Welcome to the RaESL usage documentation! This page covers the rudiments of how to compile an ESL specification and convert it into an ragraph.graph.Graph object for further processing.

Usage of the raesl.plot module for generating graphical views from ESL specifications and the raesl.doc module for converting ESL specifications into PDF documents is discussed in the following documentation sections:

Command-Line Interface#

Most RaESL functionality is included in it’s command line interface (CLI), which is available in your terminal after installation. Suppose you have an ESL specification in a file named specification.esl. You would then be able to compile it using:

raesl compile specification.esl

Simple as that! If the compiler doesn’t find any errors, it will stay silent. For usage from a Python script, please refer to the sections below.

For more info on the (sub-)commands supplied by RaESL, you can type raesl --help in your terminal. You can use it for any of the following:

  • raesl compile: Compiling ESL specification files or directories (optionally generating Graph output).

  • raesl doc: Converting ESL specification files or directories into a PDF or formatted document.

  • raesl excel: Converting ESL specification files or directories into an Excel workbook.

  • raesl jupyter: Managing the RaESL Jupyter kernel.

  • raesl serve: Starting the RaESL language server to support editors.

  • raesl version: Display the installed RaESL version.

Command specific help is also available, which results in:

raesl compile --help

Compiling ESL specifications#

Compiling an ESL specification from a Python script can be done in one of two ways. If it is the dependency Graph you’re after, the best way to obtain it is using RaGraph’s I/O module:

>>> from import from_esl
>>> graph = from_esl(path_to_esl_file)  # (e.g. "specification.esl")

which used the from_esl method.

The second method is a little more elaborate and provides you with additional objects to explore from the RaESL compile module itself:

>>> from raesl.compile.cli import run
>>> diag_store, spec, graph = run(path_to_esl_file)  # (e.g. "specification.esl")

which returns three variables: diag_store which is an DiagnosticStore object that contains all diagnostics information such as warnings and errors; spec which is an Specification object that contains the specified type, verb, relation and component definitions; and graph which is an Graph object that contains all nodes and edges that have been derived from the compiled specification.

Multi-file input#

As your specification grows, it might be beneficial to split it into multiple files. The compiler can handle this without any problem! The ESL compiler will walk through the (component) instantiation tree starting at the world definition and collect and instantiate the required definitions from your provided ESL files. Hence, the list of provided ESL files should only contain a single world definition.

Suppose your ESL files are all in one directory, you would then be able to obtain the Graph like so:

>>> from import from_esl
>>> graph = from_esl(path_to_esl_dir)  # (e.g. "./specification")

You can also supply any number of file and directory path arguments to the from_esl and run methods and they will be used to discover all available ESL files:

>>> from import from_esl
>>> graph = from_esl(path_to_esl_dir, path_to_esl_file)  # (e.g. "specification/", "extra-file.esl")


As a rule of thumb we advice to create a separate ESL file for each component definition. This limits the size of individual ESL files which benefits clarity.

Multiple use-cases / scenarios#

At some point, you might want to investigate multiple use-cases or scenarios that have quite some definitions in common. As an example, you could organize your files like this:

├── scenarios
│   ├── scenario1.esl
│   └── scenario2.esl
└── definitions
    ├── types.esl
    ├── user.esl
    ├── component1.esl
    ├── component2.esl
    └── component3.esl

Where you organize your scenarios (i.e. world definitions) into a separate folder. You can then compile this specification by specifying the scenario file and definitions directory. Lets assume that in scenario1, we supply something to a user component using a system comprised of component1 and in scenario2 we do this using component2 and component3. If we didn’t make any syntax errors, the compiler will then be able to compile both scenarios without any problems using:

raesl compile ./definitions ./scenarios/scenario1.esl

or from Python:

from import from_esl
graph = from_esl("./definitions", "./scenarios/scenario1.esl")

This way, you don’t need to duplicate anything that is present in both scenarios! Types, relations, common components: they are all (re-)used automatically.