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Kawa, the Java-based Scheme system

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10.8 Modules and how they are compiled to classes

A module is a set of definitions that the module exports, as well as some actions (expressions evaluated for their side effect). The top-level forms in a Scheme source file compile a module; the source file is the module source. When Kawa compiles the module source, the result is the module class. Each exported definition is translated to a public field in the module class.

There are two kinds of module class: A static module is a class (or gets compiled to a class) all of whose public fields a static, and that does not have a public constructor. A JVM can only have a single global instance of a static module. An instance module has a public default constructor, and usually has at least one non-static public field. There can be multiple instances of an instance module; each instance is called a module instance. However, only a single instance of a module can be registered in an environment, so in most cases there is only a single instance of instance modules. Registering an instance in an environment means creating a binding mapping a magic name (derived from the class name) to the instance.

In fact, any Java class class that has the properties of either an instance module or a static module, is a module, and can be loaded or imported as such; the class need not have written using Scheme.


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