Neko Starter's Guide

So you want to learn about Neko? Here is a step-by-step guide to making and running your first Neko program. Before you start, please choose a distribution, download it, and get ready to install it. But first, you should know that the pronunciation of "Neko" is n[e]ko and not n[i]ko.


Decompress the archive and put it into the folder you want :

  • on Windows, you can use c:\neko
  • on Mac, Linux, and other Unix systems, use a temp folder and we will move the files to appropriate locations in the next step

The archive contains :

  • neko : the virtual machine boot binary
  •* (neko.dll + neko.lib on Windows) : the NekoVM library
  • nekoc : the command-line Neko compiler
  • nekoml : the command-line NekoML compiler
  • nekoml.std : the NekoML standard library
  • nekotools : neko utilities (including dev web server)
  • several .ndll files : the Neko standard libraries
  • gc.dll (on Windows only) : the garbage collector used by Neko
  • include/ : this directory contains the .H files needed for embedding and extending the VM
  • LICENCE and CHANGES : some text documents


You have to setup a few things :

  • On Windows : Add the c:\neko directory to your PATH environment variable. Here are instructions for Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

  • On Mac, Linux, and other Unix systems : Put neko, nekoc, nekoml, and nekotools in /usr/local/bin. Put* files in /usr/local/lib. Put *.ndll and nekoml.std in /usr/local/lib/neko. Put the include/*.h files in /usr/local/include. On Linux, you may have to run sudo ldconfig and sudo ldconfig /usr/local/lib to refresh the library cache.

Once this is done you should be able to run the neko command from any directory. Please check that neko is working. (On Windows you can you can open a command terminal using Start / Run.. and entering cmd then OK).

You should now be able to run the test : execute neko -version and it should print something like 2.2.0. Now you can start using Neko.

Compiling from Sources

Compiling Neko directly from sources is a little more difficult. See for additional instructions.

Hello World

You can now start creating your first program hello.neko :

$print("hello neko world !\n");

Compile your hello.neko file into a hello.n file using the Neko command-line compiler by calling nekoc hello.neko. If you didn't make any syntax errors, this will produce a hello.n file containing the compiled bytecode of your sources.

You can now run this bytecode "module" by calling neko hello. This should print the usual funny string to the standard output.

From here...

From here on, you're no longer a beginner so you can start reading the other documents.


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