Re: a good introductory compiler book

steve@nuchat.UUCP (Steve Nuchia)
6 Aug 87 00:31:24 GMT

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a good introductory compiler book (1987-07-15)
Re: a good introductory compiler book steve@nuchat.UUCP (1987-08-06)
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From: steve@nuchat.UUCP (Steve Nuchia)
Summary: nitty gritty compiler book
Date: 6 Aug 87 00:31:24 GMT
References: <626@ima.ISC.COM>
Organization: Public Access - Houston, Tx

In article <626@ima.ISC.COM>, writes:
> I dislike most compiler books because they don't *explain* how parsing
> techniques work, they merely prove that parsing techniques do indeed
> work. I don't find this helpful. I find most of compiling to be fairly
> straightforward, except for parsing, which had seemed to be black magic,
> particularly since it is usually explained amid a flurry of Greek

I saw a book reviewed many moons ago, and bought it when I found
it on the strenght of that review. I enjoyed reading it, though
I had learned a lot about compilers "the hard way" in the interim.

Anklam, Cutler, Heinen, and MacLaren
Digital (as in DEC) Press, ISBN 0-932376-19-3

They cover everything in a very practical nuts-n-bolts way, though
without a lot of gory detail. This is the team that implemented
the VAX PL/I compiler, and their description of the bootstrapping
process is alone worth the price of the book (well, almost).

They also cover the re-front-ending of the compiler for C, in a
chapter titled "Beauty and the Beast". Great fun.

The book's main burden is in the design of the intermediate language
rather than parsing. Sadly, the PL/I parser was of the ad-hok style
popular at the time. They used a parser-generator for the C parser,
but they don't go into much detail.

The only thing I really didn't like about the book was the ALL UPPER
CASE examples and the corresponding information-depleted figures that
seem to plague computer science and engineering texts. Perhaps, nay
certainly, good graphic design should be taught to everyone who ever
might have to try to communicate.

Steve Nuchia

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