Running External Code

Programs that are larger than a few lines of code are not very convenient to run in the top-loop. It is better to save them in files in the file system and instruct Storm to load the code from there instead. This process is called importing in Storm.

As with the previous pages in this section, this page will contain examples of command lines. In these examples, the command storm is assumed to start Storm. However, this may not be the case on your system. Refer to this page for an explanation on how to start Storm on your system.

Importing Code

There are two command-line flags for importing code, -i and -I. The -i flag is simpler and often enough, so we will start by illustrating that flag.

The -i flag takes a single parameter on the command line: the name of a file or directory that should be imported. Storm then creates a new package in the root of the name tree with the same name of the file or directory, and imports the contents there.

To illustrate the process, assume that we have the following file saved as

void main() {
    print("Hello from Storm!");

To import the file into the name tree, we can run Storm as follows:

storm -i

If done correctly, this command will launch the top-loop as usual, without any additional messages. If you have mistyped the file name, or placed the file in a different directory than the current directory of your terminal, then a message (WARNING: The path ... could not be found.) will be displayed before the top-loop is started.

The package will be imported as the package demo since the name of the file was The file does not have to be located in the current working directory. The parameter to -i can be an arbitrary path to locate the file (for example: ~/storm/, or tests/

Once in the top-loop we can verify that the file was imported by typing help demo for example. If done correctly, the output will end with the following:

 main -> void [public]

We can then run the function by calling it, for example by typing: demo:main()

As mentioned above, the -i flag also works for directories. To illustrate this, let us assume that the program has grown larger than what is convenient to store in a single file. We now have two files in a directory called demo. The first one, contains the following code:

void main() {

The second file,, contains the following code:

void greeting(Str start) {
    print("-" * start.count);
    print("-" * start.count);

Note that the names of the files are arbitrary, they do not need to correspond to the functions in the files as far as Storm is concerned.

As before, we can use the -i flag to import the code. However, since we wish to import both files into the same package, we simply specify the directory itself rather than the individual files:

storm -i demo

As before, this imports the contents of the directory demo into the name tree as the package demo. If the directory contains any subdirectories, they are imported as sub-packages as well. As with files, demo can be replaced by a more complex path if necessary.

To verify the import, we can once again type help demo. The output should end with:

 greeting(core.Str) -> void [public]
 main -> void [public]

And, we can once again run the program by calling main: demo:main(). Of course we can also call greeting directly if we wish: demo:greeting("Test").

The -i flag can be repeated multiple times to import multiple files or directories.

Using an Alternative Name

So far, we have used the -i flag to import things into the name tree. This is enough in the vast majority of cases. However, it is sometimes necessary to be able to specify the location of the imported contents in the name tree. This can be done with the -I flag. It takes two parameters. The first one specifies the name in the name tree of the imported code. The second one is a path to a file or directory that should be imported.

For example, to import the demo directory into the package examples.greeting we can write:

storm -I examples.greeting demo

This imports the contents of the directory demo as the package examples.greeting. This means that we need to call the functions as follows: examples:greeting:main().

Running Code

So far, we have only used command-line parameters to import code. We still had to run the code from the top-loop. This quickly gets tiresome, especially when developing programs. For this reason, Storm provides a number of ways to also execute the imported code directly from the command line.

The first method is the -f flag. It takes a single parameter that is expected to be the name of a function in the name tree. Since it is not possible to specify parameters to the function on the command line, the function may not take any parameters.

The function main from the examples above requires no parameters, and can be called directly from the command line. We must still import the package to be able to call it. This can be done by combining the -i and -f flags as follows:

storm -i demo -f demo.main

Note that the order is not important. The -f flag is executed last regardless of the order.

If done correctly, this makes Storm import the code in the demo directory into the demo package in the name tree, and then execute the function demo.main (written as demo:main in Basic Storm). After main returns, Storm terminates. In this mode, Storm does not print any messages itself.

Since it is common to import code and then immediately run it, Storm provides a shorthand for the flags above. If the name of a file or directory is specified as a command line argument without a preceeding flag, then Storm imports it (as the -i flag would do), and then searches the imported package for a main function. If a main function exists, it will call the function as if the -f flag was specified. Otherwise, it will launch the top-loop. This means that we can run the program as follows:

storm demo

If multiple imports are specified in this manner, Storm searches them in the order they were specified, and runs the first main function that was found.

The -f flag can be used to run any function inside of Storm, it is not limited to functions in imported packages. For example, Progvis can be started as follows:

storm -f progvis.main

If the function that was launched automatically returns an integer type (e.g. Int or Nat), then the return value from the function is used as the exit code from the entire Storm process. If the function returns void, then Storm exits with a status of 0 unless the function terminated by throwing an exception that was not caught.