C– for cross compiler

In late 1994, when I need to write a programming language it was a pain. You must start with flex, lex and so on, and the way will be very long.

Then I found GCC was able to compile in a pseudo-machine language, already optimized. Then a set of backend was able to emit mc68000, 80×86, power pc code…

I am glad to see now there is a “stripped down” version of the C language to simplify this hard work….
By the way, Fortran has been the first compiled language, appeared near 1957.

“A new perspective on programming-language infrastructure”

Welcome to C–

Suppose you are writing a compiler; how will you get quality machine code? You might write your own code generator—but that’s a lot of work. You might use somebody else’s: perhaps VPO, MLRISC, or the gcc back end. But each of these impressive systems has a rich, complex, and ill-documented interface, and furthermore, to use MLRISC you must write your front end in ML, to use gcc you must write it in C, and so on. You might generate C, if you can live without multiple results in registers, proper tail calls, computed gotos, accurate garbage collection, and efficient exceptions.

You would be much happier with one portable assembly language that could be generated by a front end and implemented by any of several code generators. Such a language should serve as the interface between high-level compilers and retargetable, optimizing code generators. Authors of front ends and authors of code generators could cooperate easily. C– is that language.

What distinguishes C–

The following aspects of C– distinguish it from other compiler infrastructures:

* Other infrastructures focus on adding new optimizations; C– focuses on supporting multiple front ends for multiple languages.

* C– has a machine-level type system, so you don’t have to shoehorn your favorite high-level language into a high-level data model that doesn’t fit.

* C– provides a run-time interface, so you can implement garbage collection and exception handling using the techniques that are best suited to your language.

The run-time interface is the most novel and most distinguishing feature of C–.

via C– Home.

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