Re: TXL Experience (Hans de Vreught)
Fri, 11 Feb 1994 09:00:50 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Hans de Vreught)
Keywords: tools
Address: Lorentzweg 1, 2628 CJ Delft, The Netherlands
Organization: Delft University of Technology (TN FI-CP)
References: 94-02-071
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 1994 09:00:50 GMT (E.J. Poole) writes:

>Does anyone have experience of using TXL Version 7? I would be interested
>to see what results people have obtained by using it. I would like to use
>it to read in C++ source code and produce an ASCII file containing a
>description of the program's design to be read into a specific CASE tool.
>i.e. reverse engineer the source code! Anyone got any comments or
>suggestions for an alternative tool or tools? All suggestions or comments

Since Txl is using a backtrack parser it ain't suited for your C++
translator. Don't forget: Txl is a *tree* transformer. The part from
*language* to *tree* is non-important WRT Txl's objective. In other words:
the input language should be extremely simple, say strict deterministic,
for Txl to do its job fast. I find it regrettable that they used such a
shaky parser (WRT the time complexity), because syntax is quite nice and
the speed of the transformations are quite accaptable. BTW, the backend of
Txl is bit simple too (not for suitable for real production).

Over here we have given Txl some serious consideration because it does
everything we wanted it to do. However, the speed was completely
unacceptable for our purpose and the backend was also too inflexible for
us. We weren't able to parse a 200 *byte* program within a couple of
hours. Furthermore we weren't able to link in our user defined functions
in an efficient way. But the syntax was a definite pro: clean, simple, and

We decided to change our existing tree transformer such that it has Txl's
syntax. Our goal is to have a Txl like tool with a LALR parser in front
and with a backend where we can simply link in user defined functions.
Hans de Vreught
Delft University of Technology
The Netherlands


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