Re: Java compiler courses

Chris Dollin <>
23 Apr 2007 07:54:29 -0400

          From comp.compilers

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From: Chris Dollin <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 23 Apr 2007 07:54:29 -0400
Organization: HP labs, Bristol
References: 07-04-074
Keywords: courses, Java
Posted-Date: 23 Apr 2007 07:54:29 EDT

wooks wrote:

> Why do they exist.

Java compiler courses? For people who want to write compilers,
and are willing to learn using Java.

> Why would anybody want to teach a compiler course in Java when it
> seems that there are more and better resources (books, tools)
> supporting a compilers course based on C (aside from the obvious -
> students are taught Java and not C).

I'm not sure that your premise is correct, and I'm not sure why
you're so willing to discount the obvious.

> Why would anybody want to write a compiler in Java (unless it's the
> only language they know).

It's got type checking [1] (and with new! added! generics!), garbage
collection, polymorphism, portability to a useful range of systems,
and extensive libraries.

Why shouldn't people want to write compilers in Java?

[Disclaimer: Java isn't my favourite language by any means, and I /have/
  written a compiler-plus-shortcode-interpreter in C, but I don't see
  any deep reasons why one shouldn't write a compiler in Java.]

[1] I mean the sort that helps you avoid mistakes, not the sort that
        insists that it has to be done at compile-time and leaves you
        solitary and afraid at run-time.

"Life is full of mysteries. Consider this one of them." Sinclair, /Babylon 5/

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