Re: Incremental compilation (Andrew Wright)
Thu, 23 Jan 1992 20:55:12 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Andrew Wright)
Keywords: code, interpreter
Organization: Rice University, Houston
References: 92-01-081
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1992 20:55:12 GMT

In article 92-01-081 (Steve Boswell) writes:
>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.

I built a prototype compiler that operated in a manner like this a few years
ago. Since a source file consisted of a set of named definitions, I built
abstract syntax trees for each definition and sorted the definitions by
name, before comparing abstract syntax trees. Hence rearranging the order
of functions in a source file would cause no recompilation. One could also
imagine replacing local variables with deBruijn numbers before comparing,
and recompiling would then be independent of local names.

This was a small part of a more global approach to automatic separate
compilation. A program unit consisted of a set of source files that could
cross reference one another. It would not necessarily be possible to
recompile one file by itself---recompiling defininition "f" in file A might
require doing some work on definition "g" in file B, which might in turn
require doing some work on "h" in file A, etc.

This is a nice way to do incremental compilation, that is similar to the
built-in editor approach, without the editor.

Andrew Wright
Rice University

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