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'[PIC] How to write my own compiler? Where to fin'
2002\10\12@224134 by Joseph Thorman

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Hello all,

Does anyone know where I can find information on how to where my own
compiler?

Thanks, Joseph Thorman

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2002\10\12@231101 by Russell McMahon

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> Does anyone know where I can find information on how to where my own
> compiler?

The answer is Google.
Now, what was the question.
ALWAYS try Google first

I searched on "compiler writing"
Here's an excellent start (number 4 out of 4200)

       http://www.iit.edu/~tc/compwritingsys.htm

From the same site, here's some tools

     http://www.iit.edu/~tc/toolsfor.htm

And this also looks like exactly what you want

       http://compilers.iecc.com/crenshaw/

It says -         Let's Build a Compiler, by Jack Crenshaw
This fifteen-part series, written from 1988 to 1995, is a non-technical
introduction to compiler construction. You can read the parts on-line or
download them in a ZIP file.
Read the tutorial on-line

I'm sure the other 4000+ strikes will also have some worthwhile tips.

All that said, why do you want to write a compiler? What's your target
processor(s). What language(s) do you wish the result to look (something)
like. . It can be fun and it may be useful but there are many good reasons
not to as well, depending on what you are trying to achieve.



           Russell McMahon

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2002\10\12@231105 by Russell McMahon

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> Does anyone know where I can find information on how to where my own
> compiler?


You also really want to know about

       http://compilers.iecc.com/index.html


The comp.compilers newsgroup
Comp.compilers is a moderated usenet news group addressing the topics of
compilers in particular and programming language design and implementation
in general. It started in 1986 as a moderated mailing list, but interest
quickly grew to the point where it was promoted to a news group. Recent
topics have included optimization techniques, language design issues,
announcements of new compiler tools, and book reviews.

Messages come from a wide variety of people ranging from undergraduate
students to well-known experts in industry and academia. Authors live all
over the world -- there are regular messages from the U.S, Canada, Europe,
Australia, and Japan, with occasional ones from as far away as Malaysia. The
estimated total readership is over 100,000, which makes it by far the most
widely read medium on the topic in the world.

Full text search for articles
Monthly index of articles
Fetch articles by ID number
The comp.compilers FAQ
Other regularly posted material including directories of compiler tools
File archive
Jack Crenshaw's Let's Write a Compiler   <===== as per my last post

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2002\10\13@055758 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Does anyone know where I can find information on how to where my own
> compiler?

(question also asked on the jallist, with 'write' instead of 'where')

There is lots of info on writing compiler available on the web, just
google, read it all (I am serious) and draw your own conclusions.
http://compilers.iecc.com/crenshaw/ is a good starting point.

As for books, the classical answer is 'read the dragon' (Aho et al), but
I prefer fraser/hanson.

And realise what you are up to. A primitive compiler (generates PIC
code, but so much code that no one will use it) can be written in a few
K lines. An intermediate level compiler (like my Jal) takes 10..20 K
lines. A 'commercial strength' (whatever that means) compiler can take
anything from that number up to 100's K lines.

As a test: when you read the instruction set of the 12, 14 and 16 bit
core PICs, do you feel like understanding the chip? If not I would not
contemplate writing a compiler (yet).

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\10\13@070210 by onica_Merryfield

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You write a back end for LCC and get the book -
http://www.cs.princeton.edu/software/lcc/ for details.
--
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"The best things in life aren't things"




{Original Message removed}

2002\10\13@071451 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> You write a back end for LCC and get the book -
> http://www.cs.princeton.edu/software/lcc/ for details.

Good idea, but not when your target is a PIC. The assumptions made by
LCC (and GCC) are so far from what a PIC is that this is not a feasible
approach. Why do you think Scott is hacking SDCC instead of LCC or GCC?

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\10\13@111110 by Walter Banks

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Writing compilers is a seductive endeavor. It takes a week or
so to get a compiler working and 5 to 10 man years to make
it work well. The basic references are the Crenshaw tutorial
the best basic reference I have seen. Read the dragon books
for an in-depth look at the fundamentals. By that point a
compiler book can almost be judged by the size of the index
entries for optimization and code generation.

Have fun

Walter Banks

Joseph Thorman wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\10\13@111517 by onica_Merryfield

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What assumptions are made that enforce a backend to be unfeasible for PIC?
LCC outputs dag trees that you fill the dags for. You could move up into LCC
to modify this. You could also parse the dag tree for the block and optimise
for your target before emitting the asm for the dags.
--
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"The best things in life aren't things"




{Original Message removed}

2002\10\13@111522 by Scott Dattalo

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On Sun, 13 Oct 2002, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

> > You write a back end for LCC and get the book -
> > http://www.cs.princeton.edu/software/lcc/ for details.
>
> Good idea, but not when your target is a PIC. The assumptions made by
> LCC (and GCC) are so far from what a PIC is that this is not a feasible
> approach. Why do you think Scott is hacking SDCC instead of LCC or GCC?

At the moment I'm not hacking anything... but the reason I went for SDCC
is, Wouter implies, because the front end was already written exactly the
way I needed. I literally started with an 8051 back end, renamed all
occurances of "8051" with "pic" and then started fixing the bugs. That was
a relatively short process ~ 6 man weeks (spread over 8 or 9 months).

Once I got the fundamentals working, I proceeded to work on an optimizer.
This is where I'm sort of at now. (I say sort of because I've been unable
to work on SDCC for a while). The optimizer analyzes flow and removes
unnecessary variables and code.

I don't know what book to recommend since I haven't read any on the
subject. The ones I've thumbed through on time-to-time seem to focus on
just the front end (converting C syntax into structures suitable for the
backend). The PIC instruction set is so different than anything out there
that I doubt any book targetting the back end is even suitable. I'm sure
if Walter or Clyde or James G. were to look at my code they'd probably
shake their heads and wonder what the hell I was thinking. (My C code is
not too unlike my assembly code - if you know what I mean!). But what
exists so far is pretty good, and once I get back to SDCC I'll fix a few
really annoying bugs. You're more than welcome to download and analyze (or
scrutinize) what exists at http://sdcc.sourceforge.net/

Scott

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2002\10\13@112324 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> By that point a
> compiler book can almost be judged by the size of the index
> entries for optimization and code generation.

Agreed, and junk any book that concentrates on the parser, lex, Yacc,
LR1 and that kind of stuff. Believe me, that is only the easy part.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\10\13@113155 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> What assumptions are made that enforce a backend to be
> unfeasible for PIC?

1- register-to-register architecture
2- the existence of registers in the first place
3- a stack-like run-time structure, addressed BP or SP relative
4- no hassles like paging or banking
5- a more or less regular instruction set

These things *can* be ignored, at the cost of an N-fold increase in
generated code.

Think a moment about efefctive code generation with code paging. The
need for page setting can alter the very structure of the code to be
generated (you can skip a goto, but not a 'set-page'+goto, so the
set-page must be moved earlier, but not before a previous goto.... And
then: inserting 'set-page' code moves the code around, so the need for
'set-page' instrcutions can change...

I think Walter or Clyde can add a few points to the above list and maybe
suggest a value for N. (My guess would be 2 .. 10).

But if you don't believe me, why not take GCC or LCC and re-target it to
the PIC? If you succees I will stand corrected and the PIC community
(that includes me) will love you forever.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\10\13@140014 by Peter L. Peres

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On Sun, 13 Oct 2002, Walter Banks wrote:

*>Writing compilers is a seductive endeavor. It takes a week or
*>so to get a compiler working and 5 to 10 man years to make
*>it work well. The basic references are the Crenshaw tutorial
*>the best basic reference I have seen. Read the dragon books
*>for an in-depth look at the fundamentals. By that point a
*>compiler book can almost be judged by the size of the index
*>entries for optimization and code generation.

There is also the other book about compilers (Pascal flavor) by Andrew
Appel (Modern Compiler Design I think)

Peter

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2002\10\14@011828 by Peter L. Peres

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On Sun, 13 Oct 2002, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

*>> By that point a
*>> compiler book can almost be judged by the size of the index
*>> entries for optimization and code generation.
*>
*>Agreed, and junk any book that concentrates on the parser, lex, Yacc,
*>LR1 and that kind of stuff. Believe me, that is only the easy part.

And the bad news is that all the good hands-on compiler optimization books
are in-house publications (they are hard to get) ...

Peter

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2002\10\14@162929 by Matt Heck

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Don't forget that the source code to GCC (and G++ for that matter) is
available as well.

I wonder if anybody's tried to port GCC to the PIC18F?

--Matt
> {Original Message removed}

2002\10\14@165037 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> I wonder if anybody's tried to port GCC to the PIC18F?

(from 'start with PICs'):

Before you start asking around: no, there is no GCC port for PICs, and
it is not likely that one will ever exist. The assumptions made by GCC
about the target CPU architecture are reasonable for almost all CPU's
that can be found in the world (including AVR, 8051 and 68HC
microcontrollers), but definitely not for PICs. There is at least one
attempt to create a free C compiler for PICs (based on SDCC), but at
this moment (2002) no useable product is available.

(Scott: is that stament still correct?)

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\10\14@170534 by onica_Merryfield

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Wouter

Would you support the assertion then that C and PICs don't make a good mix?

I have no knowledge on Small C, but given your points below, even the
framwork of a block based procedual language would make C unsuitable for
PIC - parameter passing and automatic variables naturally fall on to a stack
and register based architecture and whilst the backend could be made to
work, it would be efficient use of resource.  How is this got over with
small C or it's code emitter?

A better question maybe 'Is there a better high level language for PICs'.
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{Original Message removed}

2002\10\14@171603 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Would you support the assertion then that C and PICs don't
> make a good mix?

PICs and full ANSI C including recursion : indeed. C without recursion
and without the ANSI requirement that an int be at least 16 bits: good
match.

> A better question maybe 'Is there a better high level
> language for PICs'.

1. Efficient PIC code and recursion does not match. But recursion on
embedded system is a scary thing anyway.

2. PIC and arithmetic that defaults to 16-bit is not a good match
either. Maybe a very clever compiler might be able to work around this
to some extent? I'm not sure 'default arithmetic' should have a place in
embedded programming anyway.

The point is not so much the language as it is often seen ( e.g. '{
versus 'begin' is a non-issue) but the details that affect technical
implementation constraints. Maybe BCPL would be a perfect match, but you
would not want to use it!

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\10\14@172227 by Walter Banks

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The issue in my opinion isn't that the instructions set is not well suited for C

but the compiler tools used assumed that a particular instruction set was the
basis for the compiler assumptions. Compilers written specifically for an
instruction set tend to be less complex and more effecient in their code
generation

I think that this is the most common reason for portable compilers fail to port
very
well to anything other than a small group of processors.

GCC and LCC both were orgininally developed for hosted environments
using processors that were archectecully more like a 80XX,sparc, or M68K.
A couple of the implimentations that I have looked at in detail emulated
(unintentionally) he data flow structure of the original processors with a
significant loss in code generation effeciency

w..


Veronica_Merryfield wrote:

> Would you support the assertion then that C and PICs don't make a good mix?

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2002\10\14@173106 by onica_Merryfield

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ANSI dos not require sizeof int == 2, it says the size of int shall be the
naive size of the underlying architecture. If that is 8 or 12 or whatever,
then that is the size of int.

Recursion on any machine is scary
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"The best things in life aren't things"




{Original Message removed}

2002\10\14@174139 by Walter Banks

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ANSI / ISO C99 support an int with nat least 16 bits. It also supports size
specifiic
data types  for example 8 12 16 24 bit typses.

I am currently at ISO's semiannual meetings on C standards. Part of the
adgenda
is C standards for embedded systems.

w..

Veronica_Merryfield wrote:

> ANSI dos not require sizeof int == 2, it says the size of int shall be the
> naive size of the underlying architecture. If that is 8 or 12 or whatever,
> then that is the size of int.

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2002\10\14@174519 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> ANSI dos not require sizeof int == 2, it says the size of int
> shall be the
> naive size of the underlying architecture. If that is 8 or 12
> or whatever,
> then that is the size of int.

Please read more carefully. It may not be stated where you expect it (it
was years ago that I studied the specs) but it is somewhere. Probably
something about the representeable values. (OK, if you know how to
represent 0..65535 in 8 bits, then 8 bits are allowed for an unsigned
int ;)

> Recursion on any machine is scary

I disagree. Recursion often trades CPU and RAM use for coding (not
code!) speed and readability. With plenty CPU cycles and RAM and a good
error reporting mechanism to inform the user of RAM depletion recusion
is a wonderfull tool. Most compilers rely heavily on recusion (at least
mine does). Some languages are totally recursion-centric (LISP for a
start).

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\10\14@175632 by mike

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On Mon, 14 Oct 2002 22:34:01 +0100, you wrote:

>ANSI dos not require sizeof int == 2, it says the size of int shall be the
>naive size of the underlying architecture. If that is 8 or 12 or whatever,
>then that is the size of int.
>
>Recursion on any machine is scary
and usually inefficient. Anything you can do with recursion can often
be done more efficiently )if less 'elegantly' with other methods,
especially on resource-limited systems.

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2002\10\14@175840 by onica_Merryfield

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Must be an addition thing I guess. Second edition, The C programming
language, K&R ANSI eddition, page 196.
"Plain int objects have the natural size suggested by the host machine
rchitechture; the other sizes are provided to meet special needs."

Appendix B coves the standard library where int_max and int_min are defined
as +32767 and -32767 but the preface to the appendix says it is the library
defined by ansi and is not part of the C language.

Other parts of the language often use 16 bit ints as examples but for the
most part state them as examples.
--
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"The best things in life aren't things"




{Original Message removed}

2002\10\14@180256 by Walter Banks

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Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

> > ANSI dos not require sizeof int == 2, it says the size of int
> > shall be the
> > naive size of the underlying architecture. If that is 8 or 12
> > or whatever,
> > then that is the size of int.
>
> Please read more carefully. It may not be stated where you expect it (it
> was years ago that I studied the specs) but it is somewhere. Probably
> something about the representeable values. (OK, if you know how to
> represent 0..65535 in 8 bits, then 8 bits are allowed for an unsigned
> int ;)

C99 has a minimum of 2 byte int but has support for
sized int's. What you said was true before C89 wen Byte Craft
wrote its original compilers for embbedded systems. We now have
switches that support both.

(BTW the authors of C89 / C99 are all siting with a few feet of me
as I type this.:)

w..

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2002\10\14@190153 by Russell McMahon

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> A better question maybe 'Is there a better high level language for PICs'.

or, is there a better low level processor for C :-)

           RM

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2002\10\14@190803 by onica_Merryfield

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<g>
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"The best things in life aren't things"




{Original Message removed}

2002\10\14@214750 by sergio masci

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Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> A better question maybe 'Is there a better high level
>> language for PICs'.
>
>
> 1. Efficient PIC code and recursion does not match. But recursion on
> embedded system is a scary thing anyway.
>
> 2. PIC and arithmetic that defaults to 16-bit is not a good match
> either. Maybe a very clever compiler might be able to work around this
> to some extent? I'm not sure 'default arithmetic' should have a place in
> embedded programming anyway.
>
> The point is not so much the language as it is often seen ( e.g. '{
> versus 'begin' is a non-issue) but the details that affect technical
> implementation constraints. Maybe BCPL would be a perfect match, but you
> would not want to use it!

BCPL had only one data type, the 16 bit int. Strings had to be packed
and unpacked to and from int vectors. As you have already noted 16 bit
ints on a PIC are a pain. Perhaps you are talking about the interpreter
that was used to bootstrap BCPL onto new architectures. I belive it used
a type of byte code called OCODE.

Regards
Sergio Masci

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2002\10\14@214756 by sergio masci
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Veronica_Merryfield wrote:

>
> Would you support the assertion then that C and PICs don't make a good mix?
>
> I have no knowledge on Small C, but given your points below, even the
> framwork of a block based procedual language would make C unsuitable for
> PIC - parameter passing and automatic variables naturally fall on to a stack
> and register based architecture and whilst the backend could be made to
> work, it would be efficient use of resource.  How is this got over with
> small C or it's code emitter?

The parameters and local variables used by a C function only need to be
stored on a stack for the following reasons:

1 ... variable number of parameters
2 ... uknown local storeage requirements of called function (the
function is compiled seperately in another module)
3 ... re-enterant use of function (e.g. using the function in the main
line and also in an interrupt service routine)
4 ... recuresive use of function

Although (1) is a nice feature it is rarely used and can very easily be
worked around. (2) can easiliy be determined by analysing the source.
(3) can be overcome by determining re-enterant code use and emiting
multiple copies of the executable such that they use different contexts.
(4) is the only real fly in the ointment but given the severaly limited
amount of RAM on a PIC this restriction tends to apply to programs
written in assembler as well.

In short it is relativly easy to emit code that uses statically
allocated RAM for a function context and for the generated executable to
write parameters directly to this static function context, then call the
function, and finally retrive the result from the context after the
function returns. The compiler, by analysis of the interaction of
functions with one another, can overlay function contexts such that
functions do not interfer with each other and RAM is used efficiently.

>
> A better question maybe 'Is there a better high level language for PICs'.

Compilers generate efficient optimised code by analysing the source. The
clearer the intension of the source the easier it is for the compiler to
optimise it.

Consider:

      for (j=0 j<10; j++)
      {
              arr[j] = x + y;
      }

and:

              j=0;

      lab1:
              if (j>=10) goto lab2;

              arr[j] = x + y;

              j++;

              goto lab1;

      lab2;


In the first example the 'for' loop construct can be used by the
compiler to look for and optimise loop invarient code. Here the 'x+y'
expression can be evaluated once outside the loop, assigned to a
temporary variable and then subsequently used repeatedly in the loop.
Doing this in the second example is much more difficult for the compiler.

Similar problems exist for the compiler when code is broken down into
functions.

The best language would be one which does not rely on many runtime
libraries implemented as C type functions, but instead on libraries
which are implemented as high level configerable functionality. This
would be like having a library of complex high level functions and a
tame expert programmer that would tailer them to specific requirements
determined by a very high level spec.

The language would have special statements built into it like

      FLASH  led_0  FOR  10  SECONDS  AT  0.5  Hz   OR  UNTIL  input_5
HIGH

The compiler would then be able to generate highly efficient code on a
par with an expert assembler programmer. If this sounds far fetched
consider the SQL database language which allows the database manager to
optimise requests.

An alternative would be a tool that allows a system to be generated by
bringing together high level objects on a design diagram linked by
special connectors that denote types of association. An even better tool
would allow a developer or software house to build a reference system
for their niche product or range of products and then tailor the tool to
allow rapid configuration and generation of highly efficient product. We
have a tool like this. It's called IPAD-Pro. The PIC edition of ZMech is
a tool that was developed using IPAD-Pro.

Regards
Sergio Masci

http://www.xcprod.com

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'[PIC] How to write my own compiler? Where to fin'
2003\02\07@111326 by Ren
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What programming language?
What is your programming experience?
Does it matter if the compiler is slow?

{Original Message removed}

2003\02\07@120757 by Walter Banks

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google for crenshaw's tutorial.

w..


Ren wrote:
>
> What programming language?
> What is your programming experience?
> Does it matter if the compiler is slow?
>
> {Original Message removed}

2003\02\07@152247 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> google for crenshaw's tutorial.

my favourite book is the LCC book (Hansen?).

BTW the source of the Jal compiler is GPL, see http://www.voti.nl/jal

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\02\07@160403 by Russell C. Hay

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face
The standard text for many universities is the Dragon Book..

Officially titled "Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools" by Aho,
Sethi, and Ullman
ISBN: 0-201-10088-6

-R

{Original Message removed}

2003\02\07@161849 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> The standard text for many universities is the Dragon Book..

It is indeed a standard book, but I like Crenshaw of Henson much better
(more practical).

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\02\07@163519 by Peter L. Peres

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On Fri, 7 Feb 2003, Russell C. Hay wrote:

*>The standard text for many universities is the Dragon Book..
*>
*>Officially titled "Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools" by Aho,
*>Sethi, and Ullman
*>ISBN: 0-201-10088-6

Yes but 'Modern Compiler Design' by Andrew Appel is a little more meaty,
assuming one likes Pascal.

Peter

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