This is a mirror of official site:

Want to Write a Compiler? Just Read These Two Papers.

| Sunday, August 28, 2011
Imagine you don't know anything about programming, and you want learn how to do it. You take a look at, and there's a highly recommended set of books by Knute or something with a promising title, The Art of Computer Programming, so you buy them. Now imagine that it's more than just a poor choice, but that all the books on programming are at written at that level.

That's the situation with books about writing compilers.

It's not that they're bad books, they're just too broadly scoped, and the authors present so much information that it's hard to know where to begin. Some books are better than others, but there are still the thick chapters about converting regular expressions into executable state machines and different types of grammars and so on. After slogging through it all you will have undoubtedly expanded your knowledge, but you're no closer to actually writing a working compiler.

Not surprisingly, the opaqueness of these books has led to the myth that compilers are hard to write.

The best source for breaking this myth is Jack Crenshaw's series, Let's Build a Compiler!, which started in 1988. This is one of those gems of technical writing where what's assumed to be a complex topic ends up being suitable for a first year programming class. He focuses on compilers of the Turbo Pascal class: single pass, parsing and code generation are intermingled, and only the most basic of optimizations are applied to the resulting code. The original tutorials used Pascal as the implementation language, but there's a C version out there, too. If you're truly adventurous, Marcel Hendrix has done a Forth translation (and as Forth is an interactive language, it's easier to experiment with and understand than the C or Pascal sources).

Read more: Programming in the 21st Century
QR: 30.html

Posted via email from Jasper-net