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RacketScript is an experimental lightweight Racket to JavaScript compiler. The generated code is ES6, which can be translated to ES5 using Babel or Traceur. RacketScript aims to leverage both JavaScript and Racket's ecosystem, and make interoperability between them clean and smooth.

RacketScript takes in Racket source files, uses Racket's macro expander to produce Fully Expanded Programs, and then compile these fully expanded programs to JavaScript. RacketScript doesn't support Racket features which are expensive, for example proper tail calls and continuations.

Try RacketScript

You can try RacketScript in your browser at RacketScript Playground.


RacketScript is work-in-progress and is not mature and stable. Several Racket features and libraries are not yet implemeted (eg. number pyramid, contracts, tail calls, primitives). That said, we encourage experimentation, user feedback, discussions, bug reports and pull requests.


Following system packages are required -

Quick Install

RacketScript can be installed by running one of the following commands in your terminal.

For installation via raco

raco pkg install racketscript

For installation via curl

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Or, for installation via wget

sh -c "$(wget -O -)"

See Basic Usage to get started.

Install from Github

Once RacketScript is cloned in your machine -

  1. Fire up your terminal and goto the root directory of the repository.
  2. Execute make setup to install RacketScript compiler and all its dependencies.

Although not required, it is strongly recommeded that you install Traceur, and Gulp as global packages.

npm install -g traceur gulp

If you do not wish to pollute your root NPM directory, you can set a custom global location by changing your npmrc (eg. echo "prefix = $HOME/.npm-packages" >> ~/.npmrc. Then add /prefix/path/above/bin to your PATH.

RacketScript will generate Gulpfiles to compile ES6 to ES5 using Traceur or Babel. If you wish to run ES6 modules directly, install Traceur using NPM. Babel is recommended for writing NodeJS programs.

Basic Usage

RacketScript compiler is named racks.

racks -h # show help

To compile a Racket source file:

# Installs all NPM dependencies and compile file.rkt
racks /path/to/file.rkt

The above command will create a output build directory named js-build, copy RacketScript runtime, copy other support files, install NPM dependencies, compile file.rkt and its dependencies.

The compiled ES6 modules typically goto one of following three folders:

  • "modules": The normal Racket files.
  • "collects": Racket collects source files.
  • "links": Other third party packages.
  • "dist": Contains sources compiled to ES6 or bundled JavaScript ready for distribution.

Here are few other examples that would come in handy:

# To skip `npm install` step. Useful when building
# for second time.
racks -n /path/to/source.rkt
# To beautify assembled modules use `-b`. Make sure
# `js-beautify` is installed from NPM or your
# package manager.
racks -b /path/to/source.rkt

# Override default output directory
racks -d /path/to/output/dir /path/to/source.rkt
# Print JavaScript output to stdout
racks --js --js-beautify /path/to/source.rkt

# By default RacketScript uses Traceur. Run `js-build/bootstrap.js`
# to execute the compiled JavaScript program.
node js-build/bootstrap.js

By default tail call optimization is turned off. To enable translation of self recursive tail calls to loop, pass --enable-self-tail flag.

racks --enable-self-tail /path/to/source.rkt


By default RacketScript will use Traceur and produce dist/compiled.js. To execute inside NodeJS, execute bootstrap.js in output directory. For running in browser, either use traceur-browser target, or include the Traceur runtime along with dist/compiled.js.

# Use `--target` or `-t` flag.

# For command line. You can ignore this flag.
racks --target traceur /path/to/source.rkt

# To run the compiled JavaScript program.
node js-build/bootstrap.js

# For targeting browser.
racks --target traceur-browser /path/to/source.rkt

A more robust (and less portable) way, is to run the ES6 modules generated in modules directly from Traceur. Goto modules output directory and execute $ traceur /path/to/source.js.


RacketScript could also use Babel. It will compile each assembled ES6 module to ES5, and put it in dist directory, persevering original directory structure. Replace above command with following -

# Use `--target` or `-t` flag.
racks --target babel /path/to/source.rkt

This will compile each ES6 module generated by RacketScript, and put in js-build/dist with same directory structure. The JavaScript script file produced by Babel in dist can be executed directly using Node. Babel is highly recommended if your target is NodeJS.

Contributing to RacketScript

Please read Contribution Guidelines.


Please read the Troubleshooting Wiki.

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