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docs/pdds/pdd19_pir.pod - Parrot Intermediate Representation




This document outlines the architecture and core syntax of Parrot Intermediate Representation (PIR).


PIR is a stable, middle-level language intended both as a target for the generated output from high-level language compilers, and for human use developing core features and extensions for Parrot.

Basic Syntax

A valid PIR program consists of a sequence of statements, directives, comments and empty lines.


A statement starts with an optional label, contains an instruction, and is terminated by a newline (<NL>). Each statement must be on its own line.

  [label:] [instruction] <NL>

An instruction may be either a low-level opcode or a higher-level PIR operation, such as a subroutine call, a method call, a directive, or PIR syntactic sugar.


A directive provides information for the PIR compiler that is outside the normal flow of executable statements. Directives are all prefixed with a ".", as in .local or .sub.


Comments start with # and last until the following newline. PIR also allows comments in Pod format. Comments, Pod content, and empty lines are ignored.


Identifiers start with a letter or underscore, then may contain additionally letters, digits, and underscores. Identifiers don't have any limit on length at the moment, but some sane-but-generous length limit may be imposed in the future (256 chars, 1024 chars?). The following examples are all valid identifiers.


Opcode names are not reserved words in PIR, and may be used as variable names. For example, you can define a local variable named print. [See RT #24251] Note that by using an opcode name as a local variable name, the variable will hide the opcode name, effectively making the opcode unusable.

In contrast to opcode names, PIR keywords are reserved, and cannot be used as identifiers. Some opcode names are, in fact, PIR keywords, which therefore cannot be used as identifiers.

The following are PIR keywords, and cannot be used as identifiers:

 goto      if       int         null
 num       pmc      string      unless

{{ NOTE: The use of :: in identifiers is deprecated. [See RT #48735] }}


A label declaration consists of a label name followed by a colon. A label name conforms to the standard requirements for identifiers. A label declaration may occur at the start of a statement, or stand alone on a line, but always within a subroutine.

A reference to a label consists of only the label name, and is generally used as an argument to an instruction or directive.

A PIR label is accessible only in the subroutine where it's defined. A label name must be unique within a subroutine, but it can be reused in other subroutines.

  goto label1

Registers and Variables

There are two ways of referencing Parrot's registers. The first is through named local variables declared with .local.

  .local pmc foo

The type of a named variable can be int, num, string or pmc, corresponding to the types of registers. No other types are used. [See RT#42769]

The second way of referencing a register is through a register variable $In, $Sn, $Nn, or $Pn. The capital letter indicates the type of the register (integer, string, number, or PMC). n consists of digit(s) only. There is no limit on the size of n. There is no direct correspondence between the value of n and the position of the register in the register set, $P42 may be stored in the zeroth PMC register, if it is the only register in the subroutine.

{{DEPRECATION NOTE: PIR will no longer support the old PASM-style syntax for registers without dollar signs: In, Sn, Nn, Pn. RT#57638}}


Constants may be used in place of registers or variables. A constant is not allowed on the left side of an assignment, or in any other context where the variable would be modified.

'single-quoted string constant'

Are delimited by single-quotes ('). They are taken to be ASCII encoded. No escape sequences are processed.

"double-quoted string constants"

Are delimited by double-quotes ("). A " inside a string must be escaped by \. The default encoding for a double-quoted string constant is 7-bit ASCII, other character sets and encodings must be marked explicitly using a charset or encoding flag.

<<"heredoc", <<'heredoc'

Heredocs work like single or double quoted strings. All lines up to the terminating delimiter are slurped into the string. The delimiter has to be on its own line, at the beginning of the line and with no trailing whitespace.

Assignment of a heredoc:

  $S0 = <<"EOS"

A heredoc as an argument:

  function(<<"END_OF_HERE", arg)



You may have multiple heredocs within a single statement or directive:

   function(<<'INPUT', <<'OUTPUT', 'some test')
charset:"string constant"

Like above with a character set attached to the string. Valid character sets are currently: ascii (the default), binary, unicode (with UTF-8 as the default encoding), and iso-8859-1.

String escape sequences

Inside double-quoted strings the following escape sequences are processed.

  \xhh        1..2 hex digits
  \ooo        1..3 oct digits
  \cX         control char X
  \x{h..h}    1..8 hex digits
  \uhhhh      4 hex digits
  \Uhhhhhhhh  8 hex digits
  \a, \b, \t, \n, \v, \f, \r, \e, \\, \"
encoding:charset:"string constant"

Like above with an extra encoding attached to the string. For example:

  set S0, utf8:unicode:"«"

The encoding and charset are attached to the string constant, and adopted by any string container the constant is assigned to.

The standard escape sequences are honored within strings with an alternate encoding, so in the example above, you can include a particular Unicode character as either a literal sequence of bytes, or as an escape sequence.

numeric constants

Both integers (42) and numbers (3.14159) may appear as constants. 0x and 0b denote hex and binary constants respectively.


.local <type> <identifier> [:unique_reg]

Define a local name identifier within a subroutine with the given type. You can define multiple identifiers of the same type by separating them with commas:

  .local int i, j

The optional :unique_reg modifier will force the register allocator to associate the identifier with a unique register for the duration of the subroutine.

.lex <string constant>, <reg>

Declare a lexical variable that is an alias for a PMC register. For example, given this preamble:

    .lex '$a', $P0
    $P1 = new 'Integer'

    These two opcodes have an identical effect:

    $P0 = $P1
    store_lex '$a', $P1

    And these two opcodes also have an identical effect:

    $P1 = $P0
    $P1 = find_lex '$a'
.const <type> <identifier> = <const>

Define a constant named identifier of type type and assign value const to it. The type may be either an integer value or a string constant. The constant is stored in the constant table of the current bytecode file.

.globalconst <type> <identifier> = <const>

As .const above, but the defined constant is globally accessible.

  .sub <identifier> [:<flag> ...]
  .sub <quoted string> [:<flag> ...]

Define a subroutine. All code in a PIR source file must be defined in a subroutine. See the section "Subroutine flags" for available flags. Optional flags are a list of flag, separated by spaces.

The name of the sub may be either a bare identifier or a quoted string constant. Bare identifiers must be valid PIR identifiers (see Identifiers above), but string sub names can contain any characters, including characters from different character sets (see Constants above).

Always paired with .end.


End a subroutine. Always paired with .sub.

.namespace [ <identifier> ; <identifier> ]
   .namespace [ <key>? ]

   key: <identifier> [';' <identifier>]*

Defines the namespace from this point onwards. By default the program is not in any namespace. If you specify more than one, separated by semicolons, it creates nested namespaces, by storing the inner namespace object in the outer namespace's global pad.

You can specify the root namespace by using empty brackets, such as:

    .namespace [ ]

The brackets are not optional, although the key inside them is.

{{ NOTE: currently the brackets *are* optional, so this is an implementation change. See RT #48549}}

.loadlib 'lib_name'

Load the given library at compile time, that is, as soon that line is parsed. See also the loadlib opcode, which does the same at run time.

A library loaded this way is also available at runtime, as if it has been loaded again in :load, so there is no need to call loadlib at runtime.

.HLL <hll_name> [unimplemented: RT #57426]

Define the HLL for the current file. Takes one string constant, the name of the HLL.

.HLL <hll_name>, <hll_lib> [deprecated: RT #57428]

An old form of the .HLL directive that also loaded a shared lib for the HLL. Use .loadlib instead.

.HLL_map <core_type> = <user_type> [unimplemented: RT #57430]
.HLL_map <core_type>, <user_type> [deprecated: RT # 57432]

Whenever Parrot has to create PMCs inside C code on behalf of the running user program, it consults the current type mapping for the executing HLL and creates a PMC of type user_type instead of core_type, if such a mapping is defined. core_type and user_type may be any valid string constant.

For example, with this code snippet:

  .loadlib 'dynlexpad'

  .HLL 'Foo'
  .HLL_map 'LexPad' = 'DynLexPad'

  .sub main :main

all subroutines for language Foo would use a dynamic lexpad pmc.

.line <integer>, <string>

Set the line number and filename to the value specified. This is useful in case the PIR code is generated from some source file, and error messages should print the source file, not the line number and filename of the generated file.

{{ DEPRECATION NOTE: was <#line <integer <string>>>. See [RT#45857], [RT#43269], and [RT#47141]. }}

.namespace <identifier> [deprecated: See RT #48737]

{{ DEPRECATION NOTE: this variation of .namespace and .endnamespace are deprecated. They were a hackish attempt at implementing scopes in Parrot, but didn't actually turn out to be useful.}}

Open a new scope block. This "namespace" is not the same as the .namespace [ <identifier> ] syntax, which is used for storing subroutines in a particular namespace in the global symbol table. This directive is useful in cases such as (pseudocode):

  local x = 1;
  print(x);       # prints 1
  do              # open a new namespace/scope block
    local x = 2;  # this x hides the previous x
    print(x);     # prints 2
  end             # close the current namespace
  print(x);       # prints 1 again

All types of common language constructs such as if, for, while, repeat and such that have nested scopes, can use this directive.

.endnamespace <identifier> [deprecated: RT #48737]

Closes the scope block that was opened with .namespace <identifier>.

.pragma n_operators [deprecated: RT #57438]

Convert arithmethic infix operators to n_infix operations. The unary opcodes abs, not, bnot, bnots, and neg are also changed to use a n_ prefix.

 .pragma n_operators 1
 .sub foo
   $P0 = $P1 + $P2           # n_add $P0, $P1, $P2
   $P2 = abs $P0             # n_abs $P2, $P0

Subroutine flags


Define "main" entry point to start execution. If multiple subroutines are marked as :main, the last marked subroutine is used. Only the first file loaded or compiled counts; subs marked as :main are ignored by the load_bytecode op.


Run this subroutine when loaded by the load_bytecode op (i.e. neither in the initial program file nor compiled from memory). This is complementary to what :init does (below); to get both behaviours, use :init :load. If multiple subs have the :load pragma, the subs are run in source code order.


Run the subroutine when the program is run directly (that is, not loaded as a module), including when it is compiled from memory. This is complementary to what :load does (above); to get both behaviours, use :init :load.


Do not install this subroutine in the namespace. Allows the subroutine name to be reused.

:multi(Type1, Type2...)

Engage in multiple dispatch with the listed types. See "pdds/pdd27_multi_dispatch.pod" in docs for more information on the multiple dispatch system.


Execute this subroutine immediately after being compiled, which is analogous to BEGIN in Perl 5.

In addition, if the sub returns a PMC value, that value replaces the sub in the constant table of the bytecode file. This makes it possible to build constants at compile time, provided that (a) the generated constant can be computed at compile time (i.e. doesn't depend on the runtime environment), and (b) the constant value is of a PMC class that supports saving in a bytecode file [need a freeze/thaw reference].

For example, examples/shootout/revcomp.pir contains the following (slightly abbreviated) definition:

    .sub tr_00_init :immediate
    .local pmc tr_array
    tr_array = new 'FixedIntegerArray'
    tr_array = 256
    ## [code to initialize tr_array omitted.]
    .return (tr_array)

This code is run at compile time, and the returned tr_array is stored in the bytecode file in place of the sub. Other subs may then do:

    .const .Sub tr_00 = 'tr_00_init'

in order to fetch the constant.


Execute immediately after being compiled, but only if the subroutine is in the initial file (i.e. not in PIR compiled as result of a load_bytecode instruction from another file).

As an example, suppose file main.pir contains:

    .sub main
        load_bytecode 'foo.pir'

and the file foo.pir contains:

    .sub foo :immediate
        print '42'

    .sub bar :postcomp
        print '43'

Executing foo.pir will run both foo and bar. On the other hand, executing main.pir will run only foo. If foo.pir is compiled to bytecode, only foo will be run, and loading foo.pbc will not run either foo or bar.

  .sub bar :method
  .sub bar :method('foo')

The marked .sub is a method, added as a method in the class that corresponds to the current namespace, and not stored in the namespace. In the method body, the object PMC can be referred to with self.

If a string argument is given to :method the method is stored with that name instead of the .sub name.

  .sub bar :vtable
  .sub bar :vtable('foo')

The marked .sub overrides a vtable function, and is not stored in the namespace. By default, it overrides a vtable function with the same name as the .sub name. To override a different vtable function, use :vtable('...'). For example, to have a .sub named ToString also be the vtable function get_string), use :vtable('get_string').

When the :vtable flag is set, the object PMC can be referred to with self, as with the :method flag.


The marked .sub is lexically nested within the sub known by subname.

:lexid( <string_constant> )

Specifies a unique string identifier for the subroutine. This is useful for referring to a particular subroutine with :outer, even though several subroutines in the file may have the same name (because they are multi, or in different namespaces).

:instanceof( <string_constant> )

The :instanceof pragma is an experimental pragma that creates a sub as a PMC type other than 'Sub'. However, as currently implemented it doesn't work well with :outer or existing PMC types such as Closure, Coroutine, etc.

Directives used for Parrot calling conventions.

.begin_call and .end_call

Directives to start and end a subroutine invocation, respectively.

.begin_return and .end_return

Directives to start and end a statement to return values.

.begin_yield and .end_yield

Directives to start and end a statement to yield values.


Takes either 2 arguments: the sub and the return continuation, or the sub only. For the latter case an invokecc gets emitted. Providing an explicit return continuation is more efficient, if its created outside of a loop and the call is done inside a loop.


Directive to specify the object for a method call. Use it in combination with .meth_call.


Directive to do a method call. It calls the specified method on the object that was specified with the .invocant directive.


Directive to make a call through the Native Calling Interface (NCI). The specified subroutine must be loaded using the <dlfunc> op that takes the library, function name and function signature as arguments. See "pdds/pdd16_native_call" in docs for details.

.return <var> [:<flag>]*

Between .begin_return and .end_return, specify one or more of the return value(s) of the current subroutine. Available flags: :flat, :named.

.arg <var> [:<flag>]*

Between .begin_call and .call, specify an argument to be passed. Available flags: :flat, :named.

.result <var> [:<flag>]*

Between .call and .end_call, specify where one or more return value(s) should be stored. Available flags: :slurpy, :named, :optional, and :opt_flag.

Directives for subroutine parameters

.param <type> <identifier> [:<flag>]*

At the top of a subroutine, declare a local variable, in the manner of .local, into which parameter(s) of the current subroutine should be stored. Available flags: :slurpy, :named, :optional, :opt_flag and :unique_reg.

Parameter Passing and Getting Flags

See PDD03 for a description of the meaning of the flag bits SLURPY, OPTIONAL, OPT_FLAG, and FLAT, which correspond to the calling convention flags :slurpy, :optional, :opt_flag, and :flat.

Catching Exceptions

Using the push_eh op you can install an exception handler. If an exception is thrown, Parrot will execute the installed exception handler. In order to retrieve the thrown exception, use the .get_results directive. This directive always takes 2 arguments: an exception object and a message string.

{{ NOTE: Wouldn't it be more useful to make this flexible, or at least only the exception object? The message can be retrieved from the exception object. See RT #57436 }}

   push_eh handler
   .local pmc exception
   .local string message
   .get_results (exception, message)

This is syntactic sugar for the get_results op, but any flags set on the targets will be handled automatically by the PIR compiler. The .get_results directive must be the first instruction of the exception handler; only declarations (.lex, .local) may come first.

Syntactic Sugar

Any PASM opcode is a valid PIR instruction. In addition, PIR defines some syntactic shortcuts. These are provided for ease of use by humans producing and maintaining PIR code.

goto <identifier>

branch to identifier (label or subroutine name).


  goto END
if <var> goto <identifier>

If var evaluates as true, jump to the named identifier.

unless <var> goto <identifier>

Unless var evaluates as true, jump to the named identifier.

if null <var> goto <identifier>

If var evaluates as null, jump to the named identifier.

unless null <var> goto <identifier>

Unless var evaluates as null, jump to the named identifier.

if <var1> <relop> <var2> goto <identifier>

The relop can be: <, <=, ==, != >= >. which translate to the PASM opcodes lt, le, eq, ne, ge or gt. If var1 relop var2 evaluates as true, jump to the named identifier.

unless <var1> <relop> <var2> goto <identifier>

The relop can be: <, <=, ==, != >= >. Unless var1 relop var2 evaluates as true, jump to the named identifier.

<var1> = <var2>

Assign a value.

<var1> = <unary> <var2>

Unary operations ! (NOT), - (negation) and ~ (bitwise NOT).

<var1> = <var2> <binary> <var3>

Binary arithmetic operations + (addition), - (subtraction), * (multiplication), / (division), % (modulus) and ** (exponent). Binary . is concatenation and only valid for string arguments.

<< and >> are arithmetic shifts left and right. >>> is the logical shift right.

Binary logic operations && (AND), || (OR) and ~~ (XOR).

Binary bitwise operations & (bitwise AND), | (bitwise OR) and ~ (bitwise XOR).

Binary relational operations <, <=, ==, != >= >.

<var1> <op>= <var2>

This is equivalent to <var1> = <var1> <op> <var2>. Where op is called an assignment operator and can be any of the following binary operators described earlier: +, -, *, /, %, ., &, |, ~, <<, >> or >>>.

<var> = <var> [ <var> ]

A keyed set operation for PMCs or a substring operation for string arguments and an integer key.

{{ DEPRECATION NOTE: Possibly deprecate the substring variant. }}

<var> = <var> [ <key> ]

{{ NOTE: keyed assignment is still valid in PIR, but the .. notation in keys is deprecated [See RT #48561], so this syntactic sugar for slices is also deprecated. See the (currently experimental) slice opcode instead. }}

where key is:

 <var1> .. <var2>

returns a slice defined starting at var1 and ending at var2.

 .. <var2>

returns a slice starting at the first element, and ending at var2.

 <var1> ..

returns a slice starting at var1 to the end of the array.

see src/pmc/slice.pmc and t/pmc/slice.t.

<var> [ <var> ] = <var>

A keyed set operation.

{{ DEPRECATION NOTE: this syntactic sugar will no longer be used for the assign substr op with a length of 1. }}

<var> = <opcode> <arguments>

Many opcodes can use this PIR syntactic sugar. The first argument for the opcode is placed before the =, and all remaining arguments go after the opcode name. For example:

  new $P0, 'Type'


  $P0 = new 'Type'

Note that this only works for opcodes that have have a leading OUT parameter. [this restriction unimplemented: RT #36283]

global "string" = <var> [deprecated: RT #48016]
<var> = global "string" [deprecated: RT #48018]
([<var1> [:<flag1> ...], ...]) = <var2>([<arg1> [:<flag2> ...], ...])

This is short for:

  .arg <arg1> <flag2>
  .call <var2>
  .result <var1> <flag1>
<var> = <var>([arg [:<flag> ...], ...])
<var>([arg [:<flag> ...], ...])
<var>."_method"([arg [:<flag> ...], ...])
<var>.<var>([arg [:<flag> ...], ...])

Function or method call. These notations are shorthand for a longer PCC function call. var can denote a global subroutine, a local identifier or a reg.

{{ DEPRECATION NOTE: bare word method names (e.g. where bar is not a local variable name) are deprecated. Use a quoted string instead. See #45859. }}

.return ([<var> [:<flag> ...], ...])

Return from the current subroutine with zero or more values.

The parentheses surrounding the arguments are mandatory. Besides making sequence break more conspicuous, this is necessary to distinguish this syntax from other uses of the .return directive that will be probably deprecated.

.return <var>(args)
.return <var>.'somemethod'(args)
.return <var>.<var>(args)

Tail call: call a function or method and return from the sub with the function or method call return values.

Internally, the call stack doesn't increase because of a tail call, so you can write recursive functions and not have stack overflows.

Whitespace surrounding the dot ('.') that separates the object from the method is not allowed.

Assignment and Morphing

The = syntactic sugar in PIR, when used in the simple case of:

  <var1> = <var2>

directly corresponds to the set opcode. So, two low-level arguments (int, num, or string registers, variables, or constants) are a direct C assignment, or a C-level conversion (int cast, float cast, a string copy, or a call to one of the conversion functions like string_to_num).

Assigning a PMC argument to a low-level argument calls the get_integer, get_number, or get_string vtable function on the PMC. Assigning a low-level argument to a PMC argument calls the set_integer_native, set_number_native, or set_string_native vtable function on the PMC (assign to value semantics). Two PMC arguments are a direct C assignment (assign to container semantics).

For assign to value semantics for two PMC arguments use assign, which calls the assign_pmc vtable function.


This section describes the macro layer of the PIR language. The macro layer of the PIR compiler handles the following directives:

  • .include '<filename>'

    The .include directive takes a string argument that contains the name of the PIR file that is included. The contents of the included file are inserted as if they were written at the point where the .include directive occurs.

    The include file is searched for in the current directory and in runtime/parrot/include, in that order. The first file of that name to be found is included.

    {{ NOTE: the include directive's search order is subject to change. }}

  • .macro <identifier> [<parameters>]

    The .macro directive starts the a macro definition named by the specified identifier. The optional parameter list is a comma-separated list of identifiers, enclosed in parentheses. See .endm for ending the macro definition.

  • .endm

    Closes a macro definition.

  • .macro_const <identifier> (<literal>|<reg>)
     .macro_const   PI  3.14

    The .macro_const directive is a special type of macro; it allows the user to use a symbolic name for a constant value. Like .macro, the substitution occurs at compile time. It takes two arguments (not comma separated), the first is an identifier, the second a constant value or a register.

The macro layer is completely implemented in the lexical analysis phase. The parser does not know anything about what happens in the lexical analysis phase.

When the .include directive is encountered, the specified file is opened and the following tokens that are requested by the parser are read from that file.

A macro expansion is a dot-prefixed identifier. For instance, if a macro was defined as shown below:

 .macro foo(bar)

this macro can be expanded by writing .foo(42). The body of the macro will be inserted at the point where the macro expansion is written.

A .macro_const expansion is more or less the same as a .macro expansion, except that a constant expansion cannot take any arguments, and the substitution of a .macro_const contains no newlines, so it can be used within a line of code.

Macro parameter list

The parameter list for a macro is specified in parentheses after the name of the macro. Macro parameters are not typed.

 .macro foo(bar, baz, buz)

The number of arguments in the call to a macro must match the number of parameters in the macro's parameter list. Macros do not perform multidispatch, so you can't have two macros with the same name but different parameters. Calling a macro with the wrong number of arguments gives the user an error.

If a macro defines no parameter list, parentheses are optional on both the definition and the call. This means that a macro defined as:

 .macro foo

can be expanded by writing either .foo or .foo(). And a macro definition written as:

 .macro foo()

can also be expanded by writing either .foo or .foo().

{{ NOTE: this is a change from the current implementation, which requires the definition and call of a zero-parameter macro to match in the use of parentheses. }}

  • Heredoc arguments

    Heredoc arguments are not allowed when expanding a macro. This means that the following is not allowed:

       .macro foo(bar)
     This is a heredoc

    {{ NOTE: This is likely because the parsing of heredocs happens later than the preprocessing of macros. Might be nice if we could parse heredocs at the macro level, but not a high priority. compilers/pirc/new can do this. }}

    Using braces, { }, allows you to span multiple lines for an argument. See runtime/parrot/include/hllmacros.pir for examples and possible usage. A simple example is this:

     .macro foo(a,b)
     .sub main
       .foo({ print "1"
              print "2"
            }, {
              print "3"
              print "4"

    This will expand the macro foo, after which the input to the PIR parser is:

     .sub main
       print "1"
       print "2"
       print "3"
       print "4"

    which will result in the output:


Unique local labels

Within the macro body, the user can declare a unique label identifier using the value of a macro parameter, like so:

  .macro foo(a)
 .label $a:

Unique local variables

Within the macro body, the user can declare a local variable with a unique name.

  .macro foo()
  .macro_local int b
  .b = 42
  print .b # prints the value of the unique variable (42)

The .macro_local directive declares a local variable with a unique name in the macro. When the macro .foo() is called, the resulting code that is given to the parser will read as follows:

  .sub main
    .local int local__foo__b__2
    local__foo__b__2 = 42
    print local__foo__b__2


The user can also declare a local variable with a unique name set to the symbolic value of one of the macro parameters.

  .macro foo(b)
  .macro_local int $b
  .$b = 42
  print .$b # prints the value of the unique variable (42)
  print .b  # prints the value of parameter "b", which is
            # also the name of the variable.

So, the special $ character indicates whether the symbol is interpreted as just the value of the parameter, or that the variable by that name is meant. Obviously, the value of b should be a string.

The automatic name munging on .macro_local variables allows for using multiple macros, like so:

  .macro foo(a)
  .macro_local int $a

  .macro bar(b)
  .macro_local int $b

  .sub main

This will result in code for the parser as follows:

  .sub main
    .local int local__foo__x__2
    .local int local__bar__x__4

Each expansion is associated with a unique number; for labels declared with .macro_label and locals declared with .macro_local expansions, this means that multiple expansions of a macro will not result in conflicting label or local names.

Ordinary local variables

Defining a non-unique variable can still be done, using the normal syntax:

  .macro foo(b)
  .local int b
  .macro_local int $b

When invoking the macro foo as follows:


there will be two variables: b and x. When the macro is invoked twice:

  .sub main

the resulting code that is given to the parser will read as follows:

  .sub main
    .local int b
    .local int local__foo__x
    .local int b
    .local int local__foo__y

Obviously, this will result in an error, as the variable b is defined twice. If you intend the macro to create unique variables names, use .macro_local instead of .local to take advantage of the name munging.


Subroutine Definition

  .sub _sub_label [<subflag>]*
   .param int a
   .param int b
   .param int c
   .return xy

Subroutine Call

  .const .Sub $P0 = "_sub_label"
  $P1 = new 'Continuation'
  set_addr $P1, ret_addr
  .local int x
  .local num y
  .local str z
  .arg x
  .arg y
  .arg z
  .call $P0, $P1    # r = _sub_label(x, y, z)
  .local int r  # optional - new result var
  .result r

NCI Call

  load_lib $P0, "libname"
  dlfunc $P1, $P0, "funcname", "signature"
  .arg x
  .arg y
  .arg z
  .nci_call $P1 # r = funcname(x, y, z)
  .local int r  # optional - new result var
  .result r

Subroutine Call Syntactic Sugar

  ...  # variable decls
  r = _sub_label(x, y, z)
  (r1[, r2 ...]) = _sub_label(x, y, z)
  _sub_label(x, y, z)

This also works for NCI calls, as the subroutine PMC will be a NCI sub, and on invocation will do the Right Thing. Instead of the label a subroutine object can be used too:

   find_global $P0, "_sub_label"


  .namespace [ "Foo" ]

  .sub _sub_label :method [,Subpragma, ...]
   .param int a
   .param int b
   .param int c
   .return xy

The variable "self" automatically refers to the invocating object, if the subroutine declaration contains "method".

Calling Methods

The syntax is very similar to subroutine calls. The call is done with meth_call which must immediately be preceded by the .invocant:

   .local pmc class
   .local pmc obj
   newclass class, "Foo"
   new obj, class
  .arg x
  .arg y
  .arg z
  .invocant obj
  .meth_call "_method" [, $P1 ] # r = obj."_method"(x, y, z)
  .local int r  # optional - new result var
  .result r

The return continuation is optional. The method can be a string constant or a string variable.

Returning and Yielding

  .return ( a, b )      # return the values of a and b

  .return ()            # return no value

  .return func_call()   # tail call function

  .return o."meth"()    # tail method call

Similarly, one can yield using the .yield directive

  .yield ( a, b )      # yield with the values of a and b

  .yield ()            # yield with no value

Stack calling conventions

Arguments are saved in reverse order onto the user stack:

   .arg y   # save args in reversed order
   .arg x
   call _foo    #(r, s) = _foo(x,y)
   .local int r
   .local int s
   .result r    # restore results in order
   .result s    #

and return values are restored in argument order from there.

 .sub _foo      # sub foo(int a, int b)
   .param int a         # receive arguments from left to right
   .param int b

   .return mi       # return (pl, mi), push results
   .return pl       # in reverse order

Pushing arguments in reversed order on the user stack makes the left most argument the top of stack entry. This allows for a variable number of function arguments (and return values), where the left most argument before a variable number of following arguments is the argument count.


There are multiple implementations of PIR, each of which will meet this specification for the syntax.







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