The plan to complete Pass#2

Every now and then (usually after something bigger gets finally implemented) comes the time to perform a “maintenance round” to clean up and finish the latest added features. That’s essentially what I’ve been doing lately. I want to keep it clean and tidy. I also thought that now would be the appropriate time to transform the compiler into what it’s intended to be in the end: a working console application. Until now I have had the input file hard-coded as well as the function call, to perform the actual compilation. Well, not any more. The compiler now gets called by commandline which defines all input files and/or additional options. All passed files then get parsed and compiled nicely one by one. The compiler will not be a DLL (as hinted in the previous blog entry) nor will there be any visible Windows form. There will not be a progress bar. Instead, the compiler does write some info to the Standard Output Stream – which can be directed straight to the future-coming CoolBasic editor. Possible compile time errors can be parsed from this string data. In addition, the compiler returns an exit code back to the system which tells was the compilation successfull or did it fail. Overall, this resembles how Visual Studio performs building.

I also took another round of standardizing the error messages (mainly those that get generated by Pass#2). Currently, there’s a great deal of them, and I estimate there to be a few hundred of them in total by the time the compiler will be finished. And I must say… Oh boy I’m going to be loosing some hair in an attempt of localizing them into finnish. Not because of the amount but because of their nature. The quantity of the finnish literature in modern computer programming is way below the levels when compared to other languages. Most books about programming are nowadays almost always in english which means that the finnish terminology is in danger of not being able to develop accordingly to the rules set by this industry. The impact is already very visible, and personally I’m going to be a little worried about the future-coming finnish localization… I think I will need to simply come up with some new terminology translations because there simply aren’t any established “official” words for their original english counterparts. This means that most translated terms sound silly because everyone is already used to their english meaning. There are some error messages that I already find difficult to properly translate into finnish. For now, I haven’t yet implemented the finnish translations although the support is there: someone would just have to fill in the missing strings. Well, maybe I’ll just delegate the job to someone in the devTeam later 🙂

I have finished the “maintenance round” now, and the compiler application is now operating well. I even tested running the compiler from within a .NET application, to receive its stream output. Please note that the compiler is still missing a lot of its functionality, and is not by any means, finished; It’s not yet able to produce the IL from the source code – which is pretty much the only thing remaining. Yes, the end of the tunnel is already visible, but there’s still a long walk before we reach it. I freshly added a new functionality to Pass#1 to gather detailed list of code lines and the exact method they belong to. Actually, I already had that data, but this modified collecting process gets the job done better. I now have a list of “executable code tokens” that need to be analysed for the final time, only this time we can be sure that their syntax is already OK. Practically, we’re cleaning it up, adding the needed metainfo, and dismantling it into fundamental theorems. Think about the For statement… it’s actually a While...EndWhile block.

So there’s only two major things remaining… the IL and the compiler Backend. Wow.

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