Type & Alias Definitions

Modules can also be used to export definitions of Types or Aliases that are intended to be used throughout your overall program.

Exporting Type Definitions

Exporting a Type definition can be as simple as just using the same Type definition syntax that you'd use within a .claro source file.

For example, the std module exports the following Type:

Fig 1:

# std.claro_module_api

newtype Error<T> : T

# ...

The one thing to keep in mind when exporting a Type definition using this basic syntax is that you're explicitly giving consumers access to the internal details of the type itself. This has the potential to make for a very unstable API as any consumers can freely unwrap values of the type and manipulate its underlying representation at will. This is obviously unsafe if the Type happens to be mutable as downstream consumers may not know how to maintain any inter-field invariants if they're allowed to mutate it at will.

And beyond mutability, perhaps more subtly, you should also consider whether there will be lots of downstream users directly accessing the Type's internal representation, and if so whether the representation is ever subject to any future change. If so, in the future, it may unknowingly become very hard to ever make changes to the Type's internal representation as, to do so, you would simultaneously be forced to update all of the downstream references to the Type's internal representation.

Thankfully, Claro actually has mechanisms to hide the internal representation of a Type definition from downstream consumers. Learn more in the sections on Unwrappers and Opaque Types.

Exporting Atoms

Exporting an Atom is something of a hybrid between exporting a static value and a Type definition, as an atom defines a new type whose only value is the Atom itself. But again, you may export Atoms from Module APIs exactly as it would be defined within a .claro source file.

For example, the strings module exports the following atom and several functions that reference it.

Fig 2:

# strings.claro_module_api

function indexOf(s: string, of: string) -> oneof<int, NOT_FOUND>;
function indexOfFromIndex(s: string, of: string, from: int) -> oneof<int, NOT_FOUND>;
function lastIndexOf(s: string, of: string) -> oneof<int, NOT_FOUND>;
function lastIndexOfFromIndex(s: string, of: string, from: int) -> oneof<int, NOT_FOUND>;

# ...

Exporting Aliases

While Aliases largely exist to allow you to create your own convenient syntax sugar for complex types, it can sometimes be useful for a Module to provide a standardized Alias for long or complex types that downstream usages could benefit from having a shorthand for. Syntax for exporting an Alias in a Module API is exactly the same as the syntax for declaring an Alias in a .claro source file.

Fig 3:

# ex1.claro_module_api

alias ComplexStruct : struct {
  fieldA: tuple<
    struct {
      innerA: int,
      innerB: [[char]]
  fieldB: provider<oneof<int, string>>

# It'll be much easier for users to be able to refer to this type using the exported
# alias rather than the type itself.
provider getRandomComplexStruct() -> ComplexStruct;

Modules Exporting Only Types/Aliases Don't Require any .claro Source Files

In general, if your Module exclusively exports Type or Alias definitions, you actually do not need to provide any .claro srcs to the defining claro_module(...) target, as the definitions themselves fully specify the Module in their own right.

Fig 4:

# ex4.claro_module_api



Fig 5:

load("//:rules.bzl", "claro_module")

    name = "user_error_types",
    module_api_file = "ex4.claro_module_api",
    # You could optionally, explicitly declare an empty list.
    # srcs = [],