Re: Is this a new idea? (Stavros Macrakis)
Fri, 20 Nov 1992 16:13:26 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Stavros Macrakis)
Organization: OSF Research Institute
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1992 16:13:26 GMT
Keywords: design
References: 92-10-113 92-11-114 (Clyde Smith-Stubbs) said:
      > can't parse code that contains references to such things as
      > typedefs that occur earlier in the code, if the typedef is missing
      > or in the middle of being edited....

I ( (Stavros Macrakis)) replied:
      > This is a C-specific problem: a bug in the design of C's syntax. Most
      > other languages don't commit such foolishness, except of course those
      > with extensible syntax. (Clyde Smith-Stubbs) continued:

      ...the solution is now clear. We should all immediately abandon C

Sounds like a good idea.

      and any languages with extensible syntax,

Not many of those around these days.

      and perform an appropriate penance for having used such
      ideologically unsound tools. A month of COBOL programming sounds

I don't suggest penance. I suggest improving the choice of language.

      And of course by switching to a non-extensible language we will
      immediately get the benefit of instant compilation. I'm talking about
      BASIC of course.

Recompilation is actually quite fast if you do it on appropriately-sized
chunks, e.g. individual functions or modules. Even for C, with its weak
notions of inter-module declarations, it is possible to precompile
definition headers (the processing of which is a major cost in compiling
C, especially if you use large libraries like X).

      More seriously, the typedef problem in C does cause parsing difficulties,
      but C is here to stay. Rather than pointing fingers at its design, it
      would be better to look for ways of solving the problem at hand (which was
      speeding up re-compilations).

Working on better tools for existing languages doesn't preclude working on
better tools _and_ languages.


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