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[tlug] Building a compiler from scratch

As I was finalising the front end of my compiler yesterday, I was a little late to the party at last night's bonenkai. Some folks expressed interest in it so I am going to post the links to the repo

and its wiki (with build and test instructions)

On Linux, BSD and OSX this will build out of the box, but for DOS/Windows a module that contains OS specific functionality (fileutils.c) has yet to be done.

Alberto and I discussed an idea to do a technical meeting early next year in form of a workshop along the lines of "how to build a compiler from scratch". I should be able to complete the back end within the next 4-6 weeks.

Needless to say, when you write a compiler you need visibility of what is going on that goes beyond that which compilers spit out as output or informational messages even with their most verbose settings. Compiler authors provide this visibility for their own use but not usually to their users. But in this case we will have all that visibility available.

The code is written in C and the back end will generate C, but even to those who don't do C it should be easy to read and understand as it is written in a descriptive Pascal-like style and is well documented.

However, I believe such workshop would require more time than the usual TLUG presentation. I suggested a two-part presentation of 2 x 90 minutes or maybe 4 x 45 minutes with a break in between. Alberto then came up with the idea of a two-day event, but I am not sure how many TLUGers would be willing to attend a two-day event. Yet, a two-day event would open up possibilities not otherwise available, for example there could be coding sessions where attendees can make modifications to the compiler for certain effects or outcomes.

Anyway, if you are interested, feel free to get the code and play with it and for the idea on a compiler workshop, please tell if that would be of interest and in what kind of format.


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