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When you compile libraryX you generate a compilation result (bytecode, assembler, or maybe just a distillation of the source).
Radical idea: don't store compilation results in the library. Only store sources. That is, the collection of sources *is* the library. Using a library is then "just" the compilation on the fly of what is needed.
Then the whole "out of date" issue just goes away. The whole external macro representation issue goes away too.
Question: can this done efficiently enough to make the libraries useable in practice?
The Gnu Ada system has essentially this approach, and it works well enough, but Ada does have the advantage (for library implementors at least) that there is a separation of "interfaces" from "implementation" files so compiling interfaces on the fly is radically cheaper then compiling entire implementations on the fly.
-- Cheers, Ray Blaak blaak@xxxxxxxxxxxx