans both the system and the bootstrap (equivalent to distclean and boot-clean).

The following table summarizes the actions that undo each build or install operation:

    ('undo' reverts the effect of each marked 'action') 
   actions \ undo | clean  | distclean | realclean |
 | boot-build     |        |           |    x      |
 | configure      |        |     x     |    x      |
 | build          |   x    |     x     |    x      |


Different installation areas are supported. For personal installations, the installation area can overlap with the build staging area, such that no extra space is necessary.

          .............         install             ...........
          .           .---------------------------->.         .
          .           .        (generated           .         .
          .............         files such          ...........
       Build Staging Area       as binaries)      Installation Area
               .^.                                 _
                | build                            /|
                |                                 /
          .............          install         /
          .           .-------------------------'
          .           .         (source files
          .............          such as examples,
           Source Code           images, etc.)

The install command is undone with the uninstall command.

Bootstrapping the build system

The (or ciao-boot.bat in Windows) automatically bootstraps and invokes the Ciao build system. The process is described below.

Bootstrapping is the process that compiles the Ciao compiler and builder in an environment where no existing Ciao binary exists. We follow the same phase 1 and phase 2 steps above but the whole process is driven by a very simplified version written in (portable) shell-script code (since there is no running Ciao) and using the ciaoc bootstrap compiler.

The ciaoc bootstrap compiler comes in a pre-compiled bytecode form. This bytecode, together with the engine parts written in C, can be executed in most systems with a C compiler.

Once this bootstrap compiler is available, the system compiles the bootstrap ciao_builder, which drives the rest of the build and installation process.

This step is transparent to the user and separated in a different build directory (build-boot/). However, there are options to force the recompilation and cleaning of that part (see help for more information).

Parts of this manual

Known bugs and planned improvements

  • Avoid ciao_builder mix .po/.itf of bootstrap and final ciaoc; use CIAOCACHEDIR for ciao_builder compilation, independently of whether CIAOCACHEDIR is used by the user.