SourceNav release ...

Eray Ozkural (exa) erayo@cs.bilkent.edu.tr
Fri Jan 18 14:52:00 GMT 2002


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Hi Mo,

On Thursday 10 January 2002 19:45, Mo DeJong wrote:
>
> You are correct, that is not a complete solution. You can't just hack a
> compiler to generate symbols for your project. That works when the code is
> perfectly correct but it will explode on code that does not compile. You
> first reaction might be, "duh, of course the code needs to compile". Thing
> is, users need the tool to work even if the code does not compile. This
> fuzzy parsing functionality is not a feature you can tack on later. It
> needs to be part of the original parser design.
>

Yes, I'm familiar with parsing issues since I had some minor involvement with 
NLP subject. You would typically need to build your CFG parser fault-tolerant 
from the ground up.

> I think the right solution is to turn the SN backend into a library. Even
> if you don't reuse the code, the ideas that are there have years of effort
> behind them and they do work. It should make use of Berkeley DB to store
> symbols but through an API so that people can swap out other database
> layers if they want to. It should also provide a nice two phase parse and
> dump into symbol DB sequence that is easily inspected. Just figuring out
> what and where the problem with a parser is can be the most difficult part
> of fixing a problem. Also, it is absolutely critical that a well defined
> regression test framework is developed as part of the library.
>

I've looked at the code more closely now. I have some involvement with the 
code luckily, and it seems pretty clean to me. In particular I like the 
Berkeley DB design since that is the best solution to persistence on a GNU 
system. Abstracting the API is a good thing, but as a replacement I can't 
spot any good db code. It looks like the symbol extraction process has also 
been generalized a bit, so it gives us a framework to add support for new 
languages.

> Of course, the tricky part is how to move forward. If you just make a KDE
> version of Source-Navigator then it will only be useful to KDE folk. There
> are plenty of other development tools that could really make use of this
> functionality if it was available in an well documented and easy to use
> library format. The larger the user base, the more bugs will get worked
> out. User base is important since parsers are so bug prone. This project is
> something I was thinking about working on, but it is quite a bit of work
> and will require more than one developer.
>

I can volunteer for this project. Here is my plan:

1) Refactor sourcenav such that it can be built/used as a standalone 
programming-tool library. I'va already commenced work in this area. It 
doesn't seem to be hard.

2) Provide a generic C++ library that wraps C API.

3) A separate "kodenavigator" library that provides GUI components to 
sourcenav functions.

How does that sound?

Thanks,

- -- 
Eray Ozkural (exa) <erayo@cs.bilkent.edu.tr>
Comp. Sci. Dept., Bilkent University, Ankara
www: http://www.cs.bilkent.edu.tr/~erayo
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