chapter explains issues for writing portable Prolog programs. It was
started after discussion with Vitor Santos Costa, the leading developer
of YAP Prolog243http://yap.sourceforge.net/
YAP and SWI-Prolog have expressed the ambition to enhance the
portability beyond the trivial Prolog examples, including complex
libraries involving foreign code.
Although it is our aim to enhance compatibility, we are still faced
with many incompatibilities between the dialects. As a first step both
YAP and SWI will provide some instruments that help developing portable
code. A first release of these tools appeared in SWI-Prolog 5.6.43. Some
of the facilities are implemented in the base system, others in the
- The Prolog flag dialect
is an unambiguous and fast way to find out which Prolog dialect executes
your program. It has the value
swi for SWI-Prolog and
- The Prolog flag version_data
is bound to a term
swi(Major, Minor, Patch, Extra)
- Conditional compilation using
:- if(Condition) ...
endif is supported. See section
- The predicate expects_dialect/1
allows for specifying for which Prolog system the code was written.
- The predicates exists_source/1
can be used to query the library content. The require/1
directive can be used to get access to predicates without knowing their
- The module predicates use_module/1, use_module/2
have been extended with a notion for‘import-except' and‘import-as'.
This is particularly useful together with reexport/1
to compose modules from other modules and mapping names.
- Foreign code can expect
__SWI_PROLOG__ when compiled
for SWI-Prolog and
__YAP_PROLOG__ when compiled on YAP.
- :- expects_dialect(+Dialect)
- This directive states that the code following the directive is written
for the given Prolog Dialect. See also dialect.
The declaration holds until the end of the file in which it appears. The
current dialect is available using prolog_load_context/2.
The exact behaviour of this predicate is still subject to discussion.
Of course, if Dialect matches the running dialect the
directive has no effect. Otherwise we check for the existence of
library(dialect/Dialect) and load it if the file is found.
Currently, this file has this functionality:
- Define system predicates of the requested dialect we do not have.
- Apply goal_expansion/2
rules that map conflicting predicates to versions emulating the
requested dialect. These expansion rules reside in the dialect
compatibility module, but are applied if prolog_load_context(dialect,
Dialect) is active.
- Modify the search path for library directories, putting libraries
compatible with the target dialect before the native libraries.
- Setup support for the default filename extension of the dialect.
- Is true if source Spec exports Export, a predicate
indicator. Fails without error otherwise.