Re: forward function definitions

From: Pierre Weis (
Date: Mon Jun 14 1999 - 18:17:22 MET DST

From: Pierre Weis <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: forward function definitions
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 18:17:22 +0200 (MET DST)
In-Reply-To: <> from "Sven LUTHER" at Jun 14, 99 12:55:38 pm

> On Wed, Jun 09, 1999 at 02:38:22PM -0400, Junbiao Zhang wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > We're developing a fairly large system with multiple function
> > definitions. It's inevitable that some functions may call other functions
> > defined later(may not even be recursive calls as in the case of
> > Sys.Signal_handle). My question is: how do I solve such a problem which is
> > extremely trival in other languages? Thanks.
> If the two functions are in different modules, just provide a interface file
> for them, and it should work ok but can cause some linker problems.
> 2 clean way of doing this are :
> * use the later called function as a parameter to the first called function :

That's a neat solution, although this trick works only when the
``later defined'' function is monomorphic, or at least is not
polymorphically called (the same problem arises with the reference
trick). Furthermore, this extra argument is a bit confusing, since, as
a forward, it should always be exactly the same value and nothing
helps the reader to understand this. Furthermore, the compiler has no
ways to warranty this semantics.

> * Or you could define all this in the form of a module functor :

In this case, you can polymorphically use a forward definition,
although is appears to me to be really a heavy loaded syntactic way of
defining forwards...


Pierre Weis

INRIA, Projet Cristal,,

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