Book Image

Learn LLVM 12

By : Kai Nacke
Book Image

Learn LLVM 12

By: Kai Nacke

Overview of this book

LLVM was built to bridge the gap between compiler textbooks and actual compiler development. It provides a modular codebase and advanced tools which help developers to build compilers easily. This book provides a practical introduction to LLVM, gradually helping you navigate through complex scenarios with ease when it comes to building and working with compilers. You’ll start by configuring, building, and installing LLVM libraries, tools, and external projects. Next, the book will introduce you to LLVM design and how it works in practice during each LLVM compiler stage: frontend, optimizer, and backend. Using a subset of a real programming language as an example, you will then learn how to develop a frontend and generate LLVM IR, hand it over to the optimization pipeline, and generate machine code from it. Later chapters will show you how to extend LLVM with a new pass and how instruction selection in LLVM works. You’ll also focus on Just-in-Time compilation issues and the current state of JIT-compilation support that LLVM provides, before finally going on to understand how to develop a new backend for LLVM. By the end of this LLVM book, you will have gained real-world experience in working with the LLVM compiler development framework with the help of hands-on examples and source code snippets.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Section 1 – The Basics of Compiler Construction with LLVM
Section 2 – From Source to Machine Code Generation
Section 3 –Taking LLVM to the Next Level

Chapter 3: The Structure of a Compiler

Compiler technology is a well-studied field of computer science. Its high-level task is to translate a source language into machine code. Typically, this task is divided into two parts: the frontend and the backend. The frontend mainly deals with the source language, while the backend is responsible for generating machine code.

In this chapter, we will cover the following topics:

  • The building blocks of a compiler, in which you will learn about the components typically found in a compiler.
  • An arithmetic expression language, which will introduce you to an example language. You will learn how grammar is used to define a language.
  • Lexical analysis, which will discuss how you implement lexers for the language.
  • Syntactical analysis, which covers how to construct a parser from grammar.
  • Semantic analysis, in which you will learn how a sematic check can be implemented.
  • Code generation with the LLVM backend, which will discuss...