Cross-compiling Crystal using Zig

Could Zig be used to link Crystal object files across platform (from a specific platform) in order to build executables in a cross-platform manner ?


Yes, Zig can be used as a tool to facilitate cross-platform linking and building of executables, including when working with Crystal object files. Zig’s cross-compilation capabilities are quite advanced and can be leveraged for various programming languages and environments.

To link Crystal object files across platforms using Zig, you would typically follow these steps:

  1. Compile Crystal Code: First, compile your Crystal code into object files for the target platform. This can be done using the Crystal compiler, specifying the target architecture and operating system if necessary.
  2. Set Up Zig Environment: Ensure that you have Zig installed and configured for cross-compilation. Zig’s standard library includes support for multiple architectures and operating systems, making it a powerful tool for this purpose.
  3. Link with Zig: Use Zig’s build command to link the Crystal object files. Zig allows you to specify the target architecture and operating system, handling the necessary cross-compilation steps. You can include the necessary libraries and specify linker options through Zig’s build system.
  4. Test and Debug: After building the executable, it’s important to test it on the target platform to ensure that everything is working correctly. Zig can also aid in debugging, especially when dealing with cross-platform issues.

A few points to keep in mind:

  • Dependencies: Ensure that all dependencies required by the Crystal code are available and compatible with the target platform.
  • Platform Specifics: Be aware of any platform-specific code or behavior in the Crystal application that might not translate well across different platforms.
  • Zig’s Capabilities: While Zig is very capable in cross-compilation, there may be specific cases or complex scenarios where additional configuration or tools are required.

This approach leverages Zig’s strengths in cross-compilation and linking, allowing you to build executables for different platforms from a single source. However, the specifics can vary based on the complexity of your project and the target platforms.

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Take a look at this thread: Does anyone deploy Crystal app on ARM based linux server? what is the deployment process like? , I remember watching some of the videos from @luislavena who successfully did that

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