From bootstrapping


To get good bootstrap leverage it's useful when a language implementation provides more than it uses. One technique to do this is Self-Extension.

The PL can implement only very sparse functionality, including a way to add to itself. Then a bunch of new features can be loaded on boot.

Examples of Self-Extension:

  • forth immediate words: adds new syntax to forth.
  • forth words implemented in assembly: e.g. in stone knife forth : compile-minus 41 . 4 . 36 . 88 . ; ( `sub %eax, [%esp]; pop %eax` )
  • lisp macro definitions: allows you to add new language constructs to lisp.
  • lisp reader: implement only a basic reader in the core, use it to read in and make use of a much more comprehensive lisp reader from then on (MES does this).

any more?