D is a general-purpose systems programming language with a C-like syntax that compiles to native code. It is statically typed and supports both automatic (garbage collected) and manual memory management. D programs are structured as modules that can be compiled separately and linked with external libraries to create native libraries or executables.
This document is the reference manual for the D Programming Language. For more information and other documents, see The D Language Website.
Phases of Compilation
The process of compiling is divided into multiple phases. Each phase is independent of subsequent phases. For example, the scanner is not affected by the semantic analyzer. This separation of passes makes language tools like syntax-directed editors relatively easy to create.
- source character set
The source file is checked to determine its encoding and the appropriate scanner is loaded. 7-bit ASCII and UTF encodings are accepted.
- script line
If the first line starts with "#!", then that line is ignored.
- lexical analysis
The source file is divided into a sequence of tokens. Special tokens are replaced with other tokens. SpecialTokenSequences are processed and removed.
- syntax analysis
The sequence of tokens is parsed to form syntax trees.
- semantic analysis
The syntax trees are traversed to declare variables, load symbol tables, assign types, and determine the meaning of the program.
Optimization is an optional pass that attempts to rewrite the program in a semantically equivalent, more performant, version.
- code generation
Instructions are selected from the target architecture to implement the semantics of the program. The typical result will be an object file suitable for input to a linker.
The byte is the fundamental unit of storage. Each byte has 8 bits and is stored at a unique address. A memory location is a sequence of one or more bytes of the exact size required to hold a scalar type. Multiple threads can access separate memory locations without interference.
Memory locations come in three groups:
- Thread-local memory locations are accessible from only one thread at a time.
- Immutable memory locations cannot be written to during their lifetime. Immutable memory locations can be read from by multiple threads without synchronization.
- Shared memory locations are accessible from multiple threads.
Execution of a single thread on thread-local and immutable memory locations is sequentially consistent. This means the collective result of the operations is the same as if they were executed in the same order that the operations appear in the program.
A memory location can be transferred from thread-local to immutable or shared if there is only one reference to the location.
A memory location can be transferred from shared to immutable or thread-local if there is only one reference to the location.
A memory location can be temporarily transferred from shared to local if synchronization is used to prevent any other threads from accessing the memory location during the operation.
An object is created in the following circumstances:
- a definition
- a NewExpression
- a temporary is created
- changing which field of a union is active
An object spans a sequence of memory locations which may or may not be contiguous. Its lifetime encompasses construction, destruction, and the period in between. Each object has a type which is determined either statically or by runtime type information. The object's memory locations may include any combination of thread-local, immutable, or shared.
Objects can be composed into a composed object. Objects that make up a composed object are subobjects. An object that is not the subobject of another object is a complete object. The lifetime of a subobject is always within the lifetime of the complete object to which it belongs.
An object's address is the address of the first byte of the first memory location for that object. Object addresses are distinct unless one object is nested within the other.