Re: What is byte-code ? (Anton Ertl)
5 Mar 2005 21:31:11 -0500

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From: (Anton Ertl)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 5 Mar 2005 21:31:11 -0500
Organization: Institut fuer Computersprachen, Technische Universitaet Wien
References: 05-03-015
Keywords: interpreter
Posted-Date: 05 Mar 2005 21:31:11 EST

"KC" <> writes:
>What's the official definition of byte-code ?

There is none (well, you can try Wikipedia or FOLDOC for inofficial

The term byte-code is typically used for a special case of a virtual
machine, where the virtual machine instructions and their operands are
encoded as bytes, or as groups of bytes (e.g., JVM byte-code,
Smalltalk byte-code, Elisp byte-code).

However, I have also seen the term used for virtual machines that
don't have this property (e.g., the Ocaml "byte-code", where the
instructions are encoded as machine words); that usage seems to just
use "byte-code" in place of "virtual machine" (maybe because there are
also other meanings of "virtual machine").

As for "virtual machine", in this context it means a flat, sequential
intermediate representation of the programs, consisting of virtual
machine instructions, with some similarities to real-machine code.

>Any documentation and
>book related to byte-code and byte-code compiler ?

    title = "Smalltalk-80: Bits of History, Words of Advice",
    publisher = "Addison-Wesley",
    year = 1983,
    editor = "Glen Krasner"

You can also look at some papers published at, e.g., IVME'04 and
follow the references.

- anton
M. Anton Ertl

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