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Home » Archived » IMP » Accommodating established languages (communities, tools)?
Accommodating established languages (communities, tools)? [message #566812] Sun, 30 September 2007 08:19
Leif Frenzel is currently offline Leif Frenzel
Messages: 23
Registered: July 2009
Junior Member
Hi everybody,

I'm glad to see this new initiative to help people with supporting more
languages in Eclipse :-) I remember that as early as at the first two
EclipseCONs there was a lot of talking about the subject, but also a lot of
disappointment for many people when nothing materialized subsequently. The
enthusiasm four years ago when one Eclipse-based IDE after the other was
popping up at SF is long gone, and it would be nice to get a little of that
back again :-)

I have one concern about the IMP approach: if I want to support an existing
language with an existing community and a mature base of tools (written in
the target language), how would I get this community involved and these
tools integrated? Potential contributors should come from the existing
community, but they'll often not want to implement stuff in Java (but in the
target language). Likewise, existing tools may have their own parsers, type
checkers, static analyzers, refactorers etc., again already implemented in
the target language. Clearly, there is a lot of work involved in
accommodating this, but generating Java code that pre-implements some IDE
features seems not to be a step in the right direction. Moreover, even for
new languages (that don't have a large community and a lot of development
tools written in them), if they are designed to be general-purpose, an
IMP-based IDE could only be a first step, to be later replaced by a
re-implementation that uses the target language for the 'interesting bits'.

So (somewhat provocatively put) it looks to me that IMP adresses mostly IDE
support for experimental languages where life expectation is short anyway,
and for languages with a focused range of application (i.e. DSLs), but not
for general-purpose languages with a broad field of application. The latter
sort of language tends to be self-hosting, and it doesn't appear that the
IMP approach takes this aspect seriously. Any thoughts about this?

Thanks && ciao,
Leif
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