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Photran -- A Fortran Development Tool

We are proposing that the Eclipse Technology Project Management Committee charter a Fortran Development Tool subproject, Photran, under its aegis. We are inviting comments and assistance in this prospective enterprise from one and all. Please direct any feedback you may be inclined to offer to the newsgroup.


The Photran subproject's goal will be to cultivate a fully integrated development facility for the Fortran programming language, with full support for Fortran editing, refactoring, and debugging, for the Eclipse platform.

We have produced two releases. Our first, Hyperion, was based upon CDT 1.2.0 and Eclipse 2.1.3. Our current release, Eos, was adapted from CDT 2.1.0, and runs atop Eclipse 3.0.1. We propose that this current release serve as the foundation for our proposed subproject. This release can currently be found at our interim Photran website:

This release supports, to varying degrees, a variety of compilers (e.g. Lahey Fortran, Intel Fortran, g77, g95, PGI, Solaris, F), under Linux, Windows, Mac OS X 10.3, and Solaris. Other platforms supported by CDT 2.1.0 will likely work as well, but have yet to be tested.

A major focus of this project will be to bring to bear the full force of the broader community of tool developers, application specialists, testers, and day-to-day Fortran programmers upon the development and refinement of this tool.

Our current release includes:

  • Support for Fortran Development under Linux, Windows, Solaris and Mac OS X
  • Fortran programming editing support, including Fortran 9x/2003 keyword highlighting
  • Code browsing and navigation
  • CVS repository management, courtesy of Eclipse's team support plug-ins
  • Error parsing support for several different compilers
  • Support for debugging for compilers that are compatable with gdb
  • Build support for any Fortran compiler or preprocessor that uses a make tool


Our current plug-ins are the partial culmination of over three years of research into Fortran development and refactoring tools. A gallery of screenshots, as well as the latest status information, can be found at:

Development Plan

Our goals up to the point of this submission have been to develop a functional feature and plug-in set, under Eclipse 2.1.3, that supports Fortran editing, code management and debugging, and to demonstrate that our parsing infrastructure can parse all the Fortran code for IBEAM, a large, massively parallel, high-performance framework. These have now been met.

We are in the process of formulating a formal development plan. Our plans include:

  • Support of the current level of Photran functionality for Eclipse 3.x at the earliest possible date (Done 2/4/05!)
  • Full error parsing support for a wider range of Fortran compilers and tools
  • Managed build support for Fortran tools
  • Full support for program outlining and pretty-printing
  • Extensive support for automated refactoring in Fortran 9x
  • Fortran 2003 Support
  • Collaboration with the CDT Subproject to make the CDT code-base more language neutral (i.e. progress towards a UDT or XDT)

Interested Parties

Prospective Interim Leads

  • Brian Foote, UIUC (foote at
  • Ralph E. Johnson, UIUC (johnson at
Interested Organizations

Potential Committers / Contributors

  • Brian Foote, UIUC
  • Ralph E. Johnson, UIUC
  • Spiros Xanthos, UIUC
  • Jeffrrey Overbey, UIUC
  • Danny Dig, UIUC
  • Munawar Hafiz, UIUC
  • Dirk Rossow, FSG
  • Walt Brainerd, The Fortran Company
  • Greg Watson, LANL
  • Nathan Debardeleben, LANL
  • Craig Rasmussen, LANL
  • Tianchao Li, Technical University of Munich

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