As dfsch is member of Lisp-family of languages, it provides support for macros. For example construct similar to prefix operator ++ known from C-like languages can be defined by:

(define-macro (incr x)
  `(set! ,x (1+ ,x)))

Macros can perform arbitrary computation when producing their expansion and are not limited to simple templates. For example define-class in standard library is actually implemented as relatively complex macro written in dfsch itself whose expansion depends on some parts of internal state of runtime system. Another good example of macros is tk-gui:define-widgets which implements domain specific language for description of GUI forms. Use of this macro is demonstrated in examples/tk-gui-demo.scm, and it's implementation is large part of lib-scm/tk-gui.scm.

Most important part of macros is that syntactic construct like these can be implemented by any program or library without requiring special support in language or runtime.

Object system

dfsch's powerful object system simplifies many common tasks by reducing amounts of boiler plate code in object oriented programs.

For example dfsch's documentation generator defines generic method like this:

(define-generic-function get-object-documentation
  (make-simple-method-combination (lambda (res)
                                    (apply nconc (reverse res)))))

Which then allows definition of handful of methods like this:

(define-method (get-object-documentation (object <standard-function>) 
                                         &key supress-head &allow-other-keys)
  `(,(if supress-head 
         '(:strong "Arguments:")
         '(:h2 "Arguments"))
    (:pre ,(format "~a" (slot-ref object :orig_args)))))

or even specializing on abstract qualities of types instead of inheritance hierarchy:

(define-method (get-object-documentation (object <<documented>>) 
                                         &key supress-head  &allow-other-keys)
  (format-documentation-slot object :supress-head supress-head))

Results of all matching methods are then combined into one list (SXML fragment) by method combination defined above, while method's themselves do not contain any code to actually build this list.


sxml module provides support for xml parsing and serialization with S-expression based internal representation. For example:

]=> (xml:sxml-parse-string "<foo><bar attr=\"value\"/></foo>")
("foo" ("bar" (:attributes ("attr" "value"))))


]=> (xml:sxml-emit-string '(:network (:name "default")
      ..> (:forward :dev "eth0" :mode "nat")))
"<network><name>default</name><forward mode=\"nat\" dev=\"eth0\" /></network>"

shtml module provides support for serialization of similar internal representation to HTML5 and is extensively used by above mentioned dfsch's documentation generator and this website. dfsch also contains implementation of Markdown based on libupskirt in markdown module.


socket-port module provides access to networking with support for unix stream sockets and TCP. Simple server can be implemented by:

(require :socket-port)

(define sock (tcp-bind "localhost" "1234"))

(server-socket-run-accept-loop sock
                               (lambda (port)
                                 (display "Hi there!\r\n" port)
                                 (socket-port-close! port)))

This program can then be accessed by TCP client like this:

$ netcat localhost 1234
Hi there!

http and http-server modules extend this functionality into simple implementation of HTTP/1.1 server with interface usable for simple web applications. Example can be found in examples/http-server-demo.scm.

Many more libraries

dfsch comes with many more modules, for example:

Also, dfsch includes interface to some external C libraries:

Extensibility and embedability

Runtime system of dfsch is designed to make writing of additional extension modules simple. Simple extension module can be implemented by this code:

#include <dfsch/dfsch.h>
#include <dfsch/load.h>

                       "Greet the world or entity named by optional string "
  char* entity;
  DFSCH_STRING_ARG_OPT(args, entity, "world");

  printf("hello %s\n", entity);
  return NULL;

void dfsch_module_module_register(dfsch_object_t* env){
  dfsch_package_t* module = dfsch_make_package("module",
                                               "Example module package");
  dfsch_provide(env, "module");
  dfsch_defcanon_pkgcstr(env, module, "hello-world", 

Assuming it is stored in file named module.c and dfsch`s include files and libraries can be found by compiler, it can then be compiled by

$ gcc -shared -fPIC -o module.dsl module.c -ldfsch

and used:

$ dfsch-repl -L. -rmodule
  /\___/\    dfsch version 0.4.0-rc2
 ( o   o )
 ==  *  ==   dfsch is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
   )   (     under certain conditions; see file COPYING for details.

]=> (module:hello-world)
hello world

It is interesting to note, that while dfsch will also accept extension module with normal operating system's extension (eg .so or .dll), it is preferred to use .dsl. Also dfsch will not search for modules in current directory except when explicitly instructed to do so by -L.