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Language translators convert programming source code into language that the computer processor understands. Programming source code has various structures and commands, but computer processors only understand machine language. Different types of translations must occur to turn programming source code into machine language, which is made up of bits of binary data. The three major types of language translators are compilers, assemblers, and interpreters.
Most 3GL and higher-level programming languages use a compiler for language translation. A compiler is a special program that takes written source code and turns it into machine language. When a compiler executes, it analyzes all of the language statements in the source code and builds the machine language object code. After a program is compiled, it is then a form that the processor can execute one instruction at a time. In some operating systems, an additional step called linking is required after compilation. Linking resolves the relative location of instructions and data when more than one object module needs to be run at the same time and both modules cross-reference each otherüs instruction sequences or data. Most high-level programming languages come with a compiler. However, object code is unique for each type of computer. Many different compilers exist for each language in order to translate for each type of computer. In addition, the compiler industry is quite competitive, so there are actually many compilers for each language on each type of computer. Although they require an extra step before execution, compiled programs often run faster than programs executed using an interpreter. A compiler is a computer program (or set of programs) that transforms source code written in a computer language (the source language) into another computer language (the target language, often having a binary form known as object code). The most common reason for wanting to transform source code is to create an executable program. The name "compiler" is primarily used for programs that translate source code from a high-level programming language to a lower level language (e.g., assembly language or machine code). A program that translates from a low level language to a higher level one is a decompiler. A program that translates between high-level languages is usually called a language translator, source to source translator, or language converter. A language rewriter is usually a program that translates the form of expressions without a change of language. A compiler is likely to perform many or all of the following operations: lexical analysis, preprocessing, parsing, semantic analysis, code generation, and code optimization.
Line reconstruction. Preprocessing. some languages such as Scheme support macro substitutions based on syntactic forms.. e. Compiling involves performing lots of work and early computers did not have enough memory to contain one program that did all of this work. Languages which strop their keywords or allow arbitrary spaces within identifiers require a phase before parsing. a data structure mapping each symbol in the source code to associated information such as location. identifier or symbol name. for instance a keyword. Some languages.g. The top-down. So compilers were split up into smaller programs which each made a pass over the source (or some representation of it) performing some of the required analysis and translations. However. It also manages the symbol table. which converts the input character sequence to a canonical form ready for the parser.a) NATIVE AND CROSS COMPILERS A native or hosted compiler is one whose output is intended to directly run on the same type of computer and operating system that the compiler itself runs on. e. require a preprocessing phase which supports macro substitution and conditional compilation. 2. The front end analyzes the source code to build an internal representation of the program. Atlas Autocode. called the intermediate representation or IR. recursive-descent. The token syntax is typically a regular language. and the software doing lexical analysis is called a lexical analyzer or scanner. b) ONE PASS AND MULTI PASS COMPILERS Classifying compilers by number of passes has its background in the hardware resource limitations of computers. Typically the preprocessing phase occurs before syntactic or semantic analysis. This phase is also called lexing or scanning. type and scope. the preprocessor manipulates lexical tokens rather than syntactic forms. C..g. The ability to compile in a single pass is often seen as a benefit because it simplifies the job of writing a compiler and one pass compilers generally compile faster than multi-pass compilers. Many languages were designed so that they could be compiled in a single pass (e. so a finite state automaton constructed from a regular expression can be used to recognize it. which includes some of the following: 1. Pascal). in the case of C. This is done over several phases. and Imp (and some implementations of Algol and Coral66) are examples of stropped languages whose compilers would have a Line Reconstruction phase. 3. Each token is a single atomic unit of the language.g. For this reason such compilers are not usually classified as native or cross compilers. The output of a compiler that produces code for a virtual machine (VM) may or may not be executed on the same platform as the compiler that produced it. The output of a cross compiler is designed to run on a different platform. Lexical analysis breaks the source code text into small pieces called tokens. Cross compilers are often used when developing software for embedded systems that are not intended to support a software development environment. table-driven parsers used in the 1960s typically read the source one character at a time and did not require a separate tokenizing phase. .
though it is often possible to fold multiple phases into one pass over the code in a compiler implementation. Semantic analysis is the phase in which the compiler adds semantic information to the parse tree and builds the symbol table. or object binding (associating variable and function references with their definitions). and logically precedes the code generation phase. and by resolving symbolic names for memory locations and other entities. but assembly language uses names instead of numbers. One-pass assemblers go through the source code once and assumes that all symbols will be defined before any instruction that references them. Sun SPARC. such as MIPS. and transformed by later phases in the compiler. This phase typically builds a parse tree. and have been available since the 1950s. meaning that this phase logically follows the parsing phase. saving tedious calculations and manual address updates after program modifications. Two-pass assemblers (and multi-pass assemblers) create a table with all unresolved symbols in the first pass. This phase performs semantic checks such as type checking (checking for type errors). 2. instead of in a subroutine. as well as x86(-64). Most assemblers also include macro facilities for performing textual substitution—e. the assembler takes basic computer instructions from assembly language and converts them into a pattern of bits for the computer processor to use to perform its operations.which is not as important as it once was with advances in computer speed and .g. which replaces the linear sequence of tokens with a tree structure built according to the rules of a formal grammar which define the language's syntax. Assembly language is one step removed from machine language. Assembler An assembler translates assembly language into machine language. but it is specific to translating programs written in assembly language into machine language. Syntax analysis involves parsing the token sequence to identify the syntactic structure of the program. or definite assignment (requiring all local variables to be initialized before use). Typically a modern assembler creates object code by translating assembly instruction mnemonics into opcodes. rejecting incorrect programs or issuing warnings. and HP PA-RISC. optimize instruction scheduling to exploit the CPU pipeline efficiently. to generate common short sequences of instructions to run inline. To do this. Modern assemblers. then use the 2nd pass to resolve these addresses. It uses computer-specific commands and structure similar to machine language. The advantage in one-pass assemblers is speed ..4. Semantic analysis usually requires a complete parse tree. 5. especially for RISC based architectures. There are two types of assemblers based on how many passes through the source are needed to produce the executable program. augmented. The use of symbolic references is a key feature of assemblers. An assembler is similar to a compiler. The parse tree is often analyzed. Assemblers are generally simpler to write than compilers for high-level languages.
Many interpreters do not execute the source code as it stands but convert it into some more compact internal form. Some systems (e. some LISPs) allow interpreted and compiled code to call each other and to share variables. interfaces 3. classes. including structures/records.. a single source file can produce equal results only if it is compiled to distinct. More sophisticated high-level assemblers provide language abstractions such as: Advanced control structures High-level procedure/function declarations and invocations High-level abstract data types. It converts programs into machine-executable form each time they are executed. In computer science.g. an interpreter is a computer program which reads source code written in a high-level programming language. There are various compromises between the development speed when using an interpreter and the execution speed when using a compiler. unions. a PC and a PlayStation3). Using an interpreter. Access to variables is also slower in an interpreter because the mapping of identifiers to storage locations must be done repeatedly at run-time rather than at compile time. It analyzes and executes each line of source code.g. a single source file can produce equal results even in vastly different systems (e. An interpreter behaves very differently from compilers and assemblers. Instead of requiring a step before program execution. Interpreting code is slower than running the compiled code because the interpreter must analyze each statement in the program each time it is executed and then perform the desired action. For example. Using a compiler. in order. Interpreters Many high-level programming languages have the option of using an interpreter instead of a compiler. Some of these languages exclusively use an interpreter.capabilities. This makes two-pass assembler programs easier to read and maintain. . This means that once a routine has been tested and debugged under the interpreter it can be compiled and thus benefit from faster execution while other routines are being developed. An interpreter might well use the same lexical analyzer and parser as the compiler and then interpret the resulting abstract syntax tree. without looking at the entire program. and executes the machine code. system-specific executables. some BASIC interpreters replace keywords with single byte tokens which can be used to find the instruction in a jump table. transforms the code to machine code. an interpreter processes the program as it is being executed. whereas the compiled code just performs the action within a fixed context determined by the compilation. the program can be defined in a more logical and meaningful way. As a result. inheritance. polymorphism. and sets Sophisticated macro processing Object-Oriented features such as encapsulation. The advantage of the two-pass assembler is that symbols can be defined anywhere in the program source. This run-time analysis is known as "interpretive overhead".
maybe viewed in hex (0x12de. Most early forms of BASIC were interpeted languages. then always run the "exe" file. especially older C compilers. Still other compilers convert it to a sort of tokenized code that still needs to be semi-interpreted by a virtual machine. values. An interpreter does the same. An interpreter does not compile code. then you compile to get and exe file.A compiler takes a text file written in a programming language. except that it takes source code written in "Assembly Language".. it typically reads a source code file statement by statement and then executes it. such as Java. Borland Turbo C is a compiler: you write in C in a text file.) In a nutshell: A compiler takes your source programming code and converts it into an executable form that the computer can understand. All "executable" files are in binaries (just 1's and 0's) . instead of taking a plain text file. Very fast and small executable code but very tedious to write. BUT in real time: each time you run the code. An assembler is similar. it is "compiled". actually convert the C source code to assembly language and then pass it through an assembler. in the way that.exe" file. for example. ie in C. and it converts those instructions to the equivalent machine language.. You compile only once. Instead. The benefit is that someone adept at assembly can tweak the compiler-generatd assembler code for speed or size. . Incidentally. and converts it into binary code that a processor can understand: it makes an ". many compilers. because some compilers only go so far as to convert it into a binary file that must then be "linked" with several other libraries of code before it can actually execute. which is just shorthand for the actual machine/processor specific instructions. line by line: Basic is an interpreter. and convert it into binaries. This is a very broad explanation though. An assembler is similar to a compiler. it takes a code written in Assembler Mnemonics. Other compilers can compile straight to executable code. and memory locations.
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