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Module expressions (module implementations)

Module expressions are the module-level equivalent of value expressions: they evaluate to modules, thus providing implementations for the specifications expressed in module types.

   |  struct {definition [;;]} end
   |  functor ( module-name : module-type ) -> module-expr
   |  module-expr ( module-expr )
   |  ( module-expr )
   |  ( module-expr : module-type )

      let [rec] let-binding {and let-binding}
   |  external value-name : typexpr = external-declaration
   |  type-definition
   |  exception-definition
   |  class class-definition {and class-definition} end
   |  module module-name {( module-name : module-type )} [: module-type] = module-expr
   |  module type modtype-name = module-type
   |  open module-path

Simple module expressions

The expression module-path evaluates to the module bound to the name module-path.

The expression ( module-expr ) evaluates to the same module as module-expr.

The expression ( module-expr : module-type ) checks that the type of module-expr is a subtype of module-type, that is, that all components specified in module-type are implemented in module-expr, and their implementation meets the requirements given in module-type. In other terms, it checks that the implementation module-expr meets the type specification module-type. The whole expression evaluates to the same module as module-expr, except that all components not specified in module-type are hidden and can no longer be accessed.


Structures struct...end are collections of definitions for value names, type names, exceptions, module names and module type names. The definitions are evaluated in the order in which they appear in the structure. The scope of the bindings performed by the definitions extend to the end of the structure. As a consequence, a definition may refer to names bound by earlier definitions in the same structure.

For compatibility with toplevel phrases (chapter 8) and with Caml Light, an optional ;; is allowed after each definition in a structure. The ;; has no semantic meaning. Also for compatibility, ;; expr is allowed as a component of a structure, meaning let _ = expr, i.e. evaluate expr for its side-effects.

Value definitions

A value definition let [rec] let-binding {and let-binding} bind value names in the same way as a expression (see section 5.8). The value names appearing in the left-hand sides of the bindings are bound to the corresponding values in the right-hand sides.

A value definition external value-name : typexpr = external-declaration implements value-name as the external function specified in external-declaration (see chapter 15).

Type definitions

A definition of one or several type components is written type typedef {and typedef} and consists of a sequence of mutually recursive definitions of type names.

Exception definitions

Exceptions are defined with the syntax exception constr-decl.

Class definitions

The class keyword introduces one or several mutually recursive class definitions, as described in section 5.10.

Module definitions

The basic form for defining a module component is module module-name = module-expr, which evaluates module-expr and binds the result to the name module-name.

One can write

module module-name : module-type = module-expr
instead of
module module-name = ( module-expr : module-type ).
Another derived form is
module module-name ( name1 : module-type1 )...( namen : module-typen ) = module-expr
which is equivalent to
module module-name = functor ( name1 : module-type1 ) ->...-> module-expr

Module type definitions

A definition for a module type is written module type modtype-name = module-type. It binds the name modtype-name to the module type denoted by the expression module-type.

Opening a module path

The expression open module-path in a structure does not define any components nor perform any bindings. It simply affects the parsing of the following items of the structure, allowing components of the module denoted by module-path to be referred to by their simple names name instead of path accesses module-path . name. The scope of the open stops at the end of the structure expression.


Functor definition

The expression functor ( module-name : module-type ) -> module-expr evaluates to a functor that takes as argument modules of the type module-type1, binds module-name to these modules, evaluates module-expr in the extended environment, and returns the resulting modules as results. No restrictions are placed on the type of the functor argument; in particular, a functor may take another functor as argument (``higher-order'' functor).

Functor application

The expression module-expr1 ( module-expr2 ) evaluates module-expr1 to a functor and module-expr2 to a module, and applies the former to the latter. The type of module-expr2 must match the type expected for the arguments of the functor module-expr1.

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