Using Derelict

After you have built Derelict, you are ready to start using it in your applications. As with using any D library, this requires importing the modules you need and linking with the relevant library files.


In order to import a Derelict module, you need to make sure that either the Derelict source or the D Interface files (which are generated during the build process) are on your import path. In the original version of Derelict, it was necessary either to add multiple paths to your import path for each package you used or to copy the Derelict source for the packages you used into a different directory, consolidating everything in a single import hierarchy. This could be annoying.

Derelict2 improves on this situation by generating D Interface files during the build process and outputting them into an import-friendly hierarchy. By default, this is in the $(DERELICT)/import directory. Then, when building your application, you can simply add this directory's path to your compiler's command line. With DMD and LDC, this means using the -I command line option. You might instead add the path to your compiler's configuration file, such as DMD's sc.ini.

It is also possible to configure Derelict's build system to output the D Interface files in a different location. Open the platform-specific config file in $(DERELICT)/inc and edit the IMPORT_DEST variable to the desired path. The D Interface files will be output to this directory and you can add it to your compiler's import path.

See the package-specific documentation for the specific package and module names to use in your import statements.


In order for your Derelict application to compile successfully, it needs to be linked with the libraries for every Derelict binding you use. Addtionally, all Derelict bindings have a dependency on the DerelictUtil package, so you will always need to additionally link DerelictUtil.lib (on Windows) or libDerelictUtil.a (on Posix platforms) with your application.

By default, all Derelict libraries are output to $(DERELICT)/lib during the build process. As with the D Interface files described above, this output path can be configured. Look in the platform-specific config file in $(DERELICT)/inc and edit the LIB_DEST variable to the desired path. See your compiler's documentation for information on how to set its library search path and how to tell it which libraries to link with.

See the package-specific documentation for the names of each bindings library.


All Derelict bindings provide a loader that is used to load a shared library and its symbols into memory. You can load and unload shared libraries as needed, and can even tell Derelict to ignore errors if certain symbols you don't need are missing. This is all done through a standard interface across each Derelict package, with special additions where necessary.

The load Method

All Derelict loaders derive from the class SharedLibLoader, which can be found in the module derelict.util.loader. This means that they all provide the same basic interface. In order to activate a Derelict binding, you simply call the load method on that binding's loader. The following example uses DerelictAL to demonstrate.


void main()

This causes the DerelictAL loader to attempt to load the OpenAL shared library. Internally, each binding contains a platform-specific list of one or more possible shared library names. The loader attempts to load the shared library using each name in turn until it is successful. It is possible to override the default and provide one or more specific shared library names yourself. Pass a single string to the load method, where each shared library name is separated by a comma. Whitespace after commas is permitted. The following example uses DerelictAL and DerelictGL to show how to load shared libraries using both single and multiple names. It also takes into account different platform naming conventions.


void main()
        string alLibs = "MyAL1.dll, MyAL2.dll";
        string glLibs = "MyGL.dll";
        string alLibs = ",";
        string glLibs = "";

Each operating system has a default shared library search path. Usually, the first path searched is the path of the executable. If you are shipping shared libraries with your application and keep them in the executable directory, you do not need to specify the shared library name unless it is different from one of the default names the loaded knows about. However, if you keep the shared libraries in a subdirectory, you will need to specify the shared library name along with the relative path. So, for example, if you have the shared library MyAL.dll in a lib subdirectory, you would do DerelictAL.load("lib/MyAL.dll"). This overloads both Derelict's default name list and the operating system's default search path -- no attempt will be made to load any other shared library names from any other locations.

Note that these examples do not import any modules from DerelictUtil. Each loader uses DerelictUtil modules internally, but you do not have to import any of them unless you need any of the DerelictUtil functionality yourself. But you still need to link your executable with the DerelictUtil library.


The module derelict.util.exception defines two exceptions that may be thrown from the load method: SharedLibLoadException and SymbolLoadException. Both of these derive from the base class DerelictException, so you can simply catch that if you want. But it is recommended that you catch the two derived exceptions so that you can report a more accurate message to the end user.

SharedLibLoadException is thrown when an attempt to load an OS-specific handle to a shared library fails. This normally means that the library could not be found on any of the default OS library search paths. In otherwords, either the library is not available on the user's system or it is in a non-standard location. Some of the libraries to which Derelict binds are universally installed on some operating systems, but others are not. In the latter case, it's best to ship the shared library file with your executable.

SymbolLoadException is thrown when a function cannot be found in a shared library. This usually indicates one of two things. First, it's possible that the Derelict binding was created against a more recent version of the library than that which is present on the system. If the newer version adds functions to the publicly exported API, they won't be present in shared libraries compiled from older versions, causing this exception to be thrown. This generally won't happen if you ship the shared library with your application, but when relying on shared libraries installed on the user's system it is a real possibility. However, if you aren't intending to use the newer functionality, this case is recoverable if you take steps beforehand (see below). The second possibility is that the shared library is somehow corrupt, in which case you likely aren't going to be able to recover.

In some specific cases, it can be desriable to ignore the SymbolLoadException for certain symbols. For example, there are some functions in SDL that did not exist in previous versions. If you aren't using these newer functions, it is possible to use an older version of the library that doesn't provide them. It would be silly to abort execution because functions you aren't using aren't available. Unfortunately, once the Derelict loader throws this exception, all loading of a shared library is halted. To get around this, Derelict provides a mechanism dubbed Selective Symbol Loading. This allows you to instruct the Derelict loader to ignore certain missing functions and continue loading instead of throwing an exception. You can read all about it in the Selective Symbol Loading documentation (TODO).