A compiler is a computer program that transforms source code written in one programming language into another computer language.

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How to write a very basic compiler

Advanced compilers like gcc compile codes into machine readable files according to the language in which the code has been written (e.g. C, C++, etc). In fact, they interpret the meaning of each codes ...
18
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5answers
4k views

When does it make sense to compile my own language to C code first?

When designing an own programming language, when does it make sense to write a converter that takes the source code and converts it to C or C++ code so that I can use an existing compiler like gcc to ...
19
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5answers
7k views

Interpreted vs Compiled: A useful distinction?

A lot of questions get asked here about interpreted vs compiled language implements. I'm wondering whether the distinction actually makes any sense. (Actually the questions are usually about ...
9
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8answers
2k views

Why are self-hosting compilers considered a rite of passage for new languages?

I've heard in a number of places now that people expect languages to use, or at least have, a self-hosting compiler in order to deserve respect. I'm curious as to why this is. A compiler seems like a ...
39
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3answers
15k views

How could the first C++ compiler be written in C++?

Stroustrup claims that Cfront, the first C++ compiler, was written in C++ (Stroustrup FAQ). However, how is it even possible that the first C++ compiler be written in C++? The code that makes up the ...
0
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6answers
1k views

Why languages that compile to C/C++ generate unreadable, cryptic code? [closed]

I'm willing to compile certain language to C or C++ for some speedups. My idea was, though, to generate readable code and use structures such std::vector and similar wherever I can, expecting CLANG to ...
117
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10answers
32k views

Is Ken Thompson's compiler hack still a threat?

Ken Thompson Hack (1984) Ken Thompson outlined a method for corrupting a compiler binary (and other compiled software, like a login script on a *nix system) in 1984. I was curious to know if modern ...
1
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3answers
2k views

Compiler/OS Design - Where to start [closed]

I have a fairly strong background in C and Assembly and I am starting to look into basic compiler and operating systems design, but my biggest problem is where I should really start, seeing as both ...
50
votes
9answers
27k views

Are Intel compilers really better than the Microsoft ones? [closed]

Years ago, I was surprised when I discovered that Intel sells Visual Studio compatible compilers. I tried it in particular for C/C++ as well as fantastic diagnostic tools. But the code was simply not ...
35
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5answers
44k views

Is Python Interpreted or Compiled?

This is just a wondering I had while reading about interpreted and compiled languages. Ruby is no doubt an interpreted language, since source code is compiled by an interpreter at the point of ...
17
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5answers
8k views

What is the history of the C compiler?

When we say that "Dennis Ritchie developed C language", do we mean that he has created a compiler (using an 'already' developed other language) which can compile the source code written in C language? ...
10
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6answers
6k views

Is there a language that transcompiles to C with a better syntax? [closed]

CoffeeScript is a language with a very clean Ruby-like syntax that transcompiles to JavaScript. Does the same thing exists with C? Then writing more readable and as fast as original C programs would ...
4
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6answers
984 views

Should I use a source-to-source or a traditional compiler in order to develop my own Programming Language?

I'm really interested in writing my own general-purpose high-level programming language, but I'm somewhat confused. I know that Python and Ruby were written in C, which makes me wonder that if I want ...
8
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3answers
792 views

What are the challenges related to typing in writing a compiler for a dynamically typed language?

In this talk, Guido van Rossum is talking (27:30) about attempts to write a compiler for Python code, commenting on it saying: turns out it's not so easy to write a compiler that maintains all the ...
11
votes
2answers
535 views

How easy should a language development framework be to use?

This is part of a series of questions which focuses on a project called the Abstraction Project, which aims to abstract the concepts used in language design in the form of a framework. Another ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How is it possible to write the compiler of a programming language with that language itself [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How could the first C++ compiler be written in C++? You probably heard that Microsoft released a new language called TypeScript which is a the typed superset of ...
60
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5answers
13k views

Why are there so few C compilers?

C is one of the most widely-used languages in the world. It accounts for a huge proportion of existing code and continues to be used for a vast amount of new code. It's beloved by its users, it's so ...
51
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19answers
6k views

How come compilers are so reliable?

We use compilers on a daily basis as if their correctness is a given, but compilers are programs too, and can potentially contain bugs. I always wondered about this infallible robustness. Have you ...
3
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3answers
290 views

Which components/phases of a JIT compiler are different from a traditional ahead of time compiler?

Besides a faster register allocation algorithm and some trade-off in control and data-flow analysis for optimization purposes, which components/phases of a JIT compiler are different from a ...
3
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1answer
5k views

Understanding Application binary interface (ABI)

I am trying to understand the concept of Application binary interface (ABI). From The Linux Kernel Primer: An ABI is a set of conventions that allows a linker to combine separately compiled ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Can and do compilers convert recursive logic to equivalent non-recursive logic?

I've been learning F# and it's starting to influence how I think when I'm programming C#. To that end, I have been using recursion when I feel the result improves readability and I can't envision it ...
12
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12answers
2k views

Are there any compilers that attempt to fix syntax errors on their own? [closed]

I heard a while back that there used to be a compiler that attempted to fix syntax errors by analyzing context and inferring what was intended. Does such a compiler really exist? Obviously it has ...
10
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9answers
984 views

Compiler Warnings

Many compilers have warning messages to warn the programmers about potential runtime, logic and performance errors, most times, you quickly fix them, but what about unfixable warnings? How do you ...
7
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6answers
2k views

What is the advantage of learning about and understanding compiler construction?

I'm a undergraduate in my 3rd year of a Software Engineering degree. From this year on, my university has introduced a new course called 'Compiler Constructions', which teaches you the basics of the ...
6
votes
2answers
207 views

What is the minimum practical definition for the Scheme language?

What is the smallest practical set of primitives that can be used to define the Scheme language? For example, map can be defined as (define (map proc lis) (cond ((null? lis) '()) ...
6
votes
4answers
869 views

Why don't compilers support non-English keywords? [closed]

When you read C, C#, Java, Python, PHP and many other programming languages all the syntax is written in English. Simple code like this if (X+1 > 4) { } while (A == true) { } Is written in ...
11
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3answers
787 views

How is type checked in a dynamic language interpreter/compiler, such as JavaScript?

In dynamic languages, such as JavaScript or Python, the type of a variable is determined at runtime. This is one reason why they are slower than typed languages such as Java. How is type checking ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Why does Python need both a compiler and an interpreter?

I can understand the fact that Java needs both a compiler and an interpreter. It compiles source code to bytecode and then a virtual machine (on Windows, on Linux, on Android, etc.) translates that ...
0
votes
2answers
936 views

embedding programming languages into other languages [duplicate]

In C/C++, there is a keyword that allows you to enter assembly language directly into a method. Example int Main() { __asm // notify the compiler that this block is assembly language. { ...
64
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11answers
9k views

Why is software OS specific?

I'm trying to determine the technical details of why software produced using programming languages for certain operating systems only work with them. It is my understanding that binaries are specific ...
15
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1answer
2k views

Are there any podcasts (not lectures) about compiler development?

There are several podcasts with lectures from universities. I am looking for "other" podcasts. So are there any non-lecture podcasts about compiler development?
36
votes
6answers
23k views

Why does Facebook convert PHP code to C++? [closed]

I read that Facebook started out in PHP, and then to gain speed, they now compile PHP as C++ code. If that's the case why don't they: Just program in c++? Surely there must be SOME errors/bugs when ...
20
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5answers
6k views

Are C++ templates just a kind of glorified macros?

From different comparisons among C++ templates and C#/Java generics like this one- ...
13
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9answers
5k views

Career advice: PhD in theory of programming languages [closed]

I'm very interested in the theories of programming languages and going to apply a PhD in this topic, but I want to know more about the career after the graduate education. besides being a professor, ...
10
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3answers
1k views

Writing a Compiler Compiler - Insight on Use and Features

This is part of a series of questions which focuses on the sister project to the Abstraction Project, which aims to abstract the concepts used in language design in the form of a framework. The ...
10
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4answers
16k views

Writing a lexer in C++

What are good resources on how to write a lexer in C++ (books, tutorials, documents), what are some good techniques and practices? I have looked on the internet and everyone says to use a lexer ...
7
votes
9answers
4k views

Why are virtual machines required?

Instead of compiling the source code for the respective OS (on which it is targeted), you compile once and run everywhere. For the sake of this question, I would call it VM (for example, both for ...
3
votes
2answers
40k views

How Does A Compiler Work? [closed]

Note: I am surprised that this hasn't been asked before, and if it has I could not find it in a search. I've been on tons of websites, I've read tons of articles, and I have heard tons of ...
27
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10answers
3k views

Can compilers and interpreters have bugs, and what can we (as users) do to deal with them? [closed]

If a compiler's work is essentially translating source code into machine level code, can there be any glitch in a compiler, i.e. a faulty "translation?" The same goes for an interpreter: can it fail ...
12
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1answer
773 views

Disadvantages of functional intermediate form

I'm writing an optimizer for a language similar to JavaScript, and need to choose an intermediate code representation. The obvious/typical choice these days is Static Single Assignment (SSA). ...
24
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2answers
9k views

What is ASM.js and what does it mean for everyone?

I'm starting to hear rumblings about this project called ASM.js. Currently their web site is terrible and confusing. Here's what I know from my research on the web. It is a subset of JavaScript that ...
7
votes
1answer
449 views

How to use BDD to unit test a compiler?

My team is writing a compiler for a domain-specific language (DSL) which will be integrated into an IDE. Right now, we are focused on the analysis phase of the compiler. We are not using any existing ...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

How do we go from assembly to machine code(code generation) [closed]

I know this is abstract as it's all about signals and switch - (electronics) - underneath, but is there a easy way to visualize the step between assembling code to machine code. For example if you ...
7
votes
6answers
772 views

What is the industry definition of an interpreter (as opposed to a compiler)?

In my compiler design courses, I have learned about and worked with a clear academic definition of an interpreter and a compiler, with an interpreter being a program Pi from a language M capable ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How does Python compile some its code in C?

I read that some constructs of Python are more efficient because they are compiled in C. https://wiki.python.org/moin/PythonSpeed/PerformanceTips Some of the examples used were map() and filter(). I ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

What would be the best way to learn about compilers, and executable formats? [duplicate]

I want to write my own compiler for my own language. Yes, it's going to be hard, and it will take long, but I think it will be worth it. I have looked into OSDev.org, and read about executable ...
13
votes
3answers
597 views

How compilers know about other classes and their properties?

I'm writing my first programming language that is object orientated and so far so good with create a single 'class'. But, let's say I want to have to classes, say ClassA and ClassB. Provided these ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Are (C) object files created with different compilers binary-compatible?

I understand that C++ compilers are not compatible with each other. However, I was unable to find anything on this topic for C in particular. I know that the C standard leaves a lot of room for ...
3
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3answers
2k views

How does Chrome V8 work? And why was JavaScript not JIT-Compiled in the first place?

I have been researching Interpreters/Compilers, then I stumbled across JIT-Compilation - specifically Google Chrome's V8 Javascript Engine. My questions are - How can it be faster than standard ...
-1
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1answer
527 views

Why are language features more popular than compiler design? [closed]

If we had a universal interpreter for all available features of programming languages we could use a specializer to generate compilers for all languages. We could simply use any language as source (or ...