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A Python Front-End To GCC Is Brewing This Summer

Compiler

Published on 30 June 2011 07:29 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Compiler
8 Comments

It turns out there's another fairly interesting Google Summer of Code project being worked on this summer beyond the exciting projects and the Mesa/X/Wayland projects that have piqued our interest this year. This project was somehow skipped past when looking at the GSoC information before, but it's a continued effort (by the same student last year) to write a Python front-end to GCC.

Philip Herron is this two-year GSoC student and he's working on Gccpy, which is an effort to write a Python front-end to GCC. From his GSoC project page, "An overview of what the project aims to achieve is creating an AOT compiled version of Python using GCC as a framework for middle-end, back-end optimization as-well as portable code-generation. Creating AOT languages has been generally aimed for more 'low-level' languages such as C/C++/Fortran where the language requires strong typing and other kinds declarative features; which gives rise to much less dynamic features which languages like Python/PHP/Perl take for granted." The project came to my attention when today he created this GCC mailing list thread.

Philip was inspired by PHC, a PHP compiler that leverages the GNU Compiler Collection (see the PHC project web-site). PHC isn't too actively maintained today, but in a similar manner, Facebook has the HipHop compiler for converting PHP source-code into highly-optimized C++ that's then built by GCC. In a competing manner, Roadsend PHP is a now-defunct project to do the same, but to use LLVM (the Low-Level Virtual Machine) rather than GCC.

For those more interested in the Python front-end to GCC project, the student developer has a blog where he is writing about his project on this endeavor.

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