Re: The Gentle Compiler Construction System (Robby)
31 Dec 2002 23:46:22 -0500

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From: (Robby)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 31 Dec 2002 23:46:22 -0500
Organization: Unorganised
References: 02-12-124
Keywords: tools
Posted-Date: 31 Dec 2002 23:46:22 EST


I haven't used it recently. The last time was about four years ago. My
experience was very favourable, although the reliance on yacc and lex
can be a bit irritating, considering the power of the rest of the
system. For some rapid prototyping, Gentle is pretty much ideal.

It is very much a term rewriting system, allowing you to write very
powerful tree translation code. The syntax is reasonably elegant. I
found defining and using data types to be vaguely cumbersome.

I think nowadays, I would use SML or Haskell in preference. A "real"
programming language can be such a boon. Especially since Gentle uses
yacc and lex pretty much directly. So the parsing side is taken care
of by standard tools anyway, what Gentle brings on its own can be very
easily implemented in a modern functional language. Gentle's semi-automatic
tree walker constructs are probably the only thing you don't get for free.
But I have found them to be a little complicated to use effectively.

I guess the other good thing about Gentle, is that it generates C code.


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