Native Code in your Application or Library

Scala Native uses native C and C++ code to interact with the underlying platform and operating system. Since the tool chain compiles and links the Scala Native system, it can also compile and link C and C++ code included in an application project or a library that supports Scala Native that includes C and/or C++ source code.

Supported file extensions for native code are .c, .cpp, and .S.

Note that .S files or assembly code is not portable across different CPU architectures so conditional compilation would be needed to support more than one architecture. You can also include header files with the extensions .h and .hpp.

Applications with Native Code

In order to create standalone native projects with native code use the following procedure. You can start with the basic Scala Native template.

Add C/C++ code into src/main/resources/scala-native. The code can be put in subdirectories as desired inside the scala-native directory. As an example, create a file named myapi.c and put it into your scala-native directory as described above.

long long add3(long long in) { return in + 3; }

Next, create a main file as follows:

import scalanative.unsafe._

@extern
object myapi {
  def add3(in: CLongLong): CLongLong = extern
}

object Main {
  import myapi._
  def main(args: Array[String]): Unit = {
    val res = add3(-3L)
    assert(res == 0L)
    println(s"Add3 to -3 = $res")
  }
}

Finally, compile and run this like a normal Scala Native application.

Using libraries with Native Code

Libraries developed to target the Scala Native platform can have C, C++, or assembly files included in the dependency. The code is added to src/main/resources/scala-native and is published like a normal Scala library. The code can be put in subdirectories as desired inside the scala-native directory. These libraries can also be cross built to support Scala/JVM or Scala.js if the Native portions have replacement code on the respective platforms.

The primary purpose of this feature is to allow libraries to support Scala Native that need native “glue” code to operate. The current C interopt does not allow direct access to macro defined constants and functions or allow passing “struct”s from the stack to C functions. Future versions of Scala Native may relax these restrictions making this feature obsolete.

Note: This feature is not a replacement for developing or distributing native C/C++ libraries and should not be used for this purpose.

If the dependency contains native code, Scala Native will identify the library as a dependency that has native code and will unpack the library. Next, it will compile, link, and optimize any native code along with the Scala Native runtime and your application code. No additional information is needed in the build file other than the normal dependency so it is transparent to the library user.

Using a library that contains native code can be used in combination with the feature above that allows native code in your application.

EXPERIMENTAL: Deployment Descriptor for passing settings to the compiler

These are experimental features that were added because they are used internally by Scala Native to simplify the build and organize the native code with their respective projects. These features allow a library developer that has native code included with their project to have better control over compilation settings used for their project. By adding a scala-native.properties file in the root of your project’s resources/scala-native directory, settings can be added to the properties file that are added to the compile command.

These features allow the settings described below to apply only to your library during compilation.

Use the following procedure to use any of the features described below.

  • Add a Scala Native deployment descriptor to your library.The properties file must be named scala-native.properties and must be put in the base of the src/main/resources/scala-native directory.

Adding defines to your library when code is being compiled

If your library requires a C preprocessor define then use this feature to add the define -DMY_DEFINE for example to the options passed to the compiler.

# add defines, do not add -D
preprocessor.defines = MY_DEFINE, MY_VALUE=2

Add extra include paths for your library

Currently, the native code compilation provides an include to your project’s resources/scala-native directory. This means that code needs to use relative includes. e.g. #include "mylib.h" The build scans for all files to compile so only relative paths are needed from your base scala-native directory

This feature allows you to vendor code, include code as is, that has system includes. e.g. #include <libunwind.h> Add the path starting from the scala-native path shown above. If you have a more complex setup, you could also put your code in subdirectories and add paths to them. Add the paths in Linux/UNIX style and they will be converted as needed on the Windows platform.

# path to vendored libunwind a base gc path
compile.include.paths = platform/posix/libunwind, gc

Add unique identity to your library for debugging

Since these features can apply to libraries that are published, those coordinates can be used to identify your library. The example here is for a Scala Native javalib library.

# output via debugging
project.organization = org.scala-native
project.name = javalib

The descriptor and its settings are printed when compiling in debug mode. Use the following command if using sbt:

sbt --debug

Other experimental features may be added for new requirements.

Continue to Testing.