bindbc-loader 1.0.3

Cross-platform shared library loader usable with BetterC.

To use this package, run the following command in your project's root directory:

Manual usage
Put the following dependency into your project's dependences section:


This project contains the cross-platform shared library loading API used by the BindBC packages in their dynamic binding configurations. It is compatible with -betterC, nothrow, and @nogc, and intended as a replacement for DerelictUtil, which provides no such compatibility.

Each BindBC package implements its own public load function which calls into the bindbc-loader API to load the C shared library to which the package binds. Packages compiled in their static binding configuration do not use bindbc-loader, as client aplilcations are required to be linked with the shared or static version of the C library in that scenario. bindbc-loader is only for dynamic bindings, which have no link-time dependency on a bound library.

Users of packages dependent on bindbc-loader need not be concerned with its configuration or the loader API. For such users, only the error handling API is of relevance. Anyone implementing a shared library loader on top of bindbc-loader should be familiar with the entire API and its configuration. Since error handling will be of concern to most users, it is covered first.

Error handling

bindbc-loader does not use exceptions. This decision was made for easier maintenance of the -betterC compatibility and to provide a common API between both configurations. An application using a dependent package can check for errors consistently when compiling with and without -betterC.

There is one function of primary relevance to end users of dependent libraries: errors. The functions errorCount and resetErrors may also sometimes prove useful. All three are found in the bindbc.loader.sharedlib module.

Errors are generated in two cases: when a shared library file fails to load and when a symbol in the library fails to load. Multiple errors can be generated in each case, as attempts may be made to load a shared library from multiple paths, and failure to load one symbol does not abort the load.

The load function for each binding in the official BindBC group of bindings will return the values noLibrary when the file fails to load and badLibrary when an expected symbol fails to load. These values belong to a binding-specific enum namespace, e.g. SDLSupport.noLibrary and SDLSupport.badLibrary in bindbc-sdl. A successful load is indicated by another value from the same namespace indicating the version of the library that was loaded, which should generally equate to a the version the binding was configured at compile time to load. Please read the READEME for each BindBC binding to use for the specifics and any special cases.

The function bindbc.loader.sharedlib.errors returns an array of ErrorInfo instances. This is a struct that has two properties:

  • error - if the error is the result of a library load failure, this is the name of the library; otherwise it is the string "Missing Symbol".
  • message - in the case of a library load failure, this contains a system-specific error message; otherwise it contains the name of the symbol that failed to load.

Here is an example of what error handling might look like when loading the SDL library with bindbc-sdl:

// Import the dependent package
import bindbc.sdl;

 Import the sharedlib module for error handling. Assigning an alias ensures the function names do not conflict with
 other public APIs. This isn't strictly necessary, but the API names are common enough that they could appear in other
import loader = bindbc.loader.sharedlib;

bool loadLib() {
     Compare the return value of loadSDL with the global `sdlSupport` constant, which is configured at compile time for
     a specific version of SDL.
    auto ret = loadSDL();
    if(ret != sdlSupport) {
        // Log the error info
        foreach(info; loader.errors) {
             A hypothetical logging function. Note that `info.error` and `info.message` are `const(char)*`, not
            logError(info.error, info.message);

        // Optionally construct a user-friendly error message for the user
        string msg;
        if(ret == SDLSupport.noLibrary) {
            msg = "This application requires the SDL library.";
        } else {
            msg = "The version of the SDL library on your system is too low. Please upgrade."
        // A hypothetical message box function
        return false;
    return true;

errorCount returns the number length of array returned by errors. This might prove useful as a shortcut when loading multiple libraries:

if(loader.errorCount > 0) {
    // Log the errors

resetErrors is available to enable alternate approaches to error handling. This clears the ErrorInfo array and resets the error count to 0.

Sometimes, failure to load one library may not be a reason to abort the program. Perhaps an alternate library can be used, or the functionality enabled by that library can be disabled. For such scenarios, it can be convenient to keep the error count specific to each library:

if(loadSDL != sdlSupport) {
    // Log errors

    // Attempt to load glfw instead, but start with a clean slate.
    if(loadGLFW() != glfwSupport) {
        // Log errors and abort


bindbc-loader is not configured to compile with -betterC compatibility by default. Users of packages dependent on bindbc-loader should not attempt to configure bindbc-loader directly. Those packages will have their own configuration options that will select the appropriate loader configuration.

Implementors of bindings using bindbc-loader can make use of two configurations: nobc and yesbc. The former, which does not enable -betterC, is the default. The latter enables -betterC. Binding implementors typically will provide four configuration options: two for static bindings (nobc and yesbc versions) and two for dynamic bindings (nobc and yesbc versions).

Anyone using multiple BindBC packages must ensure that they are all configured with the same -betterC option. Configuring one BindBC package to use the nobc configuration and another to use the yesbc configuration will cause conflicting versions of bindbc-loader to be compiled, resulting either in compiler or linker errors.

Default Windows search path

Sometimes, it is desirable to place shared libraries in a subdirectory of the application. This is particularly common on Windows. Normally, any DLLs in a subdirectory can be loaded by prepending the subdirectory to the DLL name and passing that name to the appropriate load function (e.g., loadSDL("dlls\\SDL2.dll")). This is fine if the DLL has no dependency on any other DLLs, or if its dependencies are somewhere on the default DLL search path. If, however, its dependencies are also in the same subdirectory, then the DLL will fail to load---the system loader will be looking for the dependencies on the default DLL search path.

As a remedy, bindbc-loader exposes the setCustomLoaderSearchPath function on Windows only (other systems expose no API to programmatically modify the shared library search path). To use it, call it prior to loading any DLLs and provide as the sole argument the path where the DLLs reside. Once this function is called, then the default load* functions may be called with no arguments as long as the DLL names have not been changed from the default.

An example with bindbc-sdl:

import bindbc.loader,

// Assume the DLLs are stored in the "dlls" subdirectory
version(Windows) setCustomLoaderSearchPath("dlls");

if(loadSDL() < sdlSupport) { /* handle error */ }
if(loadSDL_Image() < sdlImageSupport) { /* handle error */ }

// Give SDL_image a change to load libpng and libjpeg
auto flags = IMG_INIT_PNG | IMG_INIT_JPEG;
if(IMG_Init(flags) != flags) { /* handle error */ }

// Now reset the default loader search path
version(Windows) setCustomLoaderSearchPath(null);

If the DLL name has beem changed to something the loader does not recognize, e.g., "MySDL.dll", then it will still need to be passed to the load function, e.g., loadSDL("MySDL.dll").

Please note that it is up to the programmer to ensure the path is valid. Generally, using a relative path like "dlls" or ".\\dlls" is unreliable, as the program may be started in directory that is different from the application directory. It is up to the programmer to ensure that the path is valid. The loader makes no attempt to fetch the current working directory or validate the path.

For details on how this function affects the system DLL search path, see the documentation of the Win32 API function SetDllDirectoryW

  • Aya Partridge
  • Mike Parker
1.1.5 2024-Mar-01
1.1.4 2024-Jan-22
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1.1.2 2023-Jul-17
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