Re: Language Design

Gene <>
Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:28:18 -0700 (PDT)

          From comp.compilers

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From: Gene <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:28:18 -0700 (PDT)
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 11-07-027
Keywords: design
Posted-Date: 27 Jul 2011 16:49:12 EDT

On Jul 18, 4:16 pm, Billy Mays
<> wrote:
> I am trying to design a programming language for a simple processor
> (16 bit, ~10 instructions, 16 registers). I am not sure what a
> language actually needs in order to be more useful than pure assembly,
> but is also reasonable to implement. ...
> --
> Bill
> [Rather than trying to invent yet another language, I'd retarget some
>existing 16 bit C compiler. -John]

The old Turbo Pascal 2.0 dialect was pretty remarkable. There was a
version for Z80 (CP/M) and 8086 (MSDOS). I think the whole compiler
was only 50K or so. The runtime was tiny (as it had to be), yet
included floating point (6-byte proprietary), variable-length strings
(up to 255 chars, not ANSI standard), sets over domains up to 255 in
cardinality, primitive extensions to write memory and I/O ports,
graphics (x86 only), an overlay system that was good enough to handle
a 200K SLOC program for on the Z80, and probably some other stuff I'm
foregetting. All this is to say that you could a lot worse than to re-
implement this dialect of Pascal as well as it was in this case.
Pascal is also straightforward to compile, especially if you don't
allow nested functions/procedures (although Turbo did).

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