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By default, SWI-Prolog is installed as `swipl'. The command line arguments of SWI-Prolog itself and its utility programs are documented using standard Unix man pages. SWI-Prolog is normally operated as an interactive application simply by starting the program:
$ swipl Welcome to SWI-Prolog ... ... 1 ?-
After starting Prolog, one normally loads a program into it using consult/1, which may be abbreviated by putting the name of the program file between square brackets. The following goal loads the file likes.pl containing clauses for the predicates likes/2 :
?- [likes]. true. ?-
Alternatively, the source file may be given as command line arguments:
$ swipl likes.pl Welcome to SWI-Prolog ... ... 1 ?-
After this point, Unix and Windows users unite, so if you are using Unix please continue at section 2.1.2.
After SWI-Prolog has been installed on a Windows system, the following important new things are available to the user:
swiplcontaining the executables, libraries, etc., of the system. No files are installed outside this directory.
.plis associated with the program swipl-win.exe. Opening a
.plfile will cause swipl-win.exe to start, change directory to the directory in which the file to open resides, and load this file.
The normal way to start the
likes.pl file mentioned in
section 22.214.171.124 is
by simply double-clicking this file in the Windows explorer.
Although we strongly advice to put your program in a file, optionally
edit it and use make/0
to reload it (see section
2.1.4), it is possible to manage facts and rules from the terminal.
The most conveniant way to add a few clauses is by consulting the pseudo
user. The input is ended using the system end-of-file
?- [user]. |: hello :- format('Hello world~n'). |: ^D true. ?- hello. Hello world true.
After loading a program, one can ask Prolog queries about the
program. The query below asks Prolog what food `sam' likes. The system
X = <value> if it can prove
the goal for a certain
X. The user can type the semi-colon (;) or spacebar6On
most installations, single-character commands are executed without
waiting for the RETURN key.
if (s)he wants another solution. Use the return
key if you do not want to see the more answers. Prolog completes the
output with a full stop (.) if the user uses the return
key or Prolog
knows there are no more answers. If Prolog cannot find (more)
answers, it writes false. Finally, Prolog answers using an error
message to indicate the query or program contains an error.
?- likes(sam, X). X = dahl ; X = tandoori ; ... X = chips. ?-
Note that the answer written by Prolog is a valid Prolog program that, when executed, produces the same set of answers as the original program.7The SWI-Prolog top level differs in several ways from traditional Prolog top level. The current top level was designed in cooperation with Ulrich Neumerkel.
If properly configured, the predicate edit/1 starts the built-in or user configured editor on the argument. The argument can be anything that can be linked to a location: a file name, predicate name, module name, etc. If the argument resolves to only one location the editor is started on this location, otherwise the user is presented a choice.
If a graphical user interface is available, the editor normally creates a new window and the system prompts for the next command. The user may edit the source file, save it and run make/0 to update any modified source file. If the editor cannot be opened in a window it the same console and leaving the editor runs make/0 to reload any source files that have been modified.
?- edit(likes). true. ?- make. % /home/jan/src/pl-devel/linux/likes compiled 0.00 sec, 0 clauses ?- likes(sam, X). ...
The program can also be decompiled using listing/1
as below. The argument is listing/1
is just a predicate name, a predicate
indicator of the form Name/Arity, e.g.,
or a head, e.g.,
?- listing(likes(sam, _).,
listing all matching clauses. The predicate listing/0,
i.e., without arguments lists the entire program.8This
lists several hook predicates that are defined by default and
is typically not very informative.
?- listing(mild). mild(dahl). mild(tandoori). mild(kurma). true.
The interactive toplevel can be stopped in two ways: enter the system end-of-file character (typically Control-D) or by executing the halt/0 predicate:
?- halt. $