Incremental compilation (Steve Boswell)
23 Jan 92 08:19:49 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Steve Boswell)
Keywords: code, interpreter
Organization: Free Software Foundation
Date: 23 Jan 92 08:19:49 GMT

I'm looking for references, information, etc. on incremental compilation.
I don't mean makefiles -- the unit of compilation there is the file, and I
wanted something smaller, like the lexical token.

Here's a technique I was planning to try in a compiler. It would save the
entire token stream, syntax tree, semantic information, etc. for a
particular source file compilation. When the source file is modified and
recompiled, it would make a new token stream, do a token-wise diff on the
old and new streams, redo only the syntactic units that it had to, then
recheck semantics recursively.

Has anything like this been done/thought of/etc.? Doing this in my own
project is a long way off, but I was wondering if the time it took to do
the token-wise diff was longer than the time it would take to re-parse the
entire file.

Steve Boswell
[It's been done a lot in systems with built-in editors, since the editor
can easily mark what's been changed. -John]

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