6.4 Euphoria To C Translator

6.4.1 Introduction

The Euphoria to C Translator (translator) will translate any Euphoria program into equivalent C source code.

There are versions of the translator for Windows and Unix operating Systems. After translating a Euphoria program to C, you can compile and link using one of the supported C compilers. This will give you an executable file that will typically run much faster than if you used the Euphoria interpreter.

The translator can translate and then compile itself into an executable file for each platform. The translator is also used in translating/compiling the front-end portion of the interpreter. The source code for the translator is in euphoria\source. It is written 100% in Euphoria.

6.4.2 C Compilers Supported

The Translator currently works with GNU C on Unix-like OSes, GNU C on Windows from MinGW or Cygwin using the -gcc option and with Watcom C (the default) on Windows. These are all free compilers.

GNU C will exist already on your Unix system. The others can be downloaded from their respective Web sites. Notes:

  • Warnings are turned off when compiling directly or with makefiles. If you turn them on, you may see some harmless messages about variables declared but not used, labels defined but not used, function prototypes not declared etc.
  • For the -gcc option on Windows you will need a eu.a compiled with MinGW or Cygwin. The official distribution may only contain eu.lib compiled with Watcom. Also, the -stack and -con options may not produce the expected result with GCC C.
  • Currently, only 32-bit compilers are supported on 64-bit platforms.

6.4.3 How to Run the Translator

Running the Translator is similar to running the Interpreter:

euc -con allsorts.ex

Note: that on Unix, the demos might be installed to /usr/share/euphoria/demo

Instead of running the allsorts.ex program, the Translator will create several C source files in a temporary build directory, compile them and result in a native executable file. For this to work, you have to have a supporting compiler installed (mentioned above). The optional parameter used in this example, -con, will be explained in full detail below.

When the C compiling and linking is finished, you will have a file called allsorts.exe or simply allsorts on *nix systems. The C source files will have been removed to avoid clutter.

When you run the allsorts executable, it should run the same as if you had typed:

eui allsorts

to run it with the Interpreter, except that it should run faster, showing reduced times for the various sorting algorithms in euphoria\demo\allsorts.ex.

After creating your executable file, the translator removes all the C files that were created. If you want to look at these files, you'll need to run the translator again, using either the -keep or -makefile options.

6.4.4 Command-Line Options -gcc, -wat

If you happen to have more than one C compiler for a given platform, you can select the one you want to use with a command-line option:

-wat  -- Watcom compiler
-gcc  -- GCC compiler (MinGW on Windows)

For example, to compile with GCC (or MinGW on Windows):

euc -gcc pretend.exw

Note: Watcom is the default on Windows and -wat is assumed. -keep

Normally, after building your .exe file, the translator will delete all C files and object files produced by the Translator. If you want it to keep these files, add the -keep option to the Translator command-line. e.g.

euc -keep sanity.ex -dll / -so - Shared Library

To make a shared dynamically loading library, just add -dll to the command line. e.g.

euc -dll mylib.ew

Note: On *nix systems, you can also use -so. Both will produce a *nix shared library.

Please see Dynamic Link Libraries -con - Console based program

To make a Windows console program instead of a Windows GUI program, add -con to the command line. e.g.

euc -con myprog.exw

When creating a Windows GUI program, if the -con option is used, when running your Windows program, you will have a blank console window appear and remain the duration of your application. By default, a GUI program is assumed. -rc-file - Resource File

On Windows, euc can automatically compile and link in an application specific resource file. This resource file can contain product and version information, an application icon or any other valid resource data.

euc -rc-file myapp.rc myapp.ex

The resulting executable will contain all the resources from myapp.rc compiled into the executable. Please see Using Resource Files. -stack - Stack size

To increase or decrease the total amount of stack space reserved for your program, add -stack nnnn to the command line. e.g.

euc -stack 100000 myprog.ex

The total stack space (in bytes) that you specify will be divided up among all the tasks that you have running (assuming you have more than one). Each task has it's own private stack space. If it exceeds its allotment, you'll get a run-time error message identifying the task and giving the size of its stack space. Most non-recursive tasks can run with call stacks as small as 2000 bytes, but to be safe, you should allow more than this. A deeply-recursive task could use a great deal of space. It all depends on the maximum levels of calls that a task might need. At run-time, as your program creates more simultaneously-active tasks, the stack space allotted to each task will tend to decrease. -debug - Debug mode

To compile your program with debugging information, usable with a debugger compatible with your compiler, use the -debug option:

euc -debug myapp.ex -lib - User defined library

It is sometimes useful to link your translated code to a Euphoria runtime library other than the default supplied library. This ability is probably mostly useful for testing and debugging the runtime library itself, or to give additional debugging information when debugging translated Euphoria code. Note that only the default library is supplied. Use the -lib {library} option:

euc -lib decu.a myapp.ex -plat - Set platform

The translator has the capability of translating Euphoria code to C code for a platform other than the host platform. This can be done with the -plat option. It takes one parameter, the platform code:

  • OSX

Use one of these options to translate code into C for the specified platform. The default will always be the host platform of the translator that is executed, so euc.exe will default to Windows, and euc will default to the platform upon which it was built.

The resulting output can be compiled by the appropriate compiler on the specified platform, or, possibly a cross platform compiler, if you have one configured. -makefile / -makefile-partial - Using makefiles

You can optionally have the translator create a makefile that you can use to build your program instead of building directly. Using a makefile like this can be convenient if you want or need to alter the translated C code, or change compiling or linking options before building your program. To do so:

$ euc -makefile myapp.ex
Translating code, pass: 1 2 3 4  generating

3.c files were created.
To build your project, type make -f myapp.mak

Then, as the message indicates, simply type:

$ make -f myapp.mak

On Windows, when using Watcom, the message will refer to wmake, the Watcom version of make. On BSD platforms, you may need to use gmake, as the generated makefiles are in GNU format, not BSD.

You can also get a partial makefile using the -makefile-partial switch. This generates a makefile that you can use to include into another makefile for a larger project. This is useful for including the file dependencies for your code into the larger project.

6.4.5 Dynamic Link Libraries

Simply by adding -dll (or -so) to the command line, the Translator will build a shared dynamically loading library instead of an executable program.

You can translate and compile a set of useful Euphoria routines, and share them with other people, without giving them your source. Furthermore, your routines will likely run much faster when translated and compiled. Both translated/compiled and interpreted programs will be able to use your library.

Only the global Euphoria procedures and functions, i.e. those declared with the "global", "public" or "export" keyword, will be exported from the shared dynamically loaded library.

Any Euphoria program, whether translated or compiled or interpreted, can link with a Euphoria shared dynamically loading library using the same mechanism that lets you link with a shared dynamically loading library written in C. The program first calls open_dll() to open the file, then it calls define_c_func() or define_c_proc() for any routines that it wants to call. It calls these routines using c_func() and c_proc().

The routine names exported from a Euphoria shared dynamically loading library will vary depending on which C compiler you use.

GNU C on Unix exports the names exactly as they appear in the C code produced by the Translator, e.g. a Euphoria routine

global procedure foo(integer x, integer y)

would be exported as "_0foo" or maybe "_1foo" etc. The underscore and digit are added to prevent naming conflicts. The digit refers to the Euphoria file where the identifier is defined. The main file is numbered as 0. The include files are numbered in the order they are encountered by the compiler. You should check the C source to be sure.

For Watcom, the Translator also creates an EXPORT command, added to objfiles.lnk for each exported identifier, so foo() would be exported as "foo".

With Watcom, if you specify the -makefile option, you can edit the objfiles.lnk file to rename the exported identifiers, or remove ones that you don't want to export. Then build with the generated makefile.

Having nice exported names is not critical, since the name need only appear once in each Euphoria program that uses the shared dynamically loading library, i.e. in a single define_c_func() or define_c_proc() statement. The author of a shared dynamically loading library should probably provide his users with a Euphoria include file containing the necessary define_c_func() and define_c_proc() statements, and he might even provide a set of Euphoria "wrapper" routines to call the routines in the shared dynamically loading library.

When you call open_dll(), any top-level Euphoria statements in the shared dynamically loading library will be executed automatically, just like a normal program. This gives the library a chance to initialize its data structures prior to the first call to a library routine. For many libraries no initialization is required.

To pass Euphoria data (atoms and sequences) as arguments, or to receive a Euphoria object as a result, you will need to use the following constants in euphoria\include\dll.e:

-- Euphoria types for shared dynamically loading library arguments
-- and return values:

global constant
    E_INTEGER = #06000004,
    E_ATOM    = #07000004,
    E_SEQUENCE= #08000004,
    E_OBJECT  = #09000004

Use these in define_c_proc() and define_c_func() just as you currently use C_INT, C_UINT etc. to call C shared dynamically loading libraries.

Currently, file numbers returned by open(), and routine id's returned by routine_id(), can be passed and returned, but the library and the main program each have their own separate ideas of what these numbers mean. Instead of passing the file number of an open file, you could instead pass the file name and let the shared dynamically loading library open it. Unfortunately there is no simple solution for passing routine id's. This might be fixed in the future.

A Euphoria shared dynamically loading library currently may not execute any multitasking operations. The Translator will give you an error message about this.

Euphoria shared dynamically loading library can also be used by C programs as long as only 31-bit integer values are exchanged. If a 32-bit pointer or integer must be passed, and you have the source to the C program, you could pass the value in two separate 16-bit integer arguments (upper 16 bits and lower 16 bits), and then combine the values in the Euphoria routine into the desired 32-bit atom.

6.4.6 Using Resource Files

When creating an executable file to deliver to your users on Windows, its best to link in a resource file that at minimum sets your application icon but better if it sets product and version information.

When the resource compiler is launched by euc, a single macro is defined named SRCDIR. This can be used in your resource files to reference your application source path for including other resource files, icon files, etc...

A simple resource file to attach an icon to your executable file is as simple as:

myapp ICON SRCDIR\myapp.ico

Remember that SRCDIR will be expanded to your application source path.

A more complex resource file containing an icon and product/version information may look like:




  BLOCK "StringFileInfo"
      BLOCK "040904B0"
          VALUE "Comments",         "http://myapplication.com\0"
          VALUE "CompanyName",      "John Doe Computing\0"
          VALUE "FileDescription",  "Cool App\0
          VALUE "FileVersion",      "4.0.0\0"
          VALUE "InternalName",     "coolapp.exe\0"
          VALUE "LegalCopyright",   "Copyright (c) 2022 by John Doe Computing\0"
          VALUE "LegalTrademarks1", "Trademark Pending\0"
          VALUE "LegalTrademarks2", "\0"
          VALUE "OriginalFilename", "coolapp.exe\0"
          VALUE "ProductName",      "Cool Application\0"
          VALUE "ProductVersion",   "4.0.0\0"
  BLOCK "VarFileInfo"
      VALUE "Translation", 0x409, 1200

coolapp ICON SRCDIR\coolapp.ico

One other item you may wish to include is a manifest file which lets Windows know that controls should use the new theming engines available in >= Windows XP. Simply append:

1 24 "coolapp.manifest"

to the end of your resource file. The coolapp.manifest file is:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0">

Version, Product and Manfiest information may change with new releases of Microsoft Windows. You should consult MSDN for up to date information about using resource files with your application. MSDN About Resource Files.

6.4.7 Executable Size and Compression

The translator does not compress your executable file. If you want to do this we suggest you try the free UPX compressor.

Large Win32Lib-based .exe's produced by the Translator can be compressed by UPX to about 15% of their original size, and you won't notice any difference in start-up time.

The Translator deletes routines that are not used, including those from the standard Euphoria include files. After deleting unused routines, it checks again for more routines that have now become unused, and so on. This can make a big difference, especially with Win32Lib-based programs where a large file is included, but many of the included routines are not used in a given program.

Nevertheless, your compiled executable file will likely be larger than the same Euphoria program bound with the interpreter back-end. This is partly due to the back-end being a compressed executable. Also, Euphoria statements are extremely compact when stored in a bound file. They need more space after being translated to C, and compiled into machine code. Future versions of the Translator will produce faster and smaller executables.

6.4.8 Interpreter vs. Translator

All Euphoria programs can be translated to C, and with just a few exceptions noted below, will run the same as with the Interpreter (but hopefully faster).

The Interpreter and Translator share the same parser, so you will get the same syntax errors, variable not declared errors etc. with either one.

The Interpreter automatically expands the call stack (until memory is exhausted), so you can have a huge number of levels of nested calls. Most C compilers, on most systems, have a pre-set limit on the size of the stack. Consult your compiler or linker manual if you want to increase the limit, for example if you have a recursive routine that might need thousands of levels of recursion. Modify the link command in your makefile, or use the -lflags option when calling the translator. For Watcom C, use OPTION STACK=nnnn, where nnnn is the number of bytes of stack space. Note:

The Translator assumes that your program has no run-time errors in it that would be caught by the Interpreter. The Translator does not check for: subscript out of bounds, variable not initialized, assigning the wrong type of data to a variable, etc.

You should debug your program with the Interpreter. The Translator checks for certain run-time errors, but in the interest of speed, most are not checked. When translated C code crashes you'll typically get a very cryptic machine exception. In most cases, the first thing you should do is run your program with the Interpreter, using the same inputs, and preferably with type_check turned on. If the error only shows up in translated code, you can use with trace and trace(3) to get a ctrace.out file showing a circular buffer of the last 500 Euphoria statements executed. If a translator-detected error message is displayed (and stored in ex.err), you will also see the offending line of Euphoria source whenever with trace is in effect. with trace will slow your program down, and the slowdown can be extreme when trace(3) is also in effect.

6.4.9 Legal Restrictions

As far as RDS is concerned, any executable programs or shared dynamically loading libraries that you create with this Translator without modifying an RDS translator library file, may be distributed royalty-free. You are free to incorporate any Euphoria files provided by RDS into your application.

In general, if you wish to use Euphoria code written by 3rd parties, please honor any restrictions that apply. If in doubt, you should ask for permission.

On Linux, FreeBSD, the GNU Library licence will normally not affect programs created with this Translator. Simply compiling with GNU C does not give the Free Software Foundation any jurisdiction over your program. If you statically link their libraries you will be subject to their Library licence, but the standard compile/link procedure does not statically link any FSF libraries, so there should be no problem.

6.4.10 Disclaimer:

This is what we believe to be the case. We are not lawyers. If it's important to you, you should read all licences and the legal comments in them, to form your own judgment. You may need to get professional legal opinion as well.

6.4.11 Frequently Asked Questions How much of a speed-up should I expect?

It all depends on what your program spends its time doing. Programs that use mainly integer calculations, don't call run-time routines very often, and don't do much I/O will see the greatest improvement, currently up to about 5x faster. Other programs may see only a few percent improvement.

The various C compilers are not equal in optimization ability. What if I want to change the compile or link options in my generated makefile?

Feel free to do so, that's one reason for producing a makefile. How can I make my program run even faster?

It's important to declare variables as integer where possible. In general, it helps if you choose the most restrictive type possible when declaring a variable.

Typical user-defined types will not slow you down. Since your program is supposed to be free of type_check errors, types are ignored by the Translator, unless you call them directly with normal function calls. The one exception is when a user-defined type routine has side-effects (i.e. it sets a global variable, performs pokes into memory, I/O etc.). In that case, if with type_check is in effect, the Translator will issue code to call the type routine and report any type_check failure that results.

On Windows we have left out the /ol loop optimization for Watcom's wcc386. We found in a couple of rare cases that this option led to incorrect machine code being emitted by the Watcom C compiler. If you add it back in to your own makefile you might get a slight improvement in speed, with a slight risk of buggy code.

On Linux or FreeBSD you could try the -O3 option of gcc instead of -O2. It will "in-line" small routines, improving speed slightly, but creating a larger executable. You could also try the Intel C++ Compiler for Linux. It's compatible with GNU C, but some adjustments to your makefile might be required.

6.4.12 Common Problems

Many large programs have been successfully translated and compiled using each of the supported C compilers, and the Translator is now quite stable. Note:

On Windows, if you call a C routine that uses the cdecl calling convention (instead of stdcall), you must specify a '+' character at the start of the routine's name in define_c_proc() and define_c_func(). If you don't, the call may not work when running the eui Interpreter.

In some cases a huge Euphoria routine is translated to C, and it proves to be too large for the C compiler to process. If you run into this problem, make your Euphoria routine smaller and simpler. You can also try turning off C optimization in your makefile for just the .c file that fails. Breaking up a single constant declaration of many variables into separate constant declarations of a single variable each, may also help. Euphoria has no limits on the size of a routine, or the size of a file, but most C compilers do. The Translator will automatically produce multiple small .c files from a large Euphoria file to avoid stressing the C compiler. It won't however, break a large routine into smaller routines.