Compiling AutoLisp Files
- Page II
Visual Lisp provides you with the
ability to create a single, standalone executable module for your
application. This module incorporates all your application's compiled
files, and can include DCL, DVB, and other files that your
application may need. Executable Visual Lisp modules are known as VLX
files, and are stored in files named with a .vlx extension.
A Make Application wizard guides you through the application building
process in Visual Lisp. The result of this process is a Make file, which
is often referred to by its file extension, .prv. The Make file
contains all the instructions Visual Lisp needs to build the application
To test this out, I've provided an
AutoLisp Application that consists of an AutoLisp file, and a DCL file.
From these 2 files we will compile one vlx executable module. (Just
click here to download the source
files). Unzip these files and save them in any directory within your
AutoCAD Support Path.
OK, fire up AutoCAD and open the Visual
Lisp Editor. Now select "Files" - "Make Application" -
"New Application" from the pulldown menu :
This dialog will appear :
Select "Expert" mode as we
want to compile multiple file types, and then press "Next" :
Enter the path to the directory you
would like to store the files in. Select the same directory that you
stored the AutoLisp source files.
Then, give your application a name. It does not have to be the same as
your AutoLisp source file, but to spare any confusion, let's keep it the
The select "Next" :
No, we do not want our application to
run in a separate namespace.
Just select "Next" :
Now we need to select our AutoLisp
source file. Select "refl.lsp" then press "Next" :
In this dialog, we select and add any
dependency files that our application needs to run correctly. Select
"refl.dcl" and then "Next" :
No need to confuse you now, just go with
the "Standard" option. Select "Next" :
OK, that's us about done. To build your
compiled application, just select "Finish".
VLISP executes instructions in a Make
file to build an application. Output messages from this process appear in
two VLISP windows: the Build Output window and the Console window. The
Build Output window contains messages relating to any compilation of
AutoLISP source code into .fas files. In a successful compile, the
output looks like the following :
; (COMPILE-FILES st
[Analyzing file "D:/drawings/refl.lsp"]
[FASDUMPING object format -> "D:/drawings/refl.fas"]
; Compilation complete.
The compiler messages identify the
- The name and directory path of the
source files being compiled.
- The functions defined in the source
file. Seven functions are identified: C:REFL, CCC, MKLIST, SPINBAR,
INITERR, TRAP and RESET.
- The name and path of the output .fas
The VLISP Console window displays
messages relating to the creation of the application executable, the .vlx
file. If the Make Application process succeeds, the Console window
displays the path and file name of the .vlx, as in the following
Have a look in the directory where you
stored the source files. You should now have 5 "refl"
- refl.lsp - AutoLisp source
- refl.dcl - DCL source file
- refl.fas - Compiled
- refl.vlx - Executable
Visual Lisp Module
- refl.prv - Application
You can now distribute "refl.vlx"
as a compiled application.
Note!!! You CANNOT edit a vlx file. These 5 files need to be
kept in a safe location if you intend to edit or revise your vlx
Loading Compiled AutoLisp Applications :
Loading compiled applications is exactly
the same as for normal AutoLisp functions :
Here's a couple of things to keep in
If you do not specify a file extension, load first looks for a file with
the name you specified (for example, "refl"), and an
extension of .vlx. If no .vlx file is found, load searches
next for a .fas file, and finally, if no .fas file is found,
load searches for a .lsp file.
Tip of the Day :
To aid you in the process of maintaining
multiple-file applications, VLISP provides a construct called a Project. A
VLISP Project contains a list of AutoLISP source files, and a set of rules
on how to compile the files.
Using the Project definition, VLISP can do the following :
- Check which .lsp files in your
application have changed, and automatically recompile only the
modified files. This procedure is known as a Make procedure.
- Simplify access to source files by
listing all source files associated with a project, making them
accessible with a single-click.
- Help you find code fragments by
searching for strings when you do not know which source files contain
the text you're looking for. VLISP limits the search to files included
in your project.
- Optimize compiled code by directly
linking the corresponding parts of multiple source files.
Have a look at the Visual Lisp Help for
further information on Projects.