Saturday, April 5, 2014

Roslyn: Microsoft’s Clang


The .NET Compiler Platform (“Roslyn”) provides open-source C# and Visual Basic compilers with rich code analysis APIs. You can build code analysis tools with the same APIs that Microsoft is using to implement Visual Studio!


Roslyn was the codename of the effort to rebuild the C# and Visual Basic.NET compilers in their own languages, but also to do it in a modern way. These compilers expose services that are appropriate to the stages of compilation and allow the information that the compiler builds up not only not to go to waste but to be readily accessed by other programs. Instead of sitting on the knowledge, sharing it.

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clang has many APIs, but I think Roslyn has them beat. For example, there's a semantic model through which you can ask questions about whether at a particular point a variable's in scope or what a particular name would resolve/bind to.

Bloody hell. I just had a shot at implementing a new, very small, very incremental language feature. It took four hours and I get the correct squigglies in Visual Studio and everything. From nothing.

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