Modules provide a method to separate implementation from interface. They may contain types, traits, functions, and global variables, although the latter is discouraged. Before importing a module, the modules names can be accessed through indexing the hierarchy of modules with the . operator. For example, accessing a function f in the module SubModule which itself is within the module Module can be done with Module.SubModule.f. This is the primary method to access other modules, with the one exception that the current module has all of its names already imported, thus if the current module is the SubModule above then the function can be accessed with just f.

Directory Structure

By default, every file is wrapped in a module whose name matches the file’s name but in PascalCase. It is standard practice to have file names be in lowercase or snake_case. If the name is not translated correctly into PascalCase it can be changed within a module expression.

Ante converts a directory of source files into a hierarchy of modules with the following rules:

  1. All paths are relative from the file containing the program’s start point.
  2. Folder names are converted into module names
  3. Files inside folders are converted into submodules of the folder module
  4. If a file’s name matches the folder it is in, it is the implementation for the folder’s module

For example the following directory tree will produce the corresponding modules on the right.

├─       -> Driver
├─       -> Helper
└─ folder          -> Folder
   ├─    -> Folder
   ├─    -> Folder.Helper
   └─ subfolder    -> Folder.Subfolder
      └─   -> Folder.Subfolder.File


Importing a module brings all of its names into scope and is not required to use the module. A module’s names can still be accessed with the syntax afterward.

If an imported module’s names conflict with a module already imported then an error is issued. In this case, the error can be resolved by either renaming one module, importing only the desired functions, or not importing the module at all.

import Math

Math.sqrt 16  //=> 4.0
sqrt 16  //=> 4.0

Import expressions actually accept a variety of arguments from lists of modules to strings and lists of strings. They can also be overloaded like other operators to import special files in different ways. The arguments to import must be compile-time constants, and if they are not then import attempts to execute them as such (thus import is equivalent to import ante)

//import a file from a string
import "../"

//import multiple files
import "", "", File3, File4

//import arbitrary string expressions:
import "".replace "qu" "f"

import many_files()

//Ask for which file to import during compile-time
import input "Input the file to import: "

Overloading import for different types is done like any other operator. The following will import a c source file, assuming the functions parse and decls exist.

type C = Str file lib

//import a c src file
impl Import C
    (import) src:C -> unit =
        //import directly from the ast
        import parse src
        Ante.Compiler.link_with src.lib

import C("file.h", "libname")

Module Expressions

The module expression is a special expression that is run before the main body of the file is executed.

A module expression can optionally include a module name. If one is included it is taken to be the name of a submodule that is contained within the expression. If no name is specified, then the module expression refers to the current module.

//in file

//four can use inc that is declared later because module
//expressions are executed before the main body of a file
four = inc 3

six = Util.double 3

    inc = (_+1)

module Util
    double = (_*2)

The fact that module expressions are run before the main body of a file may seem odd at first but it is helpful when managing imports and exports. Typically stating the imports and exports of a module is done at the top of a file using functions such as export that would typically not be run when the compiler is only looking for function/type/trait declarations to import. Putting these functions within a module expression would cause them to run and expand into the desired function declarations to import. In this way, a module expression can be thought of as an ante block that is run while importing a file.

    //Every module that imports this module
    //will now also import Math
    import Math

    //export function is run while importing this file
    export inc

inc = (_+1)


The declarations visible to external modules are handled through the visibility modifiers (see the modifiers section).

Alternatively, functions can be used to manually export functions. In the following example, public exports are created with the export function.

    add = (+)
    sub = (-)
    mul = (*)
    div = (/)
    export add sub mul div

    //not exported
    rem = (%)