Posts Tagged Standards

 

Interoperability, at Last

Language is a very powerful way to describe behavior. Therefore even when I create pictures, instead of dragging around my mouse, I use declarative tools like GraphViz, gnuplot, and UMLGraph. These allow me to describe what I want to draw, instead of how I want the end-result to look like. The truth however is that the end-results are not always perfect. Today I realized that the state of the art has advanced to the point where I can create the drawing declaratively, and then visually polish the final drawing.

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The Double-Edged Sword of Proprietary Platforms

A recent Slashdot article comment wondered how Windows Vista managed to break existing applications, despite Microsoft having complete control over the platform.

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Dave Prosser's C Preprocessing Algorithm

For about five years I've been trying to implement a fully conforming C preprocessor for the front end of the CScout refactoring browser. I've found this to be a fiendishly difficult task. Although what I have written can correctly process million-line real-life projects, every once in a while I come across a construct that confuses my implementation. While searching the web for explanations of some of the finer points of the C standard I came across a reference to an algorithm by Dave Prosser that the X3J11 (ANSI C standard) committee used as a basis for the standard's wording.

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Interoperability Requires Temperance

After testing the CScout refactoring browser on the FreeBSD kernel, I decided to try it on Linux. I'm getting there, but slowly, and the reason is the gratuitous use of gcc extensions made in the Linux kernel source code. Every time I come across a program construct that CScout doesn't grok, I have to study the C standards to see if the construct is legal C that CScout fails to implement or a gcc extension. Extensions are trouble, because, they're typically only vaguely documented.

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Project Asset Portability

It's said that real computer scientists don't program in assembler; they don't write in anything less portable than a number two pencil. Joking aside, at the end of the 1970s, the number of nonstandard languages and APIs left most programs tied to a very specific and narrow combination of software and hardware. Entire organizations were locked in for life to a specific vendor, unable to freely choose the hardware and software where their code and data would reside. Portability and vendor independence appeared to be a faraway, elusive goal.

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Book Review: C++ Coding Standards

A number of years ago, reading Koenig's and Moo's Ruminations on C++ [1] I made a wish for more of the same, updated to reflect current C++ practice. My wish has come true. The book C++ Coding Standards: 101 Rules, Guidelines, and Best Practices by Herb Sutter and Andrei Alexandrescu [2] is an indispensable book for all serious C++ programmers.

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