falpack man page

falpack — The falcon application packaging tool


falpak [options] main_script


The falpack command line tool is meant to copy all the modules and other dependencies needed for a standalone falcon application to run into a target directory. Falpack can copy also the system files needed to run the application, making the final application totally stand-alone, or just store the needed modules so that a local falcon installation can be used to run the application.

falpack searches for special attributes in the parsed modules to store resources data files that an application may require. It copies also needed internationalization translation tables, and eventually compiles sources into binary .fam modules. It can also remove sources from the final installation, so that pre-compiled applications only can be shipped. Finally, it creates a script that can be used to run the application with a "single click" operation on the host platform.

System relevant modules (as i.e. feathers or system-wide installed modules) are also stored together with the application.

Anyhow, installation of falcon system files (which include feather modules) is optional.

System files are copied into a fake root subdirectory (normally called _system ). All the modules not lying under the same directory of the application "main script" or in deeper trees, are considered "system-wide" installed, and it is supposed that the script access them via -L option or via FALCON_LOAD_PATH environment variable. They are then stored in the system directory and a directory tree is re-created so that the simple addition of the fake root to the load path (i.e. "falcon -L _system") is enough to access all of them.

This method allows the application to access modules by logical name and by filename, as the filename is made relative to the load path. However, modules loaded with absolute filenames must be separately installed on the target system so that their position matches the required absolute path.


-b <module>
Blacklists this module (by module name). Using this option it is possible to prevent default action on the given module (copy into the application tree or the fake root tree). It is possible to specify more blacklisted modules repeating this option.
--bin <dir>
Specify directory where falcon binary resides. Useful if falpack is required to read an interpreter from a non-default installation, or if it can't find it. NOTE: falpack uses falcon build environment settings. If used under the build environment, it will copy files from the active build tree ignoring system wide installations.
-e <enc>
Source files encoding. In case the source file text encoding is different from the system default encoding, the module loader may detect syntax errors or fail to load the sources; also, if .fam generation is required, the strings in the pre-compiled modules.
Usage help. A short in-line summary of options.
--lib <dir>
Specify directory where falcon engine dynamic link library resides. Useful if falpack is required to read an interpreter from a non-default installation, or if it can't find it. NOTE: falpack uses falcon build environment settings. If used under the build environment, it will copy files from the active build tree ignoring system wide installations.
-L <dir>
Redefine FALCON_LOAD_PATH. In case the main module needs a special load path which is not the system default or the one stored in the FALCON_LOAD_PATH environment variable. Notice that this setting overwrites system and environment variable settings. Also, notice that this load path is intended for local loading and compiling of the modules in the application; the modules are then arranged so that this setting is not needed in the final application.
Pack also pre-compiled modules. If given, this option will cause .fam modules to be stored beside their source files (.fal or .ftd). It is incompatible with the -s option.
-P <dir>
Save the package in this directory. By default, the package is stored in a directory with the same name of the main module (its extension stripped), under the current work directory. This option overrides the default and allows to store the package at an arbitrary location.
-r <name>
Install <name> instead of "falcon" as interpreter. Useful in case only pre-compiled modules are packaged, where falrun may be employed, or in case of special system-specific interpreter build, as with sdl_falcon MacOSX framework compatible interpreter.
-R <dir>
Change fake root for system data into <dir>. If the default name for storage of system specific apparels (as binary modules, falcon engine library etc.), which is "_system", is not satisfactory, it can be overridden through this option.
Strip sources. Using this option, source falcon files are not copied in the package; only the pre-compiled bytecode .fam modules are stored.
Do not store system files. Prevent copying of the falcon interpreter, falcon engine dynamic library and feather modules.
Prints version and exit.
Verbose mode. Prints verbose messages of what falpack is doing.

Special Attributes

falpack automatically packages needed ancillary files required by modules, as the translation table files (.ftr). However, the modules may specify other files to be included through a set of special attributes which are interpreted by falpack as it loads and analyzes them.


This attribute can indicate a list of resources that should be copied together with the module. The attribute needs to be a string, and different resources can be separated through a semi comma (;). It is possible also to specify file masks using the "*.ext" pattern; whole subdirectories can be stored using the "dir/*" pattern. Please, notice that this attribute doesn't work recursively; to include sub-directories in resource directories, specify all of them. For example:

resources: "images/*; images/icons/*"


Similar to the resources attribute, the plugins attribute indicates a single module or a directory containing more modules that may be used by the applications as dynamic plugins. Differently from the data considered in the resources attribute, the files indicated in the plugins attribute are loaded by the loader, and their dependencies, if any, are further resolved and become part of the installed application. Also, they are treated as any other module in any respect; for example associated translation files are copied, and in case falpack is required to strip sources, only the pre-compiled fam modules will be saved.

It is possible to store all the modules found in a certain directory using the "*" wildcard.

Similarly to the resources attribute, the plugin attribute doesn't descend recursively in sub-directories; to include other modules laying below the required directory, that subdirectory must be explicitly specified, as in this example:

plugins: "output/*; output/helpers/*"

This attribute stores one or more system dynamic library needed for the falcon module to run. Depending on the host system, the target location may be in the fake root directory or besides the module (depending on how the system module loader tries to find the modules). More dependencies may be separated with a semi comma (;).


Relative paths are not jailed; if the resource attribute or the relative path of a loaded module indicates a position above the main script directory or above any position in the FALCON_LOAD_PATH specification, the files may be copied outside the target package location. Be careful when writing the application you want to package so that all the needed files can be reached at the same level or below the main script, or at the same level or below directories in the load path.

At the moment, it's quite complex to create cross platform packages (except for script-only applications which use local falcon installation to run). It is planned to provide this support in future via the ability to download pre-compiled modules from a central repository.

In this version, dynlib attribute is not working for MacOSX style framework libraries. However, it will work for MacOSX dylib that can be found via the ldd command.


Giancarlo Niccolai <gc@falconpl.org>

See Also

falcon(1) falrun(1)


This document is released under the "GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2". On Debian systems, the complete text of the Free Documentation License, version 1.2, can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/.


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