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shlib.pl -- Utility library for loading foreign objects (DLLs, shared objects)
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This section discusses the functionality of the (autoload) library(shlib), providing an interface to manage shared libraries. We describe the procedure for using a foreign resource (DLL in Windows and shared object in Unix) called mylib.

First, one must assemble the resource and make it compatible to SWI-Prolog. The details for this vary between platforms. The swipl-ld(1) utility can be used to deal with this in a portable manner. The typical commandline is:

swipl-ld -o mylib file.{c,o,cc,C} ...

Make sure that one of the files provides a global function install_mylib() that initialises the module using calls to PL_register_foreign(). Here is a simple example file mylib.c, which creates a Windows MessageBox:

#include <windows.h>
#include <SWI-Prolog.h>

static foreign_t
pl_say_hello(term_t to)
{ char *a;

  if ( PL_get_atom_chars(to, &a) )
  { MessageBox(NULL, a, "DLL test", MB_OK|MB_TASKMODAL);

    PL_succeed;
  }

  PL_fail;
}

install_t
install_mylib()
{ PL_register_foreign("say_hello", 1, pl_say_hello, 0);
}

Now write a file mylib.pl:

:- module(mylib, [ say_hello/1 ]).
:- use_foreign_library(foreign(mylib)).

The file mylib.pl can be loaded as a normal Prolog file and provides the predicate defined in C.

Source load_foreign_library(:FileSpec) is det
Source load_foreign_library(:FileSpec, +Entry:atom) is det
Load a shared object or DLL. After loading the Entry function is called without arguments. The default entry function is composed from =install_=, followed by the file base-name. E.g., the load-call below calls the function install_mylib(). If the platform prefixes extern functions with =_=, this prefix is added before calling.
      ...
      load_foreign_library(foreign(mylib)),
      ...
Arguments:
FileSpec- is a specification for absolute_file_name/3. If searching the file fails, the plain name is passed to the OS to try the default method of the OS for locating foreign objects. The default definition of file_search_path/2 searches <prolog home>/lib/<arch> on Unix and <prolog home>/bin on Windows.
See also
- use_foreign_library/1,2 are intended for use in directives.
Source use_foreign_library(+FileSpec) is det
Source use_foreign_library(+FileSpec, +Entry:atom) is det
Load and install a foreign library as load_foreign_library/1,2 and register the installation using initialization/2 with the option now. This is similar to using:
:- initialization(load_foreign_library(foreign(mylib))).

but using the initialization/1 wrapper causes the library to be loaded after loading of the file in which it appears is completed, while use_foreign_library/1 loads the library immediately. I.e. the difference is only relevant if the remainder of the file uses functionality of the C-library.

Source unload_foreign_library(+FileSpec) is det
Source unload_foreign_library(+FileSpec, +Exit:atom) is det
Unload a shared object or DLL. After calling the Exit function, the shared object is removed from the process. The default exit function is composed from =uninstall_=, followed by the file base-name.
Source current_foreign_library(?File, ?Public)
Query currently loaded shared libraries.
Source reload_foreign_libraries
Reload all foreign libraries loaded (after restore of a state created using qsave_program/2.
Source load_foreign_library(:FileSpec) is det
Source load_foreign_library(:FileSpec, +Entry:atom) is det
Load a shared object or DLL. After loading the Entry function is called without arguments. The default entry function is composed from =install_=, followed by the file base-name. E.g., the load-call below calls the function install_mylib(). If the platform prefixes extern functions with =_=, this prefix is added before calling.
      ...
      load_foreign_library(foreign(mylib)),
      ...
Arguments:
FileSpec- is a specification for absolute_file_name/3. If searching the file fails, the plain name is passed to the OS to try the default method of the OS for locating foreign objects. The default definition of file_search_path/2 searches <prolog home>/lib/<arch> on Unix and <prolog home>/bin on Windows.
See also
- use_foreign_library/1,2 are intended for use in directives.
Source use_foreign_library(+FileSpec) is det
Source use_foreign_library(+FileSpec, +Entry:atom) is det
Load and install a foreign library as load_foreign_library/1,2 and register the installation using initialization/2 with the option now. This is similar to using:
:- initialization(load_foreign_library(foreign(mylib))).

but using the initialization/1 wrapper causes the library to be loaded after loading of the file in which it appears is completed, while use_foreign_library/1 loads the library immediately. I.e. the difference is only relevant if the remainder of the file uses functionality of the C-library.

Source unload_foreign_library(+FileSpec) is det
Source unload_foreign_library(+FileSpec, +Exit:atom) is det
Unload a shared object or DLL. After calling the Exit function, the shared object is removed from the process. The default exit function is composed from =uninstall_=, followed by the file base-name.