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  GCC Frontend HOWTO
  Sreejith K Menon <mailto:sreejithkmenon@yahoo.com>
  v 1.1, August 2002

  Creating a new GCC front end
  ______________________________________________________________________

  Table of Contents


  1. Introduction

     1.1 New Versions of the document
     1.2 Feedback and Corrections
     1.3 Why I have written this
     1.4 Distribution Policy
     1.5 Acknowledgements

  2. Some general ideas about Compilers

  3. Compiler Tools

     3.1 Flex
        3.1.1 Patterns
        3.1.2 Actions
     3.2 Bison
        3.2.1 Bison Grammar File

  4. GCC Front End

     4.1 Tree and rtl

  5. Installing the GCC

  6. Getting started

     6.1 Call back routines

  7. Creating our own front end

     7.1 Our Aim
     7.2 Expressions
     7.3 Functions
        7.3.1 Example demo program 1
     7.4 Variable Declaration
        7.4.1 Example demo program 2
     7.5 Assignments
     7.6 Expressions revisited
        7.6.1 Example demo program 3
     7.7 Return
        7.7.1 Example demo program 4
     7.8 Conditional statement
        7.8.1 Example demo program 5
     7.9 Loops
        7.9.1 Example demo program 6

  8. Demo front end

  9. See also



  ______________________________________________________________________



  1.  Introduction

  This document shows the steps required for creating a new GCC front
  end. It helps you to create a compiler of your own with the help of
  the GNU Compiler Collection. Basic information about tools like Bison
  and Flex is also provided to make the document self contained.

  I  assume that you have sound knowledge of the C programming language.
  A general idea about compilers will help you understand the document
  better. If you wish to make experiments of your own, please download
  the source code of GCC from  http://gcc.gnu.org.


  1.1.  New Versions of the document

  This version of the document will help you in developing  basic
  language constructs. Succeeding revisions will be focussed on more
  complex issues.


  1.2.  Feedback and Corrections

  This document may have mistakes in it because I am writing from my
  practical experiments with the front end. There may be faults in the
  way I have grasped things. Please inform me about the mistakes, so
  that I can correct them in the next version.  I always welcome
  suggestions and criticisms. I can be contacted at
  sreejithkmenon@yahoo.com <mailto:sreejithkmenon@yahoo.com>

  1.3.  Why I have written this

  I started out trying to add a small language to the GNU Compiler
  Collection. Even though there is an excellent manual which describes
  GCC internals, I found it a bit intimidating to the newbie hacker. I
  thought of documenting my experiments so that even novice programmers
  can start tinkering with the complex GCC code base.

  1.4.  Distribution Policy

  Copyright (C)2002 Sreejith K Menon.

  This document  is free; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under
  the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free
  Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
  option) any later version.

  This document is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
  WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
  MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the GNU
  General Public License for more details.

  1.5.  Acknowledgements

  This document is the by-product of an intensive `code reading'
  experiment conducted at the Government Engineering College, Trichur
  (GECT). Students were asked to read and tinker with the source code of
  reasonably complex systems software to give them a feel of how large
  systems are designed and maintained - some of us concentrated on the
  GCC front end, others on the back end (we hope to have a document on
  hacking the GCC backend soon!).  Those who have a flair for Operating
  Systems  had a chance to work on the Linux file system, scheduler, VM
  subsystem and the networking stack.

  I am indebted to the Free Software community as a whole for giving me
  a chance to play with the source of useful(and exciting!) programs. My
  thanks to the faculty  of the Department of Computer Science at GECT
  for their commitment to education.  Thanks to Mr.Pramode C.E for
  leading me to Linux and compilers.

  I am grateful to Tim Josling, who has created a small beautiful front
  end, which helped me in all my experiments.


  2.  Some general ideas about Compilers

  A compiler is a translator which accepts programs in a source language
  and converts them into programs in another language which is most
  often the assembly code of a real (or virtual) microprocessor.
  Designing real compilers is a complex undertaking and requires formal
  training in Computer Science and Mathematics.


  The compilation process can be divided into a number of subtasks
  called phases. The different phases involved are

  1. Lexical analysis

  2. Syntax analysis

  3. Intermediate code generation

  4. Code Optimization

  5. Code generation.

  Symbol tables and error handlers are involved in all the above phases.
  Let us look at these stages.

  1. Lexical analysis

     The lexical analyzer reads the source program and emits tokens.
     Tokens are atomic units, which represent a sequence of characters.
     They can be treated as  single logical entitities. Identifiers,
     keywords, constants, operators, punctuation symbols etc. are
     examples of tokens. Consider the C statement,

                     return 5;



  It has 3 tokens in it. The keyword 'return', the constant 5 and the
  punctuation semicolon.

  2. Syntax analysis

     Tokens from the lexical analyzer are the input to this phase. A set
     of rules (also known as productions) will be provided for any
     programming language. This defines the grammar of the language. The
     syntax analyzer checks whether the given input is a valid one. ie.
     Whether it is permitted by the given grammar.  We can write a small
     set of productions.


             Sentence        -> Noun Verb
             Noun            -> boy  | girl | bird
             Verb            -> eats | runs | flies



  This is a grammar of no practical importance (and also no meaning).
  But it gives a rough idea about a grammar.

  A parser for a grammar takes a string as input. It can produce a parse
  tree as output. Two types of parsing are possible.  Top down parsing
  and bottom up parsing. The meaning is clear from the names. A bottom
  up parser starts from the leaves and traverse to the root of the tree.

  In the above grammar if we are given "bird flies" as input, it is
  possible to trace back to the root for a valid 'Sentence'.  One type
  of bottom-up parsing is a "shift-reduce" parsing.  The general method
  used here is to take the input symbols and push it in a stack until
  the right side of a production appears on top of the stack. In that
  case it is reduced with the left side. Thus, it consists of shifting
  the input and reducing it when possible. An LR (left to right) bottom
  up parser can be used.

  3. Intermediate Code Generation.

     Once the syntactic constructs are determined, the compiler can
     generate object code for each construct. But the compiler creates
     an intermediate form. It helps in code optimization and also to
     make a clear-cut separation between machine independent phases
     (lexical, syntax) and machine dependent phases (optimization, code
     generation).

     One form of intermediate code is a parse tree. A parse tree may
     contain variables as the terminal nodes. A binary operator will be
     having a left and right branch for operand1 and operand2.

     Another form of intermediate code is a three-address code.  It has
     got a general structure of A = B op C, where A, B and C can be
     names, constants, temporary names etc. op can be any operator.
     Postfix notation is yet another form of intermediate code.

  4. Optimization

     Optimization involves the technique of improving the object code
     created from the source program. A large number of object codes can
     be produced from the source program. Some of the object codes may
     be comparatively better. Optimization is a search for a better one
     (may not be the best, but better).

     A number of techniques are used for the optimization.  Arithmetic
     simplification, Constant folding are a few among them.  Loops are a
     major target of this phase. It is mainly because of the large
     amount of time spent by the program in inner loops.  Invariants are
     removed from the loop.

  5. Code generation

     The code generation phase converts the intermediate code generated
     into a sequence of machine instructions. If we are using simple
     routines for code generation,  it may lead to a number of redundant
     loads and stores. Such inefficient resource utilization should be
     avoided. A good code generator uses its registers efficiently.

  6. Symbol table

     A large number of names (such as variable names) will be appearing
     in the source program. A compiler needs to collect information
     about these names and use them properly. A data structure used for
     this purpose is known as a symbol table.  All the phases of the
     compiler use the symbol table in one way or other.

     Symbol table can be implemented in many ways. It ranges from the
     simple arrays to the complex hashing methods. We have to insert new
     names and information into the symbol table and also recover them
     as and when required.
  7. Error handling.

     A good compiler should be capable of detecting and reporting errors
     to the user in a most efficient manner. The error messages should
     be highly understandable and flexible. Errors can be caused because
     of a number of reasons ranging from simple typing mistakes to
     complex errors included by the compiler (which should be avoided at
     any cost).



  3.  Compiler Tools

  Two tools, Flex and Bison, are provided for the compiler development.
  If you are having a general idea regarding them you can skip the next
  two sections, since I have got nothing new to say.


  3.1.  Flex

  Flex is a fast lexical analyzer generator. As explained, the first
  phase of building a compiler is lexical analysis. Flex is an efficient
  tool for performing the pattern matching on text.  In the absence of
  Flex we will have to write our own routines for obtaining tokens from
  the input text.

  But with flex we can provide the regular expression to be matched and
  the  action to be taken when a perfect match is found. Our file will
  have an extension .l, which shows that it is a valid lex file. The
  output of the flex is a file called lex.yy.c. It has a routine yylex()
  defined in it. The file, lex.yy.c can be compiled and linked with the
  '-lfl' library to produce the executable.

  One or two examples will make the things clearer.  Create a small
  file, say lex.l with the following contents.

  %%

  "good"      { printf("bad"); }

  %%



  Produce the executable with the commands


  lex lex.l
  cc lex.yy.c -lfl



  Run the executable. We find that for each occurrence of the string
  "good", a replacement with the string "bad" is made.  For any other
  input, the input is just echoed. We here have our first lesson - the
  default action is to just copy the input to the output.

  The general structure of the flex file is



  definitions
  %%
  rules
  %%
  user code



  The definitions may contain a 'name definition'. For example,


  DIGIT [0-9]



  It defines "DIGIT" to be a regular expression, which matches a single
  digit. The main purpose of name definition is to simplify the scanner
  specification.

  Next is the 'rules' section of the flex file. The general form is


  pattern action



  where the pattern may be a regular expression. The action should
  reside on the same line of pattern. The patterns and actions are
  described below.

  In the 'rules' section it is permissible to use variable declarations
  enclosed in %{ }. It should appear before the first rule. They are
  local to the scanning routine.

  Let us look at an example.


  %{
  #define WHILE 1
  #define IF 2
  %}

  %%
  while           {return WHILE; }
  if              {return IF; }
  %%

  main()
  {
          int val;
          while (val = yylex())
                  printf("%d",val);
          printf("final =%d\n", val);
  }



  In the above program for the occurrence of "while" and "if", the
  corresponding integer value is printed. At the end, for an EOF, the
  program terminates by returning zero.



  3.1.1.  Patterns

  Here I have only mentioned about the general patterns, which will be
  required in our compiler construction. For a complete list you are
  encouraged to refer the manual page.



  `x'             match the character x.
  `.'             any character except the newline.
  `[xyz]'         either an `x' or a `y' or a `z'.
  `[a-z]'         either an `a' or a `b' ... or a `z'.
  `[^A-Z]'        any character except an uppercase letter.
  `r*'            zero or more r's.
  `r+'            one or more r's.
  `r?'            zero or one r's.
  `{name}'        the expansion of the "name" description.
                  (As explained above).
  `\x'           if x is an `a', `b', `f', `n', `r', `t' or `v'
                  then the ANSI C representation of \x. Otherwise
                  a literal `x'.
  `\0'           the NULL character.
  `(r)'           match an r.
                  parentheses to override precedence.
  `rs'            concatenation of r and s.
  `r|s'           either an r or an s



  The regular expressions mentioned above are arranged in the decreasing
  order of precedence. The topmost one has the highest precedence. In
  case of any confusion you can make use of parentheses to explicitly
  show what you mean.

  Generally, the first question that will be coming in our mind will be
  - What happens when multiple matches are found. In that case the
  scanner chooses the one with the maximum length. That is, if we have a
  file,


  %%

  "ab"                {printf("first"); }
  "abc"               {printf("second"); }

  %%



  and we are providing the input "abcd" then the two possibilities are
  "firstcd" and "secondd". The scanner prefers only the second.

  But consider the case when the lengths are same. Then the rule given
  first in the file will get preference over the other.

  Once the match is clearly defined then the corresponding action
  provided can be executed. The text corresponding to the match is
  available in 'yytext' and its length in 'yyleng', both global values.
  It is better to avoid local names starting with Its avoidance also
  contributes to better readability.



  %%

  [0-9]+  {printf("The value of first yytext is %s\n",yytext);}
  [a-z]+  {printf("The value of sec yytext is %s\n",yytext);}

  %%



  3.1.2.  Actions

  We find that for each pattern given in the lex file it has an
  associated action. The action can be any arbitrary C code.  It is
  possible to use the constructs like 'return' to return a value to the
  caller of yylex. In our compiler we need only simple actions, which
  can be understood by anyone having some knowledge with the C language.

  The above mentioned details are more than enough for our compiler. For
  the beginners it is highly recommended to try out the various examples
  and check the different variations of the regular expressions. Before
  proceeding to the next section you should have a basic idea regarding
  the Flex.


  3.2.  Bison

  Once we get used with the lexical analyzer, we are ready to meet its
  best companion - the parser generator, Bison. Given a description for
  an LALR(1) context-free grammar, it is the duty of Bison to generate a
  C program to parse that grammar.  As explained, the second stage of
  compiler construction is parsing. We are supplied with the tokens from
  the lex. We have to define a grammar for a language and see whether
  the given input is a valid one.

  Before proceeding let us look what a context free grammar is and what
  we mean by terminals and nonterminals.

  A context free grammar is a finite set of nonterminals, each of which
  represents a language. The language represented by the nonterminals is
  defined recursively in terms of each other and with the help of
  primitive symbols called terminals.

  Thus in simple words terminals are those which can't be further
  subdivided whereas  nonterminals are formed from the grouping of
  smaller constructs. It is possible to subdivide the nonterminals.

  As an example, consider the grammar

  Note: I haven't used the bison syntax in this example.


  A -> Ab
  A -> b



  It denotes all the strings having only one or more b's. Here A is a
  nonterminal because it can be divided further using the given
  productions. But b is a terminal symbol because it is not possible to
  further divide it.

  Suppose we are given a string "bbb". We have to check whether it is
  accepted by the above productions. Assume the start symbol is


  A -> Ab         {rule -1}
    -> Abb        {rule -1}
    -> bbb        {rule -2} and thus accepted.



  In Bison, generally the terminal symbols are represented in uppercase
  Ex := NUM (say, for a number) or by using character literal as in the
  case of '+'. As we expect, the nonterminals are represented by using
  lowercase letter. Ex := exp. (We'll obey this rule  when we switch to
  Bison examples. ).

  Flex and Bison work with perfect mutual understanding. A Bison grammar
  rule may say that "an expression is made of a number followed by a
  plus sign followed again by a number". The flex whenever sees a number
  informs the bison that it has found a number. That is it informs the
  presence of a token to the parser.

  The grammar rule is only concerned whether the given input obeys the
  rules. Suppose we are given a terminal symbol NUM. The grammar rules
  no longer bother whether we are having a value 1 as NUM or whether the
  value is 100. For the grammar all the numbers are just the terminal
  symbols NUM. But we may be certainly interested in the value of NUM.
  Here comes the importance of 'Semantic Values' and 'Semantic Actions'.

  Associated with each grammar rule  the parser allows us to define
  certain actions. For the above  example,



  A -> b { printf("We have found a `b'\n"); }



  In most cases the actions may not be simple as the above one. Suppose
  we are implementing a small calculator, the semantic action may be to
  perform an addition operation.

  The terminals and nonterminals present in the grammar can have an
  associated value. The value is extracted using the symbol '$n' where n
  is an integer. A rule can have a semantic value. ( Actually it is the
  value of the nonterminal represented by that rule).  It is defined by
  using the symbol '$$'.

  For example,



  exp: exp '+' exp        {$$ = $1 + $3;}


  which stands for exp -> exp '+' exp. The contents of{ } denote the
  semantic action. The semantic actions are generally made of C state�
  ments.

  In the above example, consider the right hand side of the production.
  The first exp is denoted by '$1'. The terminal symbol We find here
  that it is possible for a terminal symbol like with the grammar is
  '$$' which is the sum of the first and third token.

  Suppose we are also having a rule,



  exp: NUM        {$$ = $1;}



  Let the given input be '1 + 2'. Then the tokens 1 and 2 will match the
  NUM. The semantic value of the rule exp: exp '+' exp would be 3 due to
  the corresponding semantic action.



  3.2.1.  Bison Grammar File

  The general form of a bison parser file is



  %{
  C DECLARATIONS
  %}

  BISON DECLARATIONS

  %%
  GRAMMAR RULES
  %%

  ADDITIONAL C CODE



  The C declarations generally contain the #include's and other
  declarations. The bison declarations handle the terminals and
  nonterminals. The  productions explained in the above section form the
  Grammar rules. Additional C code contains the rest of the programs
  used (if needed).

  The ideas will be  clearer with an example. Consider a small grammar
  capable of taking lines of expressions and returning their values.

  The lexical file, lex.l is given. No explanations are given for the
  file. In case of any doubt refer the  Flex section.



  %{
  #include"parse.tab.h"
  #include<stdio.h>
  %}
  %%
  [0-9]+                  {yylval=atoi(yytext);return NUM;}
  "+"                 {return '+';}
  "*"                 {return '*';}
  "-"                 {return '-';}
  "\n"                       {return '\n';}
  "/"                 {return '/';}
  %%



  The parser file, parse.y is also given.



  %{
  #include<stdio.h>
  %}

  %token NUM
  %left '+' '-'
  %left '*' '/'

  %start line

  %%

  line:
         /* empty */
       |line exp '\n' {printf("%d\n",$2);}
       | error '\n';

  exp:      exp '+' exp {$$ = $1 + $3;}
          | exp '*' exp {$$ = $1 * $3;}
          | exp '-' exp {$$ = $1 - $3;}
          | exp '/' exp { if ($3 == 0)
                                  $$ = 0;
                          else
                                  $$ = $1/$3;}
          | NUM          {$$ = $1;};
  %%

  yyerror()
  {
          printf("Error detected in parsing\n");
  }

  main()
  {
          yyparse();
  }



  Let us explore the program line by line. Also let us look how the
  program works with the lexical file.

  The C declaration part is simple. Here we are using only stdio.h. If
  required other header files can also be included.  The second part of
  the bison file consists of the bison declarations.  Every terminals
  that are used in the file have to be declared here. Implicit terminals
  such as a character literal needn't be mentioned. Here we are only
  dealing with a single terminal called NUM. Others are character
  literals such as

  %token NUM



  completes the declaration.

  In the expression we will be handling a number of operators such as
  '+', '-', '*' and '/'. The different operators are having different
  precedence. (For example, '/' will be having more precedence than the
  '+'. '+' and '-' have the same precedence). Also the operators will be
  having different associativity. All the operators in our code are left
  associative. This information is passed to the parser with the
  following  declarations



  %left  ->  for left associative.
  %right ->  for right associative.



  The order in which the declarations are made defines the precedence.
  Higher the line number, higher will be the precedence.  If we are
  declaring "%left '/'" under "%left '+'", the '/' will have higher
  precedence. As expected declarations on same line denote equal
  precedence.

  "%start" gives information to the parser about the start symbol. If
  not defined the first production is taken as the starting one.

  Now let us move on to the Grammar rules. The first rule states that a
  line can be empty. No semantic actions are associated with that. The
  second rule



  line:   line exp '\n' {printf("%d\n",$2); }



  is the important one. It says that a line can be an expression
  followed by a newline. The left recursion used in the rule is just a
  technique used to parse multiple lines. You can avoid it if you are
  interested in parsing only a single line. The semantic action
  associated with the above rule is to print the value of the
  expression.


  The rule - line : error '\n' will be explained later.

  The rules for expression are simple. It just suggests that an
  expression can be an expression followed by any given operator and an
  expression. The rule exp: NUM provides a way to move out of the
  recursive rules. The semantic actions are just to perform the various
  operations.

  The last section of the bison file defines the other C declarations.
  We have included only two functions. The main function just invokes
  the parser; and yyerror routine prints the error message. The function
  yyerror is invoked whenever the parser meets a parse error. The rule

  line: error '\n'



  is included to detect the error and consider the error as just another
  rule. If we are not including the production, the parser will
  terminate as soon as it meets an error. The nonterminal 'error' is
  implicitly declared in the parser and we can use them without any
  declaration.

  Let us now look at the working of the parser and scanner.  Suppose we
  provide the input "1+2". The scanner returns the token NUM whenever it
  finds a number. Also the value is stored in the global variable
  'yylval' of the scanner. The parser checks whether the input is a
  valid one (according to the rules provided) and if it is, the
  corresponding actions are performed with the semantic values supplied.

  But the problem is that the terminal NUM was declared only in the
  parser file. It has to be used in the lexical file. The problem is
  avoided by using the command

  bison -d parse.y



  It causes the creation of the file parse.tab.h, which includes all the
  required declarations. We can include it in the lexer.

  Test and understand the working of the scanner and parser.  Create the
  files given above and produce the executable with the following
  commands


  lex lex.l
  bison -d parse.y
  cc parse.tab.c lex.yy.c -lfl



  The above mentioned example is a simple one capable of recognizing
  only simple lines of expressions. But what we are going to deal is a
  compiler creation for a small programming language. Although the basic
  ideas are same, we have to acquire more understanding about the parser
  to work with a programming language. Keeping this in mind let us look
  at another example.

  We create a new language with the following constructs - variable
  declarations, assignments and print statements. The lexical file is
  more or less same as the old one. But the parser file is different.
  The two files are given - lex.l and parse.y.


  lex.l

  %{
  #include"parse.tab.h"
  #include<stdio.h>
  #include<string.h>
  %}
  %%

  [0-9]+                  {yylval.val=atoi(yytext);return NUM;}
  "print"                     {return PRINT;}
  "declare"           {return DECL;}
  [a-z]([0-9]|[a-z])*     {yylval.str= strdup(yytext);return NAME;}
  "+"                 {return '+';}
  "*"                 {return '*';}
  "-"                 {return '-';}
  "\n"                       {return '\n';}
  "/"                 {return '/';}
  "="                 {return '=';}

  %%



  parse.y

  %{
  #include<stdio.h>
  #include<string.h>
  #include<stdlib.h>

          struct node{
                  char *name;
                  int value;
          };
          static struct node* sym_table[100];
  %}
  %union{
          char *str;
          int val;
  }

  %token <val> NUM
  %token <str> NAME
  %token PRINT
  %token DECL
  %left '+' '-'
  %left '*' '/'

  %type <val> exp

  %start input

  %%
  input: /* empty */
          | input line ;

  line:
         exp '\n'         {}
       | DECL NAME '\n'   {return_value($2);}
       | NAME '=' exp '\n' {assign_value($1,$3);}
       | PRINT NAME '\n'  {printf("%d\n",return_value($2));}
       | error ;

  exp:      exp '+' exp {$$ = $1 + $3;}
          | exp '*' exp {$$ = $1 * $3;}
          | exp '-' exp {$$ = $1 - $3;}
          | exp '/' exp { if ($3 == 0)
                                  $$ = 0;
                          else
                                  $$ = $1/$3;}
          | NUM         {$$ = $1;}
          | NAME        {$$ = return_value($1);};
  %%

  yyerror()
  {
          printf("Error detected in parsing\n");
  }

  int assign_value(char *s,int symvalue)
  {
          char *symname;
          int len,i;
          len=strlen(s) + 1;
          symname=malloc(sizeof(char *) * len);
          strcpy(symname,s);
          for(i=0;sym_table[i];i++)
                  if(!strcmp(symname,sym_table[i]->name)){
                          sym_table[i]->value=symvalue;
                          return symvalue;
                  }
          sym_table[i]=malloc(sizeof(struct node));
          sym_table[i]->name=symname;
          sym_table[i]->value=symvalue;
          return symvalue;
  }

  int return_value(char *s)
  {
          char *symname;
          int len,i;
          len=strlen(s) + 1;
          symname=malloc(sizeof(char *) * len);
          strcpy(symname,s);
          for(i=0;sym_table[i];i++)
                  if(!strcmp(symname,sym_table[i]->name))
                          return sym_table[i]->value;
          sym_table[i]=malloc(sizeof(struct node));
          sym_table[i]->name=symname;
          sym_table[i]->value=0;
          return 0;
  }

  main()
  {
          yyparse();
  }



  In the parser file we find a new declaration %union. It is used to
  define the entire list of possible types. In the first example we had
  to work with only integers. But here the values can have more than one
  type. This information is passed through %union declaration. Since
  more than one type exists, the type information has to be specified
  for all the terminals and nonterminals whose semantic values are used
  in the grammar rules. It is shown in angle brackets. In the example we
  are making use of semantic values of NAME and NUM but not of PRINT and
  DECL. Similar changes are also made in the lexical file for 'yylval'.


  %type <val> exp



  is used to define the nonterminal and to specify the type.

  The rest of the file is easy to understand. Whenever we see a new
  identifier we insert it into the symbol table. For new identifiers the
  initial value is made to be zero. Assignment statements cause the
  specified value to be stored in the symbol table. Two functions -
  assign_value and return_value are used for the symbol table
  manipulations.



  4.  GCC Front End

  GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) is essentially divided into a front end
  and a back end. The main reason for this division is for providing
  code reusability. As all of us know GCC supports a variety of
  languages. This includes C, C++, Java etc.


  If you want to introduce a new language into GCC, you can. The only
  thing you have to do is to create a new front end for that language.

  The back end is same for all the languages. Different front ends exist
  for different languages. So creating a compiler in GCC means creating
  a new front end. Experimentally let us try to introduce a new language
  into the GCC.

  We have to keep certain things in mind before we introduce a language.
  The first thing is that we are adding a segment to a huge code. For
  perfect working we have to add some routines, declare some variables
  etc. which may be required by the other code segments. Secondly some
  errors produced by us may take the back end into an inconsistent
  state. Little information will be available to us about the mistake.
  So we have to go through our code again and again and understand what
  went wrong.  Sometimes this can be accomplished only through trial and
  error method.


  4.1.  Tree and rtl

  Let me give a general introduction to tree structure and rtl.  From my
  experience a person developing a new small front end need not have a
  thorough idea regarding tree structure and rtl. But you should have a
  general idea regarding these.


  Tree is the central data structure of the gcc front end. It is a
  perfect one for the compiler development. A tree node is capable of
  holding integers, reals ,complex, strings etc. Actually a tree is a
  pointer type. But the object to which it points may vary.  If we are
  just taking the example of an integer node of a tree, it is a
  structure containing an integer value, some flags and some space for
  rtl (These flags are common to all the nodes). There are a number of
  flags. Some of them are flags indicating whether the node is read only
  , whether it is of unsigned type etc. The complete information about
  trees can be obtained from the files - tree.c, tree.h and tree.def.
  But for our requirement there are a large number of functions and
  macros provided by the GCC, which helps us to manipulate the tree.  In
  our program we won't be directly handling the trees. Instead we use
  function calls.

  RTL stands for register transfer language. It is the intermediate code
  handled by GCC. Each and every tree structure that we are building has
  to be changed to rtl so that the back end can work with it perfectly.
  I am not trying in anyway to explain about rtl. Interested readers are
  recommended to see the manual of GCC. As with the trees GCC provides
  us a number of functions to produce the rtl code from the trees. So in
  our compiler we are trying to build the tree and convert it to rtl for
  each and every line of the program.  Most of the rtl routines take the
  trees as arguments and emit the rtl statements.

  So I hope that you are having a vague idea about what we are going to
  do. The tree building and rtl generation can be considered as two
  different phases. But they are intermixed and can't be considered
  separately. There is one more phase that the front end is expected to
  do. It is the preliminary optimization phase.  It includes techniques
  like constant folding, arithmetic simplification etc. which we can
  handle in the front end. But I am totally ignoring that phase to
  simplify our front end. Our optimization is completely dependent on
  the back end. I also assume that you are perfect programmers. It is to
  avoid error routines from front end.  All the steps are taken to
  simplify the code as much as possible.

  From now onwards our compiler has only three phases - lexical, syntax
  and intermediate code generation. Rest is the head ache of the back
  end.


  5.  Installing the GCC

  Let us begin with the preliminaries. I assume that you have down
  loaded the source code of GCC. The different steps of installation of
  GCC are given with it. But I add it here for completeness.

  Like most GNU software GCC must be configured before it is built. Let
  the GCC source code be in a directory called is to be built. Create
  one more directory called 'local' where the tools will be accumulated.
  Let our current directory be /home/name. Now we have
  /home/name/srcdir, /home/name/objdir and /home/name/local.

  To configure GCC use the command

  cd objdir

  /home/name/srcdir/configure --prefix=/home/name/local/



  When we complete the creation of our language add one more option,

  --enable-languages=demo



  where demo is the new language we are going to develop.  The second
  step required is the building process. It is accomplished with the
  command


  make bootstrap-lean



  The last step is the final installation procedure. It is done with the
  command


  make install



  We can start our procedure of developing a new language.

  6.  Getting started

  According to the formal GNU philosophy, each language that is present
  in the GCC (ie. for languages having separate front ends) should have
  a subdirectory of its own. So the first thing the GCC expects from us
  is a separate directory . Let us create a new subdirectory in the
  srcdir/gcc with the name of our language (say 'demo').

  As explained before gcc expects a number of files and functions. In
  our directory also there should be some files present. The first thing
  that should be present is a make file.  It is divided into two, Make-
  lang.in and Makefile.in. Both are part of the main make file of gcc.

  Make-lang.in is actually included in the main make file of the gcc and
  from there (objdir/gcc) it calls the make in the language directory.
  So the filenames should be provided with full path names. Don't try to
  give relative ones. The file gives information about the source files
  of our language. So it is here that we should specify the files that
  is required for our language.

  Makefile.in is used to create the make file in the language directory.
  It is included in the language directory.

  The third file expected by the gcc is config-lang.in. It is used by
  the file srcdir/gcc/configure (a shell script).

  The fourth file gcc expects is lang-specs.h. This file helps in the
  modification of the gcc driver program. The driver has to understand
  the presence of our new language. This is neatly accomplished by this
  file. It is here that the details like extensions of our language
  exists. You can specify them according to your taste.

  Now the most important thing. No one is expecting you to create all
  these files from scratch. The best method is to copy these files from
  any existing directory and make the relevant changes. The changes may
  include some modifications in the name of the language, the files used
  by us, the extensions of our choice etc.

  All the information provided are from my observation and sometimes
  there may be variations in the above details.


  6.1.  Call back routines


  As already explained we are going to use a major part of the gcc for
  compiling our language. So it is our responsibility to define some
  functions and variables which are used by the back end. Most of them
  are of no direct help to us. But back end expects it, so we should
  provide it.

  As in the above case it is better to copy from some existing front
  ends. But let's have a general idea of what each function is. If you
  find this section boring you can skip this section but don't skip the
  inclusion of these routines in your program.



  type_for_size(unsigned precision, int unsignedp)


  It returns a tree of integer type with number of bits given by the
  argument precision. If unsignedp is nonzero, then it is unsigned type,
  else it is signed type.


  init_parse(char *filename)



  It initialize parsing.


  finish_parse()


  It does the parsing cleanup.


  lang_init_options()


  Language specific initialization option processing.


  lang_print_xnode(FILE *file,tree t,int i)


  Required by gcc. Don't know what exactly it does.


  type_for_mode(enum machine_mode mode,int unsignedp)


  It returns a tree type of the desired mode given by us. mode repre�
  sents machine data type like whole number. unsignedp, as usual is used
  for obtaining an unsigned type or else a signed type is returned.


  unsigned_type(tree type_node)


  Returns the unsigned version of type_node.


  signed_type(tree type_node)


  Returns the signed version of type_node.


  signed_or_unsigned_type(int unsignedp, tree type)


  Returns signed or unsigned tree node depending upon unsignedp.


  global_bindings_p()


  Returns nonzero if we are currently in the global binding level.


  getdecls()


  Returns the list of declarations in the current level, but in reverse
  order.


  kept_level_p()


  It is nonzero when a 'BLOCK' must be created for the current level of
  symbol table.

  pushlevel(int ignore)


  Enter a new binding level. A symbol name used before in another bind�
  ing level is covered when entered into a new level.


  poplevel(int keep, int reverse, int functionbody)


  Removes a new level created by pushlevel. The symbol table status is
  regained (which was present before the pushlevel).


  insert_block(tree block)


  Insert block at the end of the list of subblocks of the current bind�
  ing level.


  set_block(tree block)


  Sets the block for the current scope.


  pushdecl(tree decl)


  Inserts the declaration, decl into the symbol table and returns the
  tree back.


  init_decl_processing()


  Initializes the symbol table. It sets global variables and inserts
  other variables into the symbol table.


  lang_decode_option(int a, char **p)


  It decodes all language specific options that cannot be decoded by the
  GCC. Returns 1 if successful, otherwise 0.


  lang_init()


  Performs all the initialization steps required by the front end.  It
  includes setting certain global variables.


  lang_finish()


  Performs all front end specific clean up.


  lang_identify()


  Returns a short string identifying the language to the debugger.

  maybe_build_cleanup(tree decl)


  Creates a tree node, which represents an automatic cleanup action.


  incomplete_type_error(tree value, tree type)


  Prints an error message for invalid use of incomplete type.


  truthvalue_conversion(tree expr)


  It returns the same expr, but in a type which represents truthvalues.


  mark_addressable(tree expr)


  Marks expr as a construct which need an address in storage.


  print_lang_statics()


  Prints any language-specific compilation statics.


  copy_lang_decl(tree node)


  It copies the declarations if DECL_LANG_SPECIFIC is nonzero.


  print_lang_decl(FILE *file, tree node, int indent)


  Outputs the declaration for node with indentation depth indent to the
  file, file.


  print_lang_type(FILE *file, tree node, int indent)


  Outputs the type for node with indentation depth indent to the file,
  file.


  print_lang_identifier(FILE *file, tree node, int indent)


  Outputs the identifier for node with indentation depth indent to the
  file, file.


  int_lex()


  Performs whatever initialization steps are required by the language
  dependent lexical analyzer.


  set_yydebug()

  Sets some debug flags for the parser.


  yyerror(char *s)


  Routine to print parse error message.


  language_string


  A character string to hold the name of our language. say, demo.


  flag_traditional


  A variable needed by the file dwarfout.c


  error_mark_node


  A tree node used to define errors. It represents a partial tree. It is
  of great help when some errors occur in the syntax analysis phase.


  integer_type_node, char_type_node, void_type_node


  Clear from the names.


  integer_zero_node, integer_one_node


  Constants of type integer_type_node with values 0 and 1 respectively.



  7.  Creating our own front end

  7.1.  Our Aim

  We are going to develop a small new language with the following
  constructs - assignments, variable declarations, if and while
  statements etc. We are not going to directly compile our program but
  we are making the GCC to do the required operations and produce the
  machine code. Let's have a name to our language.  I have given the
  name "demo", since it shows how to develop a new compiler. The syntax
  I am going to choose is a combination of Pascal and C so that it would
  be familiar to programmers of both the languages.

  Our role is to clearly specify the syntax of our language and create a
  tree structure for the language. We will be creating the RTL from the
  tree structure. After that, it is the duty of the back end to produce
  an optimized output. We will be concentrating only on the tree
  structure creation and rtl conversion.

  A number of functions and macros for handling the trees and rtl will
  be specified. Also a short description of what each does is  given.
  The language that is being explained deals with only integer values so
  that we can avoid unnecessary type conversion complications.
  7.2.  Expressions

  Let me start our language with the basic unit, expression.  Here we
  have to perform only tree structure creation. It is possible with the
  help of a function called 'build'.

  build(PLUS_EXPR, type, left, right)  returns a tree for addition
  operation. Here left and right are two trees supplied by us for
  addition. We have one and only one type - the integer type. So there
  is no confusion regarding that.

  Similarly, we have build1 used for operations like negations as shown

  build1(NEGATE_EXPR,type,expression) where expression is the tree to be
  negated. It is used in case of unary operators.

  And at last we can create a tree for simple whole numbers as shown

  build_int_2(int num, num >=0 ? 0 : -1) to create a tree for the
  specific number. Actually, the two parameters passed are the low and
  high values of type HOST_WIDE_INT. But let us understand it like this
  - We have to set the second parameter of the function to show the
  correct sign. This is actually a macro invoking the function
  build_int_2_wide.

  Now we have an idea regarding the creation of trees for building
  expressions. Let us directly write the parsing segment for tree
  creation for expressions.


  exp:  NUM     { $$ = build_int_2 ($1, $1 >= 0 ? 0 : -1); }
       | exp '+' exp  { $$ = build (PLUS_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '-' exp  { $$ = build (MINUS_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '*' exp  { $$ = build (MULT_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '/' exp  { $$ = build (TRUNC_DIV_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '%' exp  { $$ = build (TRUNC_MOD_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | '-' exp %prec NEG { $$ = build1 (NEGATE_EXPR, integer_type_node, $2); }
       | '(' exp ')'  { $$ = $2; }



  Now I am directly giving the lexical file required by demo language.
  No explanation is provided because of its simplicity.



  %%
  [ \n\t]         ;                   // white space
  [0-9]+          {yylval.ival = atoi(yytext); return NUM;}   // integers
  var             {return VAR;}       // variable declaration
  return          {return RETURN;}    // return
  if              {return IF;}        // if
  then            {return THEN;}      // then
  else            {return ELSE;}      // else
  endif           {return ENDIF;}     // endif
  while           {return WHILE;}     // while
  endwhile        {return ENDWHILE;}  // endwhile
  begin           {return BEGIN;}     // begin
  end             {return END;}       // end
  "<"            {return LT;}        // less than
  ">"             {return GT;}        // greater than
  "=="            {return EQ;}        // equal to
  [a-zA-Z]+       {yylval.name = strdup(yytext); return NAME;}
                                  // function/variable name
  .               {return yytext[0];} // match all single characters
  %%



  Let's also present the grammar we are going to develop so that I
  needn't repeat it always.



  %union{
          tree exp;       //Tree node developed by us.
          int ival;       //Integer value for constants.
          char *name;     //Name of function or variables.
  }



  input:            fndef body ;

  fndef:            NAME '(' ')';

  body:             BEGIN declarations compstmts END;

  declarations:     /*empty */
                  | declarations VAR NAME

  compstmts:        /*empty */
                  | compstmts statements;

  statements:       exp
                  | assignstmt
                  | ifstmt
                  | whilestmt
                  | returnstmt;

  assignstmt:       NAME '=' exp;

  whilestmt:        head loopbody;
  head:             WHILE exp
  loopbody:         compstmts ENDWHILE

  ifstmt:           ifpart thenpart elsepart;
  ifpart:           IF exp;
  thenpart:         THEN compstmts;
  elsepart:         ELSE compstmts ENDIF;

  returnstmt:       RETURN exp;

  exp:              NUM
                  | exp '+' exp
                  | exp '-' exp
                  | exp '*' exp
                  | exp '/' exp
                  | NAME;



  I will be developing our "demo" language in a step by step procedure.
  Starting from expressions we will move steadily to the end. At each
  stage a new construct will be introduced in the language. So in the
  final stage the "demo" language obeys the above grammar in all
  respect.

  In the bison code above, I haven't provided the semantic actions for
  the productions.  It will be introduced as we are studying to develop
  trees and rtl conversion.

  Also in each stage I will be providing you only the required bison
  segments. You can look at the above grammar to understand the overall
  working.



  7.3.  Functions

  Let us insert our expression inside a function. A large number of
  steps have to be invoked for a function. It ranges from setting up the
  parameters to the announcement of our declaration.  The required tree
  and rtl functions are described in a step by step manner below. Most
  of the functions dealing with trees start with a 'build' and will be
  returning a tree structure. (I haven't explicitly given this fact
  everywhere. You should understand it by the way the functions
  involving trees are used.)  We are going to build the tree using the
  functions provided by the GCC. Using the tree structure we will be
  creating the rtls.

  For the functions provided by the GCC, the arguments are explained
  only if it is of any relative importance.

  Let us write the routine for function handling.  The given code builds
  a function with name, "name".



  build_function_decl (char *name)
  {
  tree param_list;  //param_list is of type tree. Similarly others.
  tree param_type_list;
  tree fntype;
  tree fndecl; // Consider it as a global value.
               // It will be required quite often.



  /*First of all we have to arrange the parameters that are involved in
  the function. Suppose, we have "hello(int a, int b)" then a and b form
  the parameters. a and b have to be made available to the function.
  But since this is our first attempt, we are assuming that the function
  doesn't involve any parameters. So param_list is made to be a
  NULL_TREE (which is a NULL of type tree).  */

  param_list = NULL_TREE;



  /*Next is the type of the parameters. The function always take a fixed
  number of parameters. Since we don't have any parameters in the
  current example, we are invoking the function, tree_cons as shown. The
  first field is a purpose field and the last one is a chain field (for
  linking together different types like integers).  We will be
  explaining more about this when we pass some parameters.  */

  param_type_list = tree_cons(NULL_TREE, void_type_node, NULL_TREE);



  /*Alright, we are done with the parameters. ie. the parameters and the
  type. We needn't bother about them. Now let's look at the function.
  The first thing is the type of the function. It depends on the return
  type and the parameter type. We consider our function as one returning
  an integer value. So the first argument of build_function is integer.
  The second one deals with parameters.  The type of the parameters is
  given in the param_type_list.  */

  fntype = build_function_type(integer_type_node, param_type_list);



  /*Next is the function declaration. It is possible with the function
  build_decl. The first argument says that it is a function declaration.
  The second one involves a function, get_identifier. It returns a tree
  whose name is "name". If an identifier with that name has been
  previously referred to, then the same tree node is returned. Since
  this is the first time we are using this, a new tree node is returned.
  The last argument deals with the type of the function.  */

  fndecl = build_decl(FUNCTION_DECL, get_identifier(name), fntype);



  /*Here comes the flags. They are invoked through special macros given
  below*/

  /*If nonzero, it means external reference. Needn't allocate storage.
  There is a definition elsewhere. But we need to make a definition here
  itself and hence zero.  */

  DECL_EXTERNAL(fndecl) = 0;



  /* non zero means function can be accessed from outside the module.*/

  TREE_PUBLIC(fndecl) = 1;



  /* non zero means function has been defined and not declared. */

  TREE_STATIC(fndecl) = 1;



  /* It declares the argument of the function (which is stored in
  param_list)*/

  DECL_ARGUMENTS(fndecl) = param_list;



  /* It makes the declaration for the return value.*/

  DECL_RESULT(fndecl) =
          build_decl(RESULT_DECL, NULL_TREE, integer_type_node);



  /*It declares the context of the result. ie. We inform the result,
  that its scope is fndecl.*/

  DECL_CONTEXT( DECL_RESULT( fndecl)) = fndecl;



  /*Creates the rtl for the function declaration.  The first argument
  gives the tree for the function declaration The second parameter deals
  with assembler symbol name. We don't want it here. We make it NULL.
  Let's look at third and fourth parameters later. Interested readers
  can refer toplev.c */

  rest_of_decl_compilation (fndecl, NULL_PTR, 1, 0);



  /*This gives idea regarding where the declaration is in the source
  code */

  DECL_SOURCE_FILE( fndecl) = input_filename;
  DECL_SOURCE_LINE( fndecl) = 1;



  /* This function is just used to print the name of the function
  "name", on stderr if required */

  announce_function( fndecl);



  /* Let the GCC know the name of the function being compiled.*/

  current_function_decl = fndecl;



  /* It holds the tree of bindings. Just a method used here to make a
  partial tree. Don't bother about that.  */

  DECL_INITIAL( fndecl) = error_mark_node;



  /* All tree and rtl are allocated in temporary memory. Used per
  function.  */

  temporary_allocation();



  /*pushlevel is explained in call back. Here, it requires a push at the
  start of any function.  */

  pushlevel(0);



  /*create function rtl for function definition. */

  make_function_rtl( fndecl);



  /*Generate rtl for the start of a function, fndecl. The second and
  third parameters denote the file and the line */

  init_function_start(fndecl, input_filename, 1);



  /*Let's start the rtl for a new function. It also sets the variables
  used for emitting rtl. The second parameter shows that there is no
  cleanup associated with. If it is made nonzero, cleanup will be run
  when a return statement is met.  */

  expand_function_start(fndecl, 0);



  /*It generates the rtl code for entering a new binding level.*/

  expand_start_bindings(0);

  } //end of build_function_decl



  All the above mentioned functions are invoked when, one enters a
  function. When we are leaving the function certain other things have
  to be done. These are explained in the code below.


  build_function() {

  /*Let's build the tree and emit the rtl for the return statement.  In
  order to avoid an extra tree variable, I have included the tree
  creation and rtl conversion in a single statement. First build a tree
  of type result for 'fndecl'. I am always returning zero from our
  simple function. If you intend to return any other value, replace
  integer_zero_node with the other corresponding tree structure.
  expand_return creates the rtl for the tree.  */

  expand_return (build (MODIFY_EXPR, void_type_node, DECL_RESULT(fndecl),
                  integer_zero_node));



  /*Emit rtl for the end of bindings. Just like start bindings */

  expand_end_bindings (NULL_TREE, 1, 0);



  /* We have pushed. So don't forget to pop */

  poplevel (1, 0, 1);



  /*Emit rtl for the end of function. Just like starting */

  expand_function_end (input_file_name, 1, 0);



  /*Compile the function, output the assembler code, Free the tree
  storage.  */

  rest_of_compilation (fndecl);



  /*We are free now */

  current_function_decl=0;



  /* Free everything in temporary store. Argument 1 shows that, we have
  just finished compiling a function */


  permanent_allocation (1);
  }



  We have understood the working of functions and expressions.  Let's
  add the required semantic actions for functions and expressions.


  input:  fndef body      { build_function(); };
  fndef:  NAME '(' ')'    { build_function_decl ($1); };


  exp:  NUM     { $$ = build_int_2 ($1, $1 >= 0 ? 0 : -1); }
       | exp '+' exp  { $$ = build (PLUS_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '-' exp  { $$ = build (MINUS_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '*' exp  { $$ = build (MULT_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '/' exp  { $$ = build (TRUNC_DIV_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | exp '%' exp  { $$ = build (TRUNC_MOD_EXPR, integer_type_node, $1, $3); }
       | '-' exp %prec NEG { $$ = build1 (NEGATE_EXPR, integer_type_node, $2); }
       | '(' exp ')'  { $$ = $2; }



  7.3.1.  Example demo program 1


  foo()
     begin
          1+2*3
     end



  7.4.  Variable Declaration

  What is our current status? We have with us a function and an
  expression, which is good for nothing. Our language will be more
  beautiful with the presence of variables, which can be assigned and
  returned.

  So the next step is to declare variables. As usual we have to build
  trees and convert it to rtl. When we are making a variable declaration
  as


  var a;    // I prefer PASCAL syntax. Just a matter of taste.



  we have to store the value of 'a' because when it is used later in an
  expression, say a+1, we have to use the same 'a'.

  We can define two arrays of our own var_name[ ] and var_decls[ ] as
  shown.


  char *var_name[100];    //global array ie. initialized to zero.
  tree var_decls[100];    //global array



  I hope the reader has understood that the first one is used to store
  the name of variables in "demo" and the second one to store the
  corresponding tree structures that are built.

  Let's directly look at the code.


  void add_var(char *name)
  {
    int i;
  /*Add the name given, as the last name in the array */
    for(i=0;var_name[i];i++);
  /* Store the name */
    var_name[i] = name;
  /*Build the tree structure for the variable declared
  All the parameters are explained before.
  Thus we have name of the variable stored in var_name[] and
  tree stored in var_decls[ ]*/
    var_decls[i] =
    build_decl (VAR_DECL, get_identifier(name), integer_type_node);
  /* Explained before*/
    DECL_CONTEXT (var_decls[i]) = fndecl;
  /*We are just making the initial value of the variable declared
  as zero. This is a matter of taste. */
    DECL_INITIAL (var_decls[i]) = integer_zero_node;
  /*push to the current scope. Explained before*/
    pushdecl (var_decls[i]);
  /* Emit the rtl for the variable declaration*/
    expand_decl (var_decls[i]);
  /* Emit the rtl for the initialization. ie. Initialized to zero*/
    expand_decl_init (var_decls[i]);
  }



  From now onwards I am not going to give the bison file fully.  I'll be
  providing only the segments modified by us in each stage.  Please do
  refer the bison file provided above in case of any doubt.

  The bison segment for variable declaration is given by

  declarations:    /*empty */
                |  declarations VAR NAME          { add_var($3); };



  Combining the variable declaration with the above syntax for functions
  and expressions, we have another example of a "demo" program.

  7.4.1.  Example demo program 2


  foo()
    begin
          var a
          var b
          1+2*3-1
    end



  7.5.  Assignments

  A number of variables and expressions one below the other doesn't help
  us in any way to do anything useful. For that we need assignments.
  Let's study the tree structure building and rtl conversion for
  assignments.

  The general format of an assignment statement is "a = 10".  Operations
  required for it is to store the value, 10 in 'a'. We had created the
  tree structure for 'a' and stored it in var_decls[] at the time of
  variable declaration. So our duty is to retrieve the tree structure of
  'a' and assign the value, say 10 in it.

  We seek the help of a function called "get_var" to retrieve the tree
  structure of the variable. The code is given below


  tree get_var(char *name)
  {
    int i;
  /*Search for the name "name" in the variable name table, var_name[]
    for(i=0;var_name[i];i++)
  /*If found, return the corresponding tree structure of "name"
       if( !strcmp (var_name[i], name))
          return var_decls[i];
  }



  The above function gets us the tree structure of the variable.  The
  only task left is to build the tree structure for assignment and the
  rtl conversion. It is achieved by the following function.


  make_assign (tree vartree, tree valtree)
  {
    tree assign;

  /* Create the tree. Explained before.
    assign =
       build (MODIFY_EXPR, integer_type_node, vartree, valtree);

  /*Non zero values means that there is a side effect and re evaluation
    of the whole expression could produce a different value. The
    optimization phase takes this into consideration.
  */
    TREE_SIDE_EFFECTS (assign) = 1;

  /* Indicates that the tree node is used */
    TREE_USED (assign) = 1;

  /* Emit the rtl for the assign tree */
    expand_expr_stmt (assign);
  }



  We have also studied the tree creation and rtl conversion for
  assignment construct. Now it is time to give the semantic action in
  the bison file for assignment.


  assignstmt:     NAME = exp      { make_assign ( get_var($1), $3); };



  7.6.  Expressions revisited

  The expressions that we are using now is capable of working with
  numbers only. ie. We can give expressions as "1+2", "1+2*3" etc. But
  it is not possible for us to work with variable names as "a+1",
  "b+a-5" etc.
  Let us modify our expressions to include variable names also. The task
  of inclusion is simple. We have to get the tree structure of the
  variable name. We have a function "get_var" in our hand which is
  capable of doing it.

  So let us look at the semantic action for this


  exp:    NAME            { $$ = get_var ($1); };



  7.6.1.  Example demo program 3


  hello()
    begin
          var i
          var j
          var k
          i = 10
          j = 20
          k = i + j
    end



  7.7.  Return

  The above program would be more beautiful if it is possible for us to
  return the sum calculated. So our next step will be the inclusion of
  return construct.

  I have already mentioned about the tree creation for 'return' when I
  explained the 'function'. But at that time we returned only zero. Now
  let us return an expression in the place of zero.

  ret_stmt (tree expr)
  {
    tree ret;
  /* build the tree node for return. The arguments are explained
      before. 'fndecl' is the global variable that we have defined
      before, for our function.
  */
    ret =
        build (MODIFY_EXPR, integer_type_node, DECL_RESULT(fndecl),
                expr);

  /*emits the rtl */
    expand_return (ret);
  }



  Let's look the bison segment straightly


  returnstmt:     RETURN exp      { ret_stmt ($2) ; };



  7.7.1.  Example demo program 4


  hello()
    begin
          var i
          var j
          var k
          i = 10
          j = 20
          k = i + j
          return k
    end



  7.8.  Conditional statement

  In the case of 'if' construct our task is different from the above. We
  have to clearly give information to GCC regarding where the if
  construct begins, where the 'else' part begins and where the if
  construct ends.

  GCC supplies us rtl statements, which are capable of performing the
  above tasks. The rtl statements are given below



  expand_start_cond (tree cond, int exitflag)



  It generates an rtl for the start of an if-then. 'cond' is the
  expression whose truth is to be checked. Consider exitflag to be zero.


  expand_start_else ()
  expand_end_cond ()



  These causes the rtl code generation for start of 'else' and for the
  end of 'if construct' respectively.

  Now we can use the above functions in our bison file.



  ifstmt  :       ifpart thenpart elsepart        { expand_end_cond (); };
  ifpart  :       IF exp                  { expand_start_cond ($2, 0); };
  thenpart:       THEN compstmts          { expand_start_else (); };
  elsepart:       ELSE compstmts ENDIF            ;



  7.8.1.  Example demo program 5



  example()
    begin
          var x
          var y
          x = 100
          if (x) then
                  y = 1
          else
                  y = 0
          endif
          return y
    end



  7.9.  Loops

  Loops are same as conditional statements. We have to provide the start
  of the loop, end of the loop and the expression to be checked for
  truthness.

  The rtl statements meant for the above operations are


  struct nesting *expand_start_loop (int exit_flag)
  expand_exit_loop_if_false (struct nesting *whichloop, tree cond)
  expand_end_loop()



  The first one denotes the rtl for start of a loop. 'exit_flag' is
  zero.  The return type is struct nesting *, which is used in the
  second statement. The second statement is used for generating a
  conditional jump to exit the current loop, if 'cond' evaluates to
  zero. The third statement is the rtl for end of a loop. It generates a
  jump back to the top of the loop. The ideas will be clearer with the
  bison file.



  whilestmt:      head loopbody   { expand_end_loop(); };

  head :          WHILE exp       { struct nesting *loop;
                                    loop = expand_start_loop (0);
                                    expand_exit_loop_if_false (loop, $2);
                                  };

  loopbody:       compstmts ENDWHILE      ;



  7.9.1.  Example demo program 6


  test()
    begin
          var i
          i = 100
          while (i)
                  i = i-1
          endwhile
          return i
    end

  8.  Demo front end

  A front end for our demo language is provided at http:// www.gec-
  fsug.org/gcc-front/demo.tar.gz.

  It has been tested with the GCC (version 2.95.3) back end. You can
  make experiments with the front end. Try to add more constructs.
  Constructs such as for loops, repeat until, case structure, else if,
  can be easily added in our demo language.

  If you're successful with the creation of a new front end, please do
  send it to us, so that it would be a great help for the newcomers in
  the field of GCC front ends.


  9.  See also

  When I began the creation of a new front end the only source of
  information was an article 'Writing a Compiler Front End' from 'Using
  Maintaining and Enhancing Cobol for the GNU Compiler Collection' by
  Tim Josling.

  Details regarding GCC can be obtained from the home page of GCC.
  Information was also obtained from the GCC manual that is available
  with each distribution of GCC.

  But the vital source of information is the front ends of other
  languages. But I'll never recommend them for the beginner.  Once you
  are on  track then they will be of great help to you.







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