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[bug#65860,v2,3/3] doc: Add new 'Circular Module Dependencies' section.

Message ID c2b54357d9f705ce0d561f660139b7e7570f195e.1694997755.git.maxim.cournoyer@gmail.com
State New
Headers show
Series Resolve a circular module dependencies in embedded modules | expand

Commit Message

Maxim Cournoyer Sept. 18, 2023, 12:43 a.m. UTC
* doc/contributing.texi (Circular Module Dependencies): New subsection.


(no changes since v1)

 doc/contributing.texi | 56 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 1 file changed, 56 insertions(+)
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diff --git a/doc/contributing.texi b/doc/contributing.texi
index 156a6cb19e1..d99751f42cb 100644
--- a/doc/contributing.texi
+++ b/doc/contributing.texi
@@ -513,6 +513,7 @@  Packaging Guidelines
 * Version Numbers::             When the name is not enough.
 * Synopses and Descriptions::   Helping users find the right package.
 * Snippets versus Phases::      Whether to use a snippet, or a build phase.
+* Cyclic Module Dependencies::   Going full circle.
 * Emacs Packages::              Your Elisp fix.
 * Python Modules::              A touch of British comedy.
 * Perl Modules::                Little pearls.
@@ -784,6 +785,61 @@  Snippets versus Phases
 using build phases.  Refer to the @code{origin} record documentation for
 more information (@pxref{origin Reference}).
+@node Cyclic Module Dependencies
+@subsection Cyclic Module Dependencies
+While there cannot be circular dependencies between packages, Guile's
+lax module loading mechanism allows circular dependencies between Guile
+modules, which doesn't cause problems as long as the following
+conditions are followed for two modules part of a dependency cycle:
+@cindex rules to cope with circular module dependencies
+Macros are not shared between the co-dependent modules
+Top-level variables are only referenced in delayed (@i{thunked}) package
+fields: @code{arguments}, @code{native-inputs}, @code{inputs},
+@code{propagated-inputs} or @code{replacement}
+Procedures referencing top-level variables from another module are not
+called at the top level of a module themselves.
+@end enumerate
+Straying away from the above rules may work while there are no
+dependency cycles between modules, but given such cycles are confusing
+and difficult to troubleshoot, it is best to follow the rules to avoid
+introducing problems down the line.
+Here is a common trap to avoid:
+(define-public avr-binutils
+  (package
+    (inherit (cross-binutils "avr"))
+    (name "avr-binutils")))
+@end lisp
+In the above example, the @code{avr-binutils} package was defined in the
+module @code{(gnu packages avr)}, and the @code{cross-binutils}
+procedure in @code{(gnu packages cross-base)}.  Because the
+@code{inherit} field is not delayed (thunked), it is evaluated at the
+top level at load time, which is problematic in the presence of module
+dependency cycles.  This could be resolved by turning the package into a
+procedure instead, like:
+(define (make-avr-binutils)
+  (package
+    (inherit (cross-binutils "avr"))
+    (name "avr-binutils")))
+@end lisp
+Care would need to be taken to ensure the above procedure is only ever
+used in a package delayed fields or within another procedure also not
+called at the top level.
 @node Emacs Packages
 @subsection Emacs Packages