Development Guide


This document provides some basic instructions for developing Cyclone itself - the compiler, interpreter, and libraries. Some of this information may also be applicable when troubleshooting problems with the runtime and/or compiled programs.


During development it is a good idea to clone the cyclone-bootstrap repository as well as the cyclone one. Place both directories in the same parent directory and you can use to copy individual compiled files to cyclone-bootstrap, or make bootstrap to copy everything.


Please use cyclone-bootstrap if you are installing Cyclone on a machine for the first time. Otherwise, if you already have a copy of Cyclone installed you can build from Scheme source.

The following prerequisites are required:

From the source directory, use the following commands to build and install:

$ make
$ make test
$ sudo make install
$ cyclone

By default everything is installed under /usr/local. This may be changed by passing a different PREFIX. For example:

make PREFIX=/home/me install

Testing a Build

make test may be used to perform basic testing.

To make sure everything works, install a modified copy of Cyclone and run the following to rebuild the libraries, compiler, interpreter, and examples from source:

$ make clean
$ make
$ make test
$ make bootstrap

This confirms that the compiler - with any changes - can still be built from source, and syncs any changes up to cyclone-bootstrap. Before checking in a set of changes or releasing a build it is also a good idea to do a rebuild of the bootstrap repo also, to make sure it still works.

Debugging the Runtime

Cyclone should never segfault unless there is a bug in the runtime/compiler. To debug a segfault using the C compiler’s tools, first rebuilt Cyclone with debugging turned on. With GCC, you can do this by changing two lines at the top of Makefile.config to use the -g option instead of -O2.

For example:

CFLAGS       ?= -g -Wall -Iinclude -L.
COMP_CFLAGS  ?= -g -Wall -I$(PREFIX)/include -L$(PREFIX)/lib

Then rebuild/reinstall everything. This may be easiest to do using the cyclone-bootstrap repository; just modify Makefile.config and follow the install instructions.

Now that the C compiler is producing debugging information, you can use gdb to debug the segfault directly:

$ gdb ./crashing-program
(gdb) run

If you need to specify any command line arguments to the program:

(gdb) run arg1 arg2 ...

At this point when the program crashes you should be able to see exactly where it failed. If it failed in runtime.c or one of the native C files, it should be straightforward to figure out the problem. If the crash is in a C file generated by Cyclone, the problem will be harder to debug, because likely the compiler either generated code incorrectly or the compiler did not catch an error (such as a missing function parameter) and generated bad code as a result.