Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Well, seeing how you're unfamiliar with Prolog, LabView and Scratch, and how you're somehow drawing a distinction between compilation and interpretation, I think it's best to chalk this up for differences in terminology and move on :-)

If I had more time I would ask you about GNU Glade and the MS Resouce Compiler; the first converts visually manipulated GUI elements to XML, which gets converted to C, and the later converts a configuration-file type syntax into a GUI. IMO, both are compilers, and neither is troubled by machine layout.

I wont even go into symbolic algebra systems, constraint programming environments, model checkers, database query executors and optimizers, and many many other applications of compiler technology, because I have a feeling you will be up to debate their purity as "real compilers".

jerf made an excellent point above that I would advice others to consider.

I did want to address this statement, "symbolic algebra systems, constraint programming environments, model checkers, database query executors and optimizers, and many many other applications of compiler technology"

You're right I would argue they are not compilers. But I'd also state they often do use compiler technology, as do many other programs. I've spent a fair bit of time working on many of the things you note, model checkers and query optimizers in particular.

But lets be clear, compiler technology is not the same thing as being a compiler. And yes, terminology matters. If you say, "I've written a compiler" and you show me HangMan... I'll scratch my head. You don't get to just say "Everything is a compiler", simply because compilers manipulate data and so do all other programs.

No one said "everything is a compiler"; jerf and I listed particular applications, by name. That's hardly "everything".

And no one if offering you hangman as an example either.

I think you're exactly the type of people I was referring to as those who mystify compilation, in your case for the sake of unspecified native code generation ideal.

If you're solving a data processing and translation problem, and find your solution fitting a parse, validate, translate model. Using well known compilation techniques. I would say you're writing a compiler. Regardless of whether the output is native code, assembly, C, XML, byte-code, display transformations, or in-memory side-effects.

I just think that compilers generate programs or program fragments. Nothing mistifying about it. I really do think my definition is the mainstream.

I just draw a distinction between using techniques common in compilers vs actual compilers. I agree those things that Jerf listed may use techniques common in compilers, call them compilation techniques, but I still don't think they're compilers. I dont' think that makes them bad programs, but they're not compilers. And frankly, I think even those who the community deems as expert would say the same thing. They may use some compilation technologies, but they're not compilers.

You guys are arguing past the article. His entire point is that "compilation techniques" are important to a whole class of programming problems, and the best way to learn them is the standard university compiler class.

Well let me ask you... what isn't a compiler?

Visual C++ 6.0.

Wow that joke had a long set-up.

The Aristocrats!

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact