Compiler texts: Theory vs. Practice (Jonathan Eifrig)
Thu, 6 Jan 1994 21:17:32 GMT

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Book(s) about compilers? (1994-01-05)
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Compiler texts: Theory vs. Practice (1994-01-06)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Jonathan Eifrig)
Keywords: books, courses
Organization: The Johns Hopkins University CS Department
References: 94-01-012 94-01-023
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 1994 21:17:32 GMT (Francois Nouri) writes:
>As to a book, my opinion is that those choices are unnecessary. You can
>take as much time as you wish to go through a book, and I can't find any
>reason why you should prefer theory to pragmatic issues or reciprocally.

Well, except that architectures come and go, but theory is pretty
timeless. Take a look at the Dragon book, for instance: published in '86
originally. Do you think Aho, Sethi, and Ullman should have spent more
time discussing how to compile K&R C into 80286 and VAX assembly? :-)

Authors aren't silly; they know that their book will have more
staying power if they concentrate on principles. Presumably, if they do a
good enough job, the practice part can be an exercise for the reader.

Not to say that there aren't important parts of compiler writing
that are shortchanged in the general literature. Linking, (and the
related debugging) for example, has been discussed here in the past as
something that could use more treatment. I'll put my two cents in for a
better treatment of operating system interfaces and ABI's.
Jack Eifrig ( The Johns Hopkins University, C.S. Dept.

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