Modules

The sections below include information about the concept of modules.

A package is a collection of related modules that are versioned and distributed as a single unit. It is common in small projects to have only one module (default) in a package. As a result, the default module’s content is placed directly in the root of the package directory. However, as projects grow in complexity, the need arises to organize code better in terms of functionality and visibility. Therefore, Ballerina allows subdividing the code into multiple modules as well.

Module names can only contain alphanumerics, underscores, and periods and the maximum length is 256 characters. The value of the first identifier of the modules belonging to the same package will always be the package name.

<package-name>[.<module-directory-name>]

Module Layout

.
├── app.bal
├── utils.bal
├── tests/
│     ├── main_tests.bal
│     ├── utils_tests.bal
│     └── resources/
│           └── test_res.json
└── resources/
      └── app.png

.bal source files

The source files of a module are placed at the root of the module directory.

The .bal files in the directories except for the root directory of the module and tests/ directory are not considered as the sources of the package. These can be treated as standalone Ballerina files.

Module.md

The Module.md file provides a human-readable description of a module. When you visit a package in Ballerina Central, you should see all the exported modules of that package. This is the first page you will see when you navigate to an exported module of a package.

resources/ directory

The resources/ directory can be used to store all module resources such as images, default configs, etc.

tests/ directory

The tests/ directory contains unit tests of the module and they test the module in isolation. The module-level test cases have access to the symbols with module-level visibility.

The Default Module

In the package you created, the main.bal that got created at the root of the package directory belongs to the default module. Similarly, you can add more source files at the root.

Symbols such as functions and variables in one file are visible to other files because they are in the same namespace. This namespace is called the default module of the package. The package name, which is specified in the Ballerina.toml file is also the name of the default module.

Other Modules

The top-level modules/ directory contains all the other modules. Each immediate subdirectory of the modules/ directory becomes a Ballerina module and the subdirectory name becomes the module name. Therefore, the subdirectory name should be a valid Ballerina identifier.

The module names are derived by combining the package name and the directory name of the module. For example, if the package name given in Ballerina.toml is hello_world and the module directory name is util, then the module name will be hello_world.util.

You can add other modules using the bal add command:

bal add util
Added new Ballerina module at `modules/util`

This creates the modules directory in your package root. The modules/util directory is the module root of the hello_world.util module. Now, your package will have the directory structure below.

.
├── Ballerina.toml
├── main.bal
└── modules
     └── util
         └── util.bal

2 directories, 3 files

Exporting Modules

Ballerina provides a mechanism to control the visibility of modules outside of the package.

By default, only the default module of a package is exported. Other modules of the package are visible only to the modules in the same package.

If any module should be visible to other packages, the module must be marked as exported in the Ballerina.toml under the [package] table.