1 Welcome to PLT Scheme
2 Scheme Essentials
3 Built-In Datatypes
4 Expressions and Definitions
5 Programmer-Defined Datatypes
6 Modules
7 Contracts
8 Input and Output
9 Regular Expressions
10 Exceptions and Control
11 Iterations and Comprehensions
12 Pattern Matching
13 Classes and Objects
14 Units (Components)
15 Reflection and Dynamic Evaluation
16 Macros
17 Performance
18 Running and Creating Executables
19 Compilation and Configuration
20 More Libraries
On this page:
6.2.1 The module Form
6.2.2 The #lang Shorthand
Version: 4.0


6.2 Module Syntax

The #lang at the start of a module file begins a shorthand for a module form, much like ' is a shorthand for a quote form. Unlike ', the #lang shorthand does not work well in a REPL, in part because it must be terminated by an end-of-file, but also because the longhand expansion of #lang depends on the name of the enclosing file.

6.2.1 The module Form

The longhand form of a module declaration, which works in a REPL as well as a file, is

(module name-id initial-module-path

  decl ...)

where the name-id is a name for the module, initial-module-path is an initial import, and each decl is an import, export, definition, or expression. In the case of a file, name-id must match the name of the containing file, minus its directory path or file extension.

The initial-module-path is needed because even the require form must be imported for further use in the module body. In other words, the initial-module-path import bootstraps the syntax available in the body. The most commonly used initial-module-path is scheme, which supplies most of the bindings described in this guide, including require, define, and provide. Another commonly used initial-module-path is scheme/base, which provides less functionality, but still much of the most commonly needed functions and syntax.

For example, the "cake.ss" example of the previous section could be written as

  (module cake scheme

    (provide print-cake)


    (define (print-cake n)

      (printf "   ~a  \n" (make-string n #\.))

      (printf " .-~a-.\n" (make-string n #\|))

      (printf " | ~a |\n" (make-string n #\space))

      (printf "---~a---\n" (make-string n #\-))))

Furthermore, this module form can be evaluated in a REPL to declare a cake module that is not associated with any file. To refer to such an unassociated module, quote the module name:


  > (require 'cake)

  > (print-cake 3)



   |     |


Declaring a module does not immediately evaluate the body definitions and expressions of the module. The module must be explicitly required at the top level to trigger evaluation. After evaluation is triggered once, later requires do not re-evaluate the module body.


  > (module hi scheme

      (printf "Hello\n"))

  > (require 'hi)


  > (require 'hi)

6.2.2 The #lang Shorthand

The body of a #lang shorthand has no specific syntax, because the syntax is determined by the language name that follows #lang.

In the case of #lang scheme, the syntax is

  #lang scheme

  decl ...

which reads the same as

  (module name scheme

    decl ...)

where name is derived from the name of the file that contains the #lang form.

The #lang scheme/base form has the same syntax as #lang scheme, except that the longhand expansion uses scheme/base instead of scheme. The #lang honu form, in contrast, has a completely different syntax that doesn’t even look like Scheme, and which we do not attempt to describe in this guide.

Unless otherwise specified, a module that is documented as a “language” using the #lang notation will expand to module in the same way as #lang scheme. The documented language name can be used directly with module or require, too.