[swift-evolution] Proposal: Rewrite Swift compiler in swift to get ideas for further language evolution.

Colin Barrett colin at springsandstruts.com
Sat Dec 19 18:37:13 CST 2015

> On Dec 19, 2015, at 7:32 PM, Amir Michail <a.michail at me.com> wrote:
>> On Dec 19, 2015, at 7:21 PM, Colin Barrett <colin at springsandstruts.com> wrote:
>> I’d recommend you read http://tratt.net/laurie/blog/entries/the_bootstrapped_compiler_and_the_damage_done, which has a number of rebuttals to what you’ve said below.
> That’s an interesting article but it doesn’t address the issue of whether compiler code is more like normal programming than compiler standard library code.

Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean, but the article gives two good reasons why compiler code is special. The first reason is that we understand a lot about how to design a compiler, much more than we understand about how to design other types of programs. The second follows:

> [C]ompilers are an atypical class of program. In essence, a compiler is a simple batch pipeline process. A program is read in and translated to a tree; a series of tree transformations are applied; and eventually one of those trees is saved out as some sort of binary data (e.g. machine code or bytecode). Most of the intermediate tree transformations calculate a relatively simple bit of information about the program and create a slightly modified tree based on it. A few calculations crop up time and time again, such as: maps from variables to scopes or types; and stacks to determine closures. Significantly, and unlike most programs in the real world, there is no interaction with users: the compiler knows all it needs about the outside world from the moment it is called.

Personally, I think the main reason not to rewrite the Swift compiler is that it would be a distraction from improving the Swift language and other associated tools.


>>> On Dec 19, 2015, at 4:41 PM, Amir Michail via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>> Compiler code is probably more typical of what most programmers write than library code and so would be ideal for suggesting further language evolution ideas.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> swift-evolution mailing list
>>> swift-evolution at swift.org
>>> https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution

More information about the swift-evolution mailing list