Core Expander Syntax

Gerbil is a Meta-Scheme that bases the expansion of forms on the context present while expanding. When expanded by the compiler or interpreter a form could have very different meanings depending on the current-expander-context.

These syntactic forms come from the root context, which is the parent context of all syntactic contexts in Gerbil. They are not a part of the core prelude per se, but they are documented here for completeness.

Top Forms


(begin form ....)


(begin-syntax form ...)

Like begin, but at syntax phase phi +1.


(begin-annotation annotation form ...)

Effect the declarations in annotation in the scope of the body. Not implemented yet.


(import import-spec ...)

 (phi: dphi import-spec ...)                   ; import at differential phase; phi: +1 imports for syntax
 (begin: import-spec ...)                      ; group together import specs
 (runtime: module-path)                        ; import a module as runtime dependency (no bindings)
 (spec: module-path phi name src-phi src-name) ; fully specified import
 (macro macro-arg ....)                        ; expand import expander `macro` with `macro-arg ...`
 module-path                                   ; import a module

 string                                        ; source module path, relative to the current source
 bound-identifier                              ; module bound in the current context
 library-path                                  ; library module path
 relative-library-path                         ; relative library module path

 ':' symbol ['/' symbol]*                      ; library module path, with `/` as file system separator

 './' symbol ['/' symbol]*                     ; library module path relative to the current library module
 '../' ['../']* symbol ['/' symbol]*           ; relative library module path with package traversal

Imports bindings to the current syntactic context. Must appear at top or module context.


(module id module-body ...)

Creates a module and binds it to id. The module may be defined at top context for a top module or as a nested module inside another module.


(export export-spec ...)

 #t                           ; export all defined bindings at current phi
 (phi: dphi export-spec ...)  ; export a differential phase; phi: +1 exports for syntax
 (begin: export-spec ...)     ; group together export specs
 (spec: phi id name)          ; export `id` at phase `phi` with name `name
 (rename: id name)            ; export `id` with name `name`
 (import: module-path ...)    ; export all imports from modules specified by `module-path ...`
 (macro macro-arg ...)        ; expand export expander `macro` with `macro-arg ...`
 id                           ; export `id` with the same name

Exports bindings from the current module.


(declare declaration ...)

Make declarations that the compiler finds useful


(include path)

Include the contents of path, wrapped with a begin.


 (feature body ...) ...
 [(else body ...)])

 (and feature ...)            ; boolean and of `feature ...`
 (or feature ...)             ; boolean or of `feature ...`
 (not feature)                ; negation of feature
 id                           ; satisfied if `id` is bound as an identifier

Conditionally expands the body for the first satisfied feature. Must appear at top scope.


(provide id ...)

Binds id ... as features provided by a module.


(define-values (id ...) expr)


(define-syntax id expr)


(define-alias id alias-id)

Defines a syntactic alias for id to be the same as alias-id


(extern id ...)
(extern namespace: [namespace-id | #f] id ...)

Create runtime bindings for id, with the symbols bound at runtime through an external mechanism (eg builtin or defined at a foreign library).



(lambda% lambda-formals body ...)

Plain old Scheme lambda, without optional and keyword argument support


(case-lambda (lambda-formals body ...) ...)

let-values letrec-values letrec*-values

(let-values (((id ...) expr) ...) body ...)
(letrec-values (((id ...) expr) ...) body ...)
(letrec*-values (((id ...) expr) ...) body ...)

let-syntax letrec-syntax

(let-syntax ((id syntax-expr) ...) body ...)
(letrec-syntax ((id syntax-expr) ...) body ...)


(if test-expr then-expr else-expr)
(if test-expr then-expr)


(quote datum)


(quote-syntax id)

Quote an identifier id, capturing its syntactic context.

Expander Hooks

(%%app rator rand ...)
(%%ref id)
(%%begin-module body ...)

Special expander indirection hooks; explained elsewhere in the documentation.

Reserved Syntactic Tokens

The following widely used syntactic tokens are defined as reserved expanders:

_ ... else => unquote unquote-splicing unsyntax unsyntax-splicing