Friday, May 29, 2015

Identification Hell

Hi has a pretty modern syntax. It has namespaces, qualified names, implicitly declared variables, doesn't force you to write -for instance- upper case letters in pattern matches, and uses the 'dot' selector liberally.

The downside is that, preceding the rest of the semantic analysis, it employs an identification pass to disambiguate and clearly identify which (qualified) name is bound to what constant or variable. It flattens namespaces, declares unbound variables, disambiguates expressions with dots in it, etc. After the identification pass, the compiler proceeds like you would expect for a far simpler language.

It leads to a syntax I find very pretty but there are disadvantages to this approach: For the user, typos may be translated to unexpected compiler error messages. For the implementor, it's hellish to implement.

So, for the next few weeks I'll be stuck in identification hell. It's really something I would rather not but, yeah, I don't want to give up on my pretty little language.

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