3. “Hello, world!” on ATS

ATS compiler is needed to run ATS program. In other words, ATS language doesn’t have interpreter such like OCaml language. We try to compile some simple ATS program on this chapter, before learn full-featured ATS programming.

3.1. ATS program to do nothing

What is the minimum program? It’s mostly a program has nothing without a empty main function. Let’s create such “ATS program to do nothing”.

(* File: nothing.dats *)
implement main0 () = ()

This is the ATS program has a main function doing nothing. Detail of the code is explained as following:

  • Any ATS programs start at main0 function
  • Keyword implement defines a new function main0 at the code
  • main0 function has been declared in ATS language implementation
  • main0 has no arguments and return value is void type
  • The body of the main0 function does nothing and return ()
  • The () is the only value of void type

3.2. Compile and run it

Let’s compile the “ATS program to do nothing”. Save it as nothing.dats and run following commands:

$ ls
$ patscc nothing.dats
$ ls
a.out  nothing.dats  nothing_dats.c
$ ./a.out

An executable a.out is created by ATS compiler patscc. Of course, the executable prints nothing on console while running.

By the way, how does the patscc command work?


As in the figure, the patscc internally calls two commands.

The first command is patsopt that compile ATS language code to C language, while the patsopt does typecheck the ATS code and reports type errors. The compilation ATS to C is aborted, if typechecking found some type errors.

The second command is gcc that is familiar to everyone. C language code created by patsopt is compiled to executable by the gcc command.