Byte Compilation **************** Emacs Lisp has a "compiler" that translates functions written in Lisp into a special representation called "byte-code" that can be executed more efficiently. The compiler replaces Lisp function definitions with byte-code. When a byte-code function is called, its definition is evaluated by the "byte-code interpreter". Because the byte-compiled code is evaluated by the byte-code interpreter, instead of being executed directly by the machine's hardware (as true compiled code is), byte-code is completely transportable from machine to machine without recompilation. It is not, however, as fast as true compiled code. Compiling a Lisp file with the Emacs byte compiler always reads the file as multibyte text, even if Emacs was started with `--unibyte', unless the file specifies otherwise. This is so that compilation gives results compatible with running the same file without compilation. Note: Loading Non-ASCII. In general, any version of Emacs can run byte-compiled code produced by recent earlier versions of Emacs, but the reverse is not true. A major incompatible change was introduced in Emacs version 19.29, and files compiled with versions since that one will definitely not run in earlier versions unless you specify a special option. In addition, the modifier bits in keyboard characters were renumbered in Emacs 19.29; as a result, files compiled in versions before 19.29 will not work in subsequent versions if they contain character constants with modifier bits. Note: Compilation Errors, for how to investigate errors occurring in byte compilation.
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