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Use Library
This is a simple library for defining separately loadable program
components based on the de facto standard use -function provided by
most Standard ML implementations with a REPL.
License: MLton license (a BSD-style license)
Portability: requires the use-function
Ported to: Alice ML, Moscow ML, Poly/ML, and SML/NJ
Stability: experimental
Maintainer: Vesa Karvonen <>
About Library Organization
This directory contains the documented signature definitions (*.sig)
and listings of all top-level bindings exported by this library
(export.sml). The contents of this directory should ideally provide
sufficient documentation to use the library.
These build files define the framework. These files are generated
using the script.
This directory contains the implementation details of the library.
These files contain compiler specific workarounds. On a fully
conforming compiler this file is not needed. You can help by
implementing missing Basis library features and fixing bugs and
deviations in compilers.
The Definition of Standard ML does not specify nor is there a de facto
standard on how a SML program composed of multiple source files is
compiled. Each SML implementation has its own mutually incompatible
extensions for that purpose. For example, SML/NJ has the "Compilation
Manager", MLton and MLKit have the "ML Basis System", Poly/ML has the
"Make System". Getting a program composed of a large number of source
files organized into libraries to compile on multiple SML
implementations is a non-trivial task.
In addition to the more sophisticated and mutually incompatible systems
mentioned earlier, most interactive SML implementations, including
Alice ML, HaMLet, Moscow ML, Poly/ML, and SML/NJ, provide a crude
top-level bound function with the specification
val use : string -> unit
for loading new source files interactively as if the contents of the
source file were entered at the top-level. This library builds on the
use-function provided by an implementation to create a system that
allows one to define libraries and programs by writing SML source files
that one can then load using the use-function. When defined carefully,
such use files can work on multiple implementations --- possibly even
on all implementations providing a use function.
Frankly, however, this library should be regarded as a workaround. It
would be much better if all SML implementations would support the ML
Basis System or the Compilation Manager or something even better.
The signatures and structures defined by this library are not meant to
be cast in stone! We welcome contributions including new functionality,
bug fixes, and ports to new compilers. The recommended submit method
for small contributions to this library is to send a message with a
brief description of the proposed contribution as well as a patch
containing full code and documentation (signature comments) to either
the MLton-user list
or the MLton list .
For larger extensions or changes we recommend that you first contact
the active maintainer(s) of this library. The preferred contact method
is through the above mailing lists.