Nicholas Clark > perl-5.8.3 > XSLoader

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NAME ^

XSLoader - Dynamically load C libraries into Perl code

SYNOPSIS ^

    package YourPackage;
    use XSLoader;

    XSLoader::load 'YourPackage', $YourPackage::VERSION;

DESCRIPTION ^

This module defines a standard simplified interface to the dynamic linking mechanisms available on many platforms. Its primary purpose is to implement cheap automatic dynamic loading of Perl modules.

For more complicated interface see DynaLoader. Many (most) features of DynaLoader are not implemented in XSLoader, like for example the dl_load_flags is not honored by XSLoader.

Migration from DynaLoader

A typical module using DynaLoader starts like this:

    package YourPackage;
    require DynaLoader;

    our @ISA = qw( OnePackage OtherPackage DynaLoader );
    our $VERSION = '0.01';
    bootstrap YourPackage $VERSION;

Change this to

    package YourPackage;
    use XSLoader;

    our @ISA = qw( OnePackage OtherPackage );
    our $VERSION = '0.01';
    XSLoader::load 'YourPackage', $VERSION;

In other words: replace require DynaLoader by use XSLoader, remove DynaLoader from @ISA, change bootstrap by XSLoader::load. Do not forget to quote the name of your package on the XSLoader::load line, and add comma (,) before the arguments ($VERSION above).

Of course, if @ISA contained only DynaLoader, there is no need to have the @ISA assignment at all; moreover, if instead of our one uses backward-compatible

    use vars qw($VERSION @ISA);

one can remove this reference to @ISA together with the @ISA assignment

If no $VERSION was specified on the bootstrap line, the last line becomes

    XSLoader::load 'YourPackage';

Backward compatible boilerplate

If you want to have your cake and eat it too, you need a more complicated boilerplate.

    package YourPackage;
    use vars qw($VERSION @ISA);

    @ISA = qw( OnePackage OtherPackage );
    $VERSION = '0.01';
    eval {
       require XSLoader;
       XSLoader::load('YourPackage', $VERSION);
       1;
    } or do {
       require DynaLoader;
       push @ISA, 'DynaLoader';
       bootstrap YourPackage $VERSION;
    };

The parentheses about XSLoader::load() arguments are needed since we replaced use XSLoader by require, so the compiler does not know that a function XSLoader::load() is present.

This boilerplate uses the low-overhead XSLoader if present; if used with an antic Perl which has no XSLoader, it falls back to using DynaLoader.

Order of initialization: early load() ^

Skip this section if the XSUB functions are supposed to be called from other modules only; read it only if you call your XSUBs from the code in your module, or have a BOOT: section in your XS file (see "The BOOT: Keyword" in perlxs). What is described here is equally applicable to DynaLoader interface.

A sufficiently complicated module using XS would have both Perl code (defined in YourPackage.pm) and XS code (defined in YourPackage.xs). If this Perl code makes calls into this XS code, and/or this XS code makes calls to the Perl code, one should be careful with the order of initialization.

The call to XSLoader::load() (or bootstrap()) has three side effects:

Consequently, if the code in .pm file makes calls to these XSUBs, it is convenient to have XSUBs installed before the Perl code is defined; for example, this makes prototypes for XSUBs visible to this Perl code. Alternatively, if the BOOT: section makes calls to Perl functions (or uses Perl variables) defined in .pm file, they must be defined prior to the call to XSLoader::load() (or bootstrap()).

The first situation being much more frequent, it makes sense to rewrite the boilerplate as

    package YourPackage;
    use XSLoader;
    use vars qw($VERSION @ISA);

    BEGIN {
       @ISA = qw( OnePackage OtherPackage );
       $VERSION = '0.01';

       # Put Perl code used in the BOOT: section here

       XSLoader::load 'YourPackage', $VERSION;
    }

    # Put Perl code making calls into XSUBs here

The most hairy case

If the interdependence of your BOOT: section and Perl code is more complicated than this (e.g., the BOOT: section makes calls to Perl functions which make calls to XSUBs with prototypes), get rid of the BOOT: section altogether. Replace it with a function onBOOT(), and call it like this:

    package YourPackage;
    use XSLoader;
    use vars qw($VERSION @ISA);

    BEGIN {
       @ISA = qw( OnePackage OtherPackage );
       $VERSION = '0.01';
       XSLoader::load 'YourPackage', $VERSION;
    }

    # Put Perl code used in onBOOT() function here; calls to XSUBs are
    # prototype-checked.

    onBOOT;

    # Put Perl initialization code assuming that XS is initialized here

LIMITATIONS ^

To reduce the overhead as much as possible, only one possible location is checked to find the extension DLL (this location is where make install would put the DLL). If not found, the search for the DLL is transparently delegated to DynaLoader, which looks for the DLL along the @INC list.

In particular, this is applicable to the structure of @INC used for testing not-yet-installed extensions. This means that the overhead of running uninstalled extension may be much more than running the same extension after make install.

AUTHOR ^

Ilya Zakharevich: extraction from DynaLoader.

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