[antlr-interest] cool idea

John D. Mitchell johnm-antlr at non.net
Fri Aug 30 09:13:23 PDT 2002

>>>>> "blah" == blah blah <trigonometric at softhome.net> writes:
> I was thinking that if somebody designed some kind of standard AST way to
> represent a program such that any program in any language could be
> represented by this type of AST then one could create translators from
> lots of languages to create this AST and then translators from the AST to
> lots of languages so that translation from any language to any language
> would be possible.

Check out the comp.compilers newsgroup's archives.  Plenty of discussion
about this sort of thing.  Hint: one thing to search for is "ANDF".

Basically, the general case isn't possible (to be high-level (i.e., highly
leveraged), general purpose across a wide variety of languages, reasonably
"performant", etc.) due to e.g., the wildly differing semantics.

Note that a very painful, practical problem in this task is that of the
"portability" of all of the (core) libraries for the languages that you
want to support.  The designs and usages of those libraries are quite
critical (since they are, in essence, extensions of their languages).

It is, however, quite possible to create such things for a constrained set
of languages (i.e., a "family" of languages).

Hope this helps,


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