Re: Request comments on text.

harvard!seismo!utah-cs!shebs (Stanley Shebs)
Wed, 15 Jul 87 18:44:04 MDT

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Date: Wed, 15 Jul 87 18:44:04 MDT
From: harvard!seismo!utah-cs!shebs (Stanley Shebs)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
References: <609@ima.ISC.COM>
Organization: PASS Research Group

In article <609@ima.ISC.COM> (Steve Vegdahl) writes:
>[on dragon book weaknesses ...] These weaknesses can be largely summed up
>in the sentence "the dragon book teaches you how to write a C compiler for
>a traditional architecture".

Amen. It is of course a mere coincidence that all the authors are associated
with Bell Labs... :-) I would really like to see a text that covered
Lisp/Prolog/Smalltalk implementation in general, both runtime and compilation.
Alas, such a beast does not exist, although a hardworking instructor could
assemble papers and book chapters, and get decent coverage. Peter Henderson's
book "Functional Programming: Application and Implementation" (Prentice-Hall,
1980) has some good material in the back, including an object file to boot
up your compiler with (!). Allen's "Anatomy of Lisp" is well-known but
obscure in places, and the only material on optimization is recent conference
papers and source code.

> * A good programming environment is becoming increasingly recognized
> as a fundamental piece of a language implemenation. The book does
> not really address this subject. Quite a bit of good work has
> been done, for example, in the area of incremental compilation
> (e.g., Reps).

Hoo boy, I might consider writing a text on straight language implementation
(if I ever finish my thesis :-( ), but environments are a deep dark morass.
It seems risky to include a lot of relatively undigested recent literature
in a text that needs to teach basic principles and stay relevant for a few
years. Still, it's probably about time for someone to get started. Is there
anybody out there writing a book on environment implementation?

stan shebs

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