On Thursday, 12 June 2014 at 16:42:38 UTC, Dmitry Olshansky wrote:
It's always nice to ask something on D NG, so many good answers
I can hardly choose whom to reply ;) So this is kind of
Yes, the answer seems spot on - reflection! But allow me to
I'm not talking about completely stand-alone generator. Just as
well generator tool could be written in D using the same exact
sources as your D program does. Including the static
introspection and type-awareness. Then generator itself is a
library + "an invocation script" in D.
The Q is specifically of CTFE in this scenario, including not
only obvious shortcomings of design, but fundamental ones of
compilation inside of compilation. Unlike proper compilation is
has nothing persistent to back it up. It feels backwards, a bit
like C++ TMP but, of course, much-much better.
Reflection. It is less of an issue for pure DSL solutions
don't provide any good reflection capabilities anyway, but
generation approaches have very similar problems.
By doing all code generation in separate build step you
many of guarantees of keeping various parts of your
application in sync.
Use the same sources for the generator. In essence all is the
same, just relying on separate runs and linkage, not mixin.
Necessary "hooks" to link to later could indeed be generated
with a tiny bit of CTFE.
Yes, deeply embedded stuff might not be that easy. The scope
and damage is smaller though.
Moving forward. You use traditional reasoning of DSL generally
something rare and normally stable. This fits most common DSL
tight in-language integration D makes possible brings new
of using DSL and code generation casually all other your
Well, I'm biased by heavy-handed ones. Say I have a (no longer)
secret plan of doing a next-gen parser generator in D. Needless
to say swaths of non-trivial code generation. I'm all for
embedding nicely but I see very little _practical_ gains in
CTFE+mixin here EVEN if CTFE wouldn't suck. See the point above
about using the same metadata and types as the user application
Consider something like REST API generator I have described
during DConf. There is different code generated in different
contexts from same declarative description - both for server and
client. Right now simple fact that you import very same module
from both gives solid 100% guarantee that API usage between those
two programs stays in sync.
In your proposed scenario there will be two different generated
files imported by server and client respectively. Tiny typo in
writing your build script will result in hard to detect run-time
bug while code itself still happily compiles.
You may keep convenience but losing guarantees hurts a lot. To be
able to verify static correctness of your program / group of
programs type system needs to be aware how generated code relates
to original source.
Also this approach does not scale. I can totally imagine you
doing it for two or three DSL in single program, probably even
dozen. But something like 100+? Huge mess to maintain. According
to my experience all builds systems are incredibly fragile
beasts, trusting them something that impacts program correctness
and won't be detected at compile time is just too dangerous.
I totally expect programming culture to evolve to the point
something like 90% of all application code is being generated
project. D has good base for promoting such paradigm switch
any unnecessary mental context switches is very important here.
This was pretty much the point I was trying to make with my
DConf talk (
and have probably failed :) )
I liked the talk, but you know ... 4th or 5th talk with
CTFE/mixin I think I might have been distracted :)
More specifically this bright future of 90%+ concise DSL driven
programs is undermined by the simple truth - no amount of
improvement in CTFE would make generators run faster then
optimized standalone tool invocation. The tool (library written
in D) may read D metadata just fine.
I heard D builds times are important part of its adoption so...
Adoption - yes. Production usage - less so (though still
important). Difference between 1 second and 5 seconds is very
important. Between 10 seconds and 1 minute - not so much.
JIT will be probably slower than stand-alone generators but not
It might solve most of _current_ problems, but I foresee
fundamental issues of "no global state" in CTFE that in say 10
years from now would look a lot like `#include` in C++.
I hope 10 years ago from now we will consider having global state
in RTFE stone age relict :P
A major one is there is no way for compiler to not recompile
generated code as it has no knowledge of how it might have
changed from the previous run.
Why can't we merge basic build system functionality akin to rdmd
into compiler itself? It makes perfect sense to me as build
process can benefit a lot from being semantically aware.