Modern Compiler Implementation in ML

Category: Programming
Author: Andrew W. Appel
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by nostrademons   2018-09-16
Learn the mechanics of compiler construction first - that'll inform everything about your language, and is a prerequisite to actually building something other people can use. I'd recommend The Dragon Book [1], SICP [2], and Modern Compiler Implementation in ML [3] for this.

After that, it's a question of where you want to go with your language, and what distinguishing features you'd like it to have relative to other languages. Languages which just change some syntax and keywords but otherwise look like C are common, but they tend not to get usage beyond their creators. Much of the academic research lately is about type systems (TAPL has already been mentioned) - there's research into dependent types, effect typing, total functional programming, linear types already made it into Rust's borrow checker, etc.

However, many of the worst problems in industry - dependencies, versioning, smoothly migrating from a prototype to robust production code, code navigation, security, parallelization & distribution, the memory hierarchy - have gotten relatively little attention in academic research, and are desperately awaiting solutions. If you have some industry experience, it may be worth trying to imagine how you might fix these problems if you were allowed to change the programming language at will.


by Michael Stum   2018-03-19

Big List of Resources:


  • ¶ Link to a PDF file
  • $ Link to a printed book