13.2. Name Binding

Symbols for Sather calls to Fortran code need to be generated in exactly the same way as a Fortran 77 compile would. This is also necessary for the names of routines intended to be called from Fortran. This is difficult to ensure in a portable way since neither Sather nor Fortran 77 language specification prescribes any symbol binding convention and the name mangling strategy is usually very sensitive to particular Fortran platforms. Sather 1.1 attempts to solve the name biding problem in an easy to use, but sufficiently general manner.

13.2.1. Difficulties

Various naming issues have to be resolved to provide seamless platform independent interoperability between Sather and Fortran. Neither Sather nor Fortran specifies a way to mangle symbols generated for the linking stage. Moreover, various Fortran compilers adopt vastly different naming strategies and, in general, it is impossible to link together object files generated by different Fortran compilers. Unfortunately, this is the case even for relatively mainstream platforms: for instance, AT&T f77 compiler name mangling is very different from that of Sun's f77 compiler.

This is an incomplete list of various Fortran 77 naming practices

The Sather symbols may be generated using quite different naming conventions. For instance, the ICSI Sather 1.1 compiler generates symbols for Sather routine and iterator names by concatenating a class name (including class parameters) with a routine name, truncating the resulting name to a length specified at the compiler configuration/installation step and appending a number at the end to make the name unique. Other Sather implementations are free to choose any name binding convention.

The set of problems we have to deal with is the same set of problems that needs to be resolved to provide interoperability between Fortran and such an "old" language as C. To this day, there is no standard or even a concrete proposal to resolve F77/C, HPF/C or F95/C name binding issues in a platform independent fashion.

The Sather 1.1 implementation deals with the naming issues in a more fundamental fashion, in some respects, than any of the mentioned external interface proposals.

13.2.2. Implementation

The name mangling strategy for external Fortran names generated by Sather is set at the compiler configuration time. Thus, to move a mixed language program or library from one platform to another, it is only necessary to reconfigure the Sather compiler at the compiler installation time to inform it about the naming convention of the Fortran compiler on the new platform. All user and library code will continue working as is.

There are at least three potential ways to insure the portability of name binding. The simplest (conceptually, not practically!) way is to keep a list of all known Fortran compilers and used name mangling conventions. The Sather compiler should be able to implement any of the possible name binding strategies. This solution was adopted (not implemented!) by the HPFF proposal to provide HPPF/C interoperability. Problems with this approach:

Another solution that tries to simplify Sather compiler complexity is to add a "Fortran name bind" directive to the Sather language. This directive would specify an actual binding name for each Fortran routine meant to be called from Sather and each Sather routine callable from Fortran. F95/C interoperability proposal partially adopts this approach. This solution, however tedious it may be for the user, may be unavoidable for Fortran to interface other languages since Fortran names are always converted to lowercase and to call an external routine whose name in the symbol table has at least a single uppercase letter a new language construct needs to be added to Fortran. This particular problem, however, may be avoided for Sather. Nevertheless, there are some serious problems with this approach:

Finally, a completely general solution is to provide a Sather compiler at configuration time with a stand alone function that would take the Sather name as an input and generate a biding Fortran name as output that conforms to all conventions of the current Fortran platform. A library of such functions for most common platforms could be distributed with the compiler, and to port the Sather compiler to an exotic Fortran platform, only a single function will need to be written (or modified given a valid Fortran platform with a similar functionality.) This approach was considered as superior in the F95/C Interoperability Technical Report (ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG5 N1147), but it was not accepted because of the F95 compiler implementation difficulties.

Sather 1.1 tries to shield the user completely from the horrors of low-level mangling details. It adopts the third and most general strategy. In addition, it also provides simple hooks for most common Fortran mangling conventions.

Most Fortran compilers simply append an underscore as a prefix or suffix to the textual name (modulo necessary truncation) . The same behavior for external names could be achieved by setting either one or both configuration variables in the CONFIG file for a particular platform at installation time:

In this example, the Fortran binding name is generated from the routine name used in the external Fortran class by appending '_'.

If this is not sufficient, a general Fortran name mangling function can be specified at installation time:

When FORTRAN_BIND_FUNC configuration variable is set to true, a general name binding function BIND_FORTRAN::bind_name(name:STR):STR is invoked whenever Fortran symbols are generated. It, in turn, can call any user supplied mangling function capturing the peculiarity of a particular Fortran platform. BIND_FORTRAN class contains most common binding functions. To port the system to an exotic Fortran environment, a single name binding routine needs to be added to BIND_FORTRAN.

Class BIND_FORTRAN resides in the Fortran library. The following Fortran name binding function simply appends an underscore to the textual name:
   -- contains various functions binding Fortran names for exotic
   -- architectures. "bind_name" should always call the appropriate
   -- function and FORTRAN_FUNC_BIND in CONFIG should be set to true
   bind_name(name:STR):STR is
      -- various Fortran mangling routines should be plugged in here
      res := append_underscore(name);
      return res;

   append_underscore(s:STR):STR is
      return s + "_";