Tools Happenings

There are some fun things going on in the tools arena right now.

Do you read Taras Glek’s blog? He’s working on GCC Dehydra, which lets you write GCC passes in javascript. I think his work is one of the most interesting developments in the GCC world today.

There are a few similar projects in the works right now. The plugin branch lets you write GCC plugins; the authors of this branch have a Python plugin, but as far as I’m aware this is not publicly available.

On a slightly more idiosyncratic note, Basile Starynkevitch made a branch for his MELT project. This is also a plugin system, but it uses a lisp dialect for which he’s written his own lisp-to-C translator. I’m kind of partial to this idea — I think it would be fun to write parts of GCC in lisp, at least if it compiled down to something reasonable.

I’m quite interested in pushing GCC more into source analysis and refactoring. Right now the front ends have some problems that make this difficult, but I think these are surmountable without too much trouble. Maybe when I finish this pesky incremental compiler…

With all this going on I wonder why GCC-XML is not in the tree, at least on a branch.

Vladimir Prus recently made available his prototype which integrates Python into gdb. This is promising work — we’ve needed something like this for years. Maybe we can finally print complex data structures in sensible ways.

Finally, Benjamin Kosnik has checked in a restructuring of the libstdc++ documentation. I browsed the new stuff a bit and I found it much simpler to navigate. I’m very happy about this; good, clear documentation is critical to the success of free software.

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