Linking programs

Describes how to link .42m modules together to build a .42r program file.

Purpose of .42r program files

Traditional Genero programming allows you to call a function without seeing the definition of that function. The goal of linking programs is to resolve function symbols and build a .42r program file.

Note: When writing new applications, consider using IMPORT FGL instead of traditional linking. When using IMPORT FGL, the link stage is no longer required, and the 42m module containing the MAIN block can be directly executed.

Genero .42r program files are created by linking several .42m modules and/or .42x libraries together, where one of the modules defines a MAIN block.

By convention, the resulting program file gets the .42r extension.

Program linking is done with the fglrun tool by using the -l option.

The following lines show a link procedure to create a program in a UNIX™ shell session:
$ fglcomp main.4gl
$ fglcomp store.4gl
$ fgllink -o stores.42r main.42m store.42m
Important: If you omit the -o option in the fgllink command, the default output file will get the .42x extension (used for libraries), with the name of the module containing the MAIN block. The .42r file extension is used by convention, to distinguish a program dictionary file from a library dictionary file.

Symbol resolution with the linker

The purpose of the linking phase is to check for missing function symbols, and reference all the symbols in the resulting .42r program file.

Note: The IMPORT FGL method is the preferred method for linking. However, you can mix both methods. The job of the linker is to resolve symbols that are not already resolved by the compiler from IMPORT FGL usage.

Any function used in the .42m modules specified in the link line must be provided. Missing symbols will result in a -1338 linker error:

$ cat main.4gl
MAIN
  CALL myfunc()
END MAIN

$ fglcomp main.4gl
$ fgllink -o prog.42r main.42m
ERROR(-1338):The function 'myfunc' has not been defined in any module in the program.
Note: Symbol resolution in only be done when linking programs. When linking a 42x library, there can be references to undefined functions.

When linking a 42r program, global symbols must be unique; otherwise, error -6203 will be returned by the linker. The same error will be returned when linking a 42x library by using modules defining the same functions.

The link process searches recursively for the functions used by the program. For example, if the MAIN block calls function FA in module MA, and FA calls FB in module MB, all functions from module MA and MB will be included in the 42r program definition.

Content of a .42r program file

The generated 42r program files do not contain the 42m p-code, it is basically a dictionary of global symbols used by the program.

When deploying an application, both 42m modules and 42r program files must be provided.

Note: Since 42x library files are only used to build programs, you do not have to deploy 42x library files.
When linking a 42r program by using 42x libraries, the modules defined in a library are included only if one of the symbols in the module is used by the program. However, all symbols of 42m modules specified in the command line will always be referenced in the resulting 42r program file.
Note: During the link, when the same function symbols are defined in distinct libraries, the linker will select the function of the first library that was specified in the command line.

All symbols referenced in a module must exist in the final 42r program dictionary file. If a symbol is not found, the runtime system stops with error -1338. This error is fatal and cannot be trapped with an exception handler.

P-Code module find path FGLLDPATH

If you do not specify an absolute path for a file, the linker searches by default for 42m modules and 42x libraries in the current directory.

You can specify the 42m search path with the FGLLDPATH environment variable:
$ FGLLDPATH=/usr/dev/lib/maths:/usr/dev/lib/utils
$ export FGLLDPATH
$ ls /usr/dev/lib/maths
mathlib1.42x
mathlib2.42x
mathmodule11.42m
mathmodule12.42m
mathmodule22.42m
$ ls /usr/dev/lib/utils
fileutils.42m
userutils.42m
dbutils.42m
$ fgllink -o myprog.42r mymodule.42m mathlib1.42x fileutils.42m

In this example the linker will find the specified files in the /usr/dev/lib/maths and /usr/dev/lib/utils directories defined in FGLLDPATH.

Library versus module function precedence

When creating a .42r program by linking .42m modules with .42x libraries, if the same function is defined in a 42m and in a module of a 42x library, the function of the specified 42m module will be selected by the linker, and the function of the library will be ignored.

However, the linker will raise error -6203, if two 42m modules specified in the link command define the same function.

Exclusion of unused library module

When linking a .42r program by using a .42x library, if none of the functions of a module in the .42x library are used in the program, the complete module is excluded by the linker.
Note: Unused module exclusion may cause undefined function errors at runtime, such as when a function is only used in a dynamic call (an initialization function, for example.)

The following case illustrates this behavior:

$ cat module1.4gl
FUNCTION func11()
END FUNCTION

$ cat module2.4gl
FUNCTION func21()
END FUNCTION

$ cat main.4gl
MAIN
  CALL func11()
END MAIN

$ fglcomp module1.4gl
$ fglcomp module2.4gl
$ fglcomp main.4gl

$ fgllink -o lib.42x module1.42m module2.42m

$ fgllink -o prog.42r main.42m lib.42x  -- Only module1.42m is included in .42r

Here, module x1.42m (with functions fx11 and fx12) will be referenced in the .42r program file, but functions of module x2.42m will not. At runtime, any dynamic call to functions fx21() or fx22() will fail with an untrappable error -1338.

Symbol conflicts with IMPORT FGL and linking

The job of the linker is to resolve symbols that are not already solved by the compiler from IMPORT FGL usage.

If the same function is defined by a linked module and an imported module, and the function is called without the module prefix, the imported function takes precedence over the linked module function.

The following example illustrates this case:
$ cat module1.4gl
FUNCTION func11()
    DISPLAY "module1.func11()"
END FUNCTION

$ cat module2.4gl
IMPORT FGL module1
FUNCTION func21()
    DISPLAY "module2.func21()"
    CALL func11() -- from module1, because it is imported
END FUNCTION

$ cat module3.4gl
FUNCTION func11() -- Same name as in module1.4gl
    DISPLAY "module3.func11()"
END FUNCTION

$ cat main.4gl
MAIN
    CALL func11() -- from module3, because it is linked
    CALL func21()
END MAIN

$ fglcomp module1.4gl
$ fglcomp module2.4gl
$ fglcomp module3.4gl
$ fglcomp main.4gl
$ fgllink -o prog.42r main.42m module2.42m module3.42m
$ fglrun prog.42r
module3.func11()
module2.func21()
module1.func11()
Note: To make your code more readable, consider prefixing imported symbols with the module name and thus avoid any ambiguity.

Imported module using linked functions

When linking a program with modules using the IMPORT FGL instruction, the imported modules do not have to be specified in the link line.

However, if the imported module uses functions that come from other modules, which are not imported by this module, these non-imported modules must be specified in the link command line.

For example, if the main module imports module module1 to call the func11(), which in turn calls func21() from module2, but module1 does not import module2, then module2 must be linked to the program:
$ cat module1.4gl
FUNCTION func11()
    DISPLAY "module1.func11()"
    CALL func21()
END FUNCTION

$ cat module2.4gl
FUNCTION func21()
    DISPLAY "module2.func21()"
END FUNCTION

$ cat main.4gl
IMPORT FGL module1
MAIN
    CALL module1.func11()
END MAIN

$ fglcomp module1.42m
$ fglcomp module2.42m
$ fglcomp main.4gl

$ fglrun main.42m
module1.func11()
Program stopped at 'module1.4gl', line number 3.
FORMS statement error number -1338.
The function 'func21' has not been defined in any module in the program.

$ fgllink -o prog.42r main.42m module2.42m

$ fglrun prog.42r
module1.func11()
module2.func21()

Linking programs with C Extensions

If you are using C-Extensions, you may need to use the -e option to specify the list of extension modules if the IMPORT keyword is not used:

$ fgllink -e extlib,extlib2,extlib3 -o stores.42r main.42m store.42m