ArkScript is a small, fast, functional and scripting language for C++ projects

starsStars 283
forksForks 25
watchersWatchers 283
current-versionCurrent version v3.0.14
total-releasesTotal releases 16
open_issues_countOpen issues 19
dateFirst release 2019-07-25
dateLatest release 2020-11-26
updateLast update 2020-12-22

Nota bene: the project is referred as "Ark" and as "ArkScript". The official public name is "ArkScript" since "Ark" is already being used by another language

Key features

ArkScript is

  • small: the compiler and the virtual machines fit under 8000 lines, but also small in terms of keywords (it has only 10)!
  • a scripting language: it's very easy to embed it in your application. The builtin construction is quite easy to understand, so adding your own functions to the virtual machine is effortless
  • portable: it produces a bytecode which is run by its virtual machine, like Java but without the OutOfMemoryException
  • a functional language: every parameter is passed by value, everything is immutable unless you use mut to define a mutable variable
  • powerful: it can handle object-oriented programming in a very elegant way with its closures and explicit captures (see examples/church-encoding)
  • promoting functionalities before performances: expressiveness often brings more productivity, but performances aren't bad at all
  • easy to compile: it takes less than 200ms to compile and check a complex code with a lot of branches and sub-branches of 200 lines.
  • a Lisp-like, but with fewer parentheses: [...] is expanded to (list ...) and {} to (begin ...). More shorthands will come in the future.
  • extensible: it is very easy to create a C++ module to use in the language

Also it has:

  • a REPL with autocompletion and coloration
  • a growing standard library, composed of ArkScript (under lib/std/) and C++ (under lib/ext/)
  • a lot of unit tests, which are ran before every release to ensure everything work as intended
  • docker images:


Fibonacci suite

(let fibo (fun (n)
    (if (< n 2)
        (+ (fibo (- n 1)) (fibo (- n 2))))))

(print (fibo 28))  # display 317811

More or less game

# more or less game
(print "More or less game!")

(import "random.arkm")
(import "Math/Arithmetic.ark")

(let number (mod (abs (random)) 10000))
(print number)
(mut value 0)
(mut tries 0)

(mut continue true)

(while continue {
    (set value (toNumber (input "Input a numeric value: ")))

    (if (< value number)
        # then
        (print "More!")
        # else
        (if (= value number)
            # then
            { (print "Bingo!") (set continue false) }
            # else
            (print "Less!")))

    (set tries (+ 1 tries))})

(print "You won in" tries "tries")

More examples are available in the folder examples/.


  • First, fork the repository
  • Then, clone your fork: git clone
  • Create a branch for your feature: git checkout -b feat-my-awesome-idea
  • When you're done, push it to your fork and submit a pull request!

Don't know what to work on? No worries, we have a 😉

Our beloved contributors

Who worked on

Contributing to the ArkScript standard library

See Coding guidelines if you want to write ArkScript for the library (see folder lib/std/).

For performance reasons, some functions might be written in C++, in include/Ark/Builtins/Builtins.hpp and src/Builtins/.

Code structure


  • C++17
  • CMake >= 3.12
  • Visual Studio >= 11 (on Windows)
  • On macOS versions prior to 10.15, libc++ lacks filesystem in the standard library.
    • Install a newer compiler using Homebrew: brew install gcc && brew link gcc
    • Pass compiler path to cmake in the build step: -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=/usr/local/bin/g++-9

Libs already included:


# first, clone it
~$ git clone --depth=50 --branch=dev
~/Ark$ cd Ark
~/Ark$ git submodule update --init --recursive
# building Ark
~/Ark$ cmake . -Bbuild -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DARK_BUILD_EXE=On
~/Ark$ cmake --build build --config Release
# installing Ark (might need administrative privileges)
~/Ark$ cmake --install build --config Release
# running
~/Ark$ ark --help
        ArkScript programming language

        ark -h
        ark -v
        ark --dev-info
        ark -e <expression>
        ark -c <file> [-d]
        ark -bcr <file>
        ark <file> [-d] [-L <lib_dir>] [-f(fac|no-fac)] [-f(ruv|no-ruv)]

        -h, --help                  Display this message
        -v, --version               Display ArkScript version and exit
        --dev-info                  Display development information and exit
        -e, --eval                  Evaluate ArkScript expression
        -c, --compile               Compile the given program to bytecode, but do not run
        -d, --debug...              Increase debug level (default: 0)
        -bcr, --bytecode-reader     Launch the bytecode reader
        -L, --lib                   Set the location of the ArkScript standard library   
        -f(fac|no-fac)              Toggle function arity checks (default: ON)
        -f(ruv|no-ruv)              Remove unused variables (default: ON)

        Mozilla Public License 2.0




You can find a snake created in ArkScript in the folder examples/games/snake (run it from there, otherwise it won't find the font and the sprites ; you won't need to install the SFML).

Controls are the arrows (left, right, up and down), the game closes itself when you successfully collect the 3 apples.

The donators

Huge thanks to those people for their donations to support the project:


This project was inspired by ofan lisp.cpp

Copyright and Licence information

Copyright (c) 2019-2020 Alexandre Plateau. All rights reserved.

This ArkScript distribution contains no GNU GPL code, which means it can be used in proprietary projects.