Debugging Eli-Generated Compilers with Noosa

  • Anthony M. Sloane
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1575)


Source-level tools are not adequate for debugging generated compilers because they operate at the level of the generated implementation. It is inappropriate to expect compiler writers to be familiar with the implementation techniques used by the generation system. A higher-level approach presents debugging in terms of an abstract model of the implementation. For example, finite-state machines might be shown while debugging a scanner. This approach is inappropriate for developers who are not compiler experts and even for experts may present more information than is desirable.

An even higher-level approach is used by the Noosa graphical debugger for the Eli compiler generation system. The compiler writer is required to understand a simple execution model that involves concepts that they already have to understand to write Eli specifications. Noosa allows high-level data examination in terms of the input to the compiler and the abstract trees upon which attribution is performed. An event system allows fine-tuned control of program execution. The result is a debugging system that enables developers to diagnose bugs without having to have any knowledge of the underlying mechanisms used by their compiler.


Regular Expression Execution Model Abstract Tree Event Handler Attribute Grammar 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony M. Sloane
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ComputingMacquarie University SydneyAustralia

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