Parsing C++

2006-08-28, Comments

Here’s what Scott Meyers has to say about parsing C++ in an article over at Artima.

… C++ developers could really use a larger tool set, but the barrier to entry for truly powerful tools is the ability to parse C++ source code, and that’s a barrier very few have been able to breach.

I’ve been thinking about this myself, having recently used the Eclipse/Java development environment. All those refactoring tools, all those style-checker plugins — all made possible by a language with a (relatively) simple syntax. What I really like about a simple syntax, though, is that it makes a language easy to learn, and code written in that language easy to read.

Related thoughts:

  1. Note that the next major release of Python actually aims to remove stuff the language — whereas C++ has always developed by adding to its core, and C++0X maintains that tradition.
  2. Paul Graham also talks about the importance of keeping the fundamental core of a language as small as possible.

I’ll say more about this later.