6a5e2f8 [build/doc] Make all the right dirs

~andyc pushed to ~andyc/oil git

3 hours ago

c4791fd [translation] Fix translation by adding types

~andyc pushed to ~andyc/oil git

a day ago

#Oil Source Code


Oil is a new Unix shell. It's our upgrade path from bash to a better language and runtime! (Why Create a New Unix Shell? / 2019 FAQ)

It's written in Python, so the code is short and easy to change. But we automatically translate it to C++ with custom tools, to make it fast and small. The deployed executable doesn't depend on Python.

This README is at the root of the git repo.


  • Try making the dev build of Oil with the instructions on the Contributing page. This should take 1 to 5 minutes if you have a Linux machine.
  • If it doesn't, let us know. You can post on the #oil-dev channel of oilshell.zulipchat.com, or file an issue on Github.
  • Feel free to grab an issue from Github. Let us know what you're thinking before you get too far.

#Quick Start on Linux

After following the instructions on the Contributing page, you'll have a Python program that you can quickly run and change! Try it interactively:

bash$ bin/osh

osh$ name=world
osh$ echo "hello $name"
hello world
  • Try running a shell script you wrote with bin/osh myscript.sh.
  • Try the Oil language with bin/oil.

Let us know if any of these things don't work! The continuous build tests them at every commit.

#Dev Build vs. Release Build

Again, note that the developer build is very different from the release tarball. The Contributing page describes this difference in detail.

The release tarballs are linked from the home page. (Developer builds don't work on OS X, so use the release tarballs on OS X.)

#Important: We Accept Small Contributions!

Oil is full of many ideas, which may be intimidating at first.

But the bar to contribution is very low. It's basically a medium size Python program with many tests, and many programmers know how to change such programs. It's great for prototyping.

  • For OSH compatibility, I often merge failing spec tests. You don't even have to write code! The tests alone help. I search for related tests with grep xtrace spec/*.test.sh, where xtrace is a shell feature.
  • You only have to make your code work in Python. Plain Python programs are easy to modify. The semi-automated translation to C++ is a separate step, although it often just works.
  • You can influence the design of the Oil language. If you have an itch to scratch, be ambitious. For example, you might want to show us how to implement nonlinear pipelines.


The Wiki has many developer docs. Feel free to edit them. If you make a major change, let us know on Zulip!

There are also READMEs in some subdirectories, like opy/ and mycpp/.

If you're confused, the best thing to do is to ask on Zulip and someone should produce a pointer and/or improve the docs.

Docs for end users are linked from each release page.

#Repository Structure

Try this to show a summary of what's in the repo and their line counts:

$ metrics/source-code.sh all

(Other functions in this file may be useful as well.)

#A Collection of Interpreters

Oil is naturally structured as a set of mutually recursive parsers and evaluators. These interpreters are specified at a high-level: with regular languages, Zephyr ASDL, and a statically-typed subset of Python.

bin/              # Main entry points like bin/osh (source in bin/oil.py)
frontend/         # Lexing/Parsing code common to Oil and OSH
osh/              # OSH parsers and evaluators (cmd, word, sh_expr)
oil_lang/         # Oil parser and evaluator
core/             # Other code shared between Oil and OSH
pylib/            # Borrowed from the Python standard library.
tools/            # User-facing tools, e.g. the osh2oil translator

#DSLs / Code Generators

Here are the tools that transform that high-level code to efficient code:

asdl/             # ASDL implementation, derived from CPython
pgen2/            # Parser Generator, borrowed from CPython
mycpp/            # Experimental translator from typed Python to C++.
                  # Depends on MyPy.
opy/              # Python compiler in Python (mycpp/ will replace it)
  lib/            # Common code
  compiler2/      # Bytecode compiler
  byterun/        # Metacircular bytecode VM in Python
  gold/           # tests
  byterun/        # Unused bytecode interpreter

#Native Code

We have native code to support both the dev build (running under CPython) and the oil-native build (pure C++):

Python-2.7.13/    # CPython is the initial basis for the Oil VM
native/           # Python extension modules, e.g. libc.c
cpp/              # C++ code which complements the mycpp translation

#Several Kinds of Tests

Unit tests are named foo_test.py and live next to foo.py.

test/             # Test automation
  gold/           # Gold Test cases
  sh_spec.py      # shell spec test framework
  spec.sh         # Types of test runner: spec, unit, gold, wild
spec/             # Spec test cases
  bin/            # tools used in many spec tests
  testdata/       # scripts for specific test cases
  errors/         # TODO: migrate these bad shell scripts
types/            # Scripts for running MyPy and PyAnnotate, etc.

#Dev Tools and Scripts

We use a lot of automation to improve the dev process. It's largely written in shell, of course!

benchmarks/       # Benchmarks should be run on multiple machines.
metrics/          # Metrics don't change between machines (e.g. code size)
build/            # Build automation
  oil-defs/       # Files that define our slice of CPython.
  dev.sh          # For development builds, running CPython
devtools/         # For Oil developers (not end users)
  release.sh      # The (large) release process.
demo/             # Demonstrations of bash/shell features.  Could be
                  # moved to tests/ if automated.
  old/            # A junk drawer.
web/              # HTML/JS/CSS for tests and tools
lazylex/          # An HTML lexer which doctools/ builds upon.
services/         # Integration with cloud services (e.g. Travis CI)

#Temp Dirs

Directories that begin with _ are not stored in git. The dev tools above create and use these dirs.

_bin/             # Native executables are put here
_build/           # Temporary build files
_devbuild/        # Developer build files not deleted upon 'make clean'
  gen/            # Generated Python and C code
_deps/            # build dependencies like re2c
_tmp/             # Test suites and other temp files
_release/         # Source release tarballs are put here
  VERSION/        # Published at oilshell.org/release/$VERSION/
    web/          # Static files, copy of $REPO_ROOT/web

#Build System for End Users

This is very different than the developer build of Oil.


#Doc Sources

doc/              # A mix of docs
doctools/         # Tools that use lazylex/ to transform Markdown/HTML
README.md         # This page, which is For Oil developers

LICENSE.txt       # For end users

#More info

#Python Files Not Translated to C++

  mylib.py  # statically typed equivalents of Python's data structures
pylib/      # copied from Python stdlib
  py{error,os,util}.py  # too complicated to translate
*/*_def.py  # abstract definitions
*/*_gen.py  # code generators