Whilst it’s been over three months since the last release of Whiley, this latest release is chocked full of improvements! I’ve closed around 60 issues in that time, and have completely reworked the theorem prover from scratch. This means compile-time checking of constraints is starting to work better — however, there remains quite a way to go. This release also includes an experimental back-end being developed by Art Protin for translating Whiley programs into C code so they can be compiled to machine code.
- Theorem prover rebuilt from scratch. The automated theorem prover which is used to check verification conditions generated during compilation is automatically generated from a domain-specific rewrite language. Currently, this DSL is packaged into the Wyone module (although I may rename this to WYRL in the future for obvious reasons). The generated theorem prover is over 74KLoc of Java code in a single file! Yes, you heard right. I think, as I improve the code generation process, this will come down (hopefully dramatically, though we’ll see).
- Backend for generating C. An experimental backend for translating Whiley programs into C programs has been developed by Art Protin
over the last few months, and is showing promise. Note, however, that this remains extremely experimental!
- Added Support for Ad-Hoc Indentation. Previously, I strictly required 4 spaces for indentation. However, I noticed that this really caused a lot of problems when people were using different text editors. Following the lead from Coffeescript, I’ve modified the parser to accept ad-hoc indentation. Basically, at the start of a block you need to indent at least one space. The first indentation then sets the indentation level for the rest of the block.
- Constant propagation re-enabled. The constant propagation phase in the compiler helps improve the quality of generated code in a number of ways. For some time now, it has been disabled for various reasons and, finally, I got around to fixing it.
- Deadcode elimination improved. The elimination of deadcode has been improved which, in turn, has dramatically improved the quality of the generated Wyil files.
- Numerous Bugs fixed. Literally, hundreds of them.
For the next release of Whiley, I’ve already got 26 open issues. My focus is still on improving the automated theorem prover to the point where I can have compile-time verification enabled by default. However, there are some important areas which have been neglected for some time, including: the standard library; syntax for objects; simple parsing problems; and the eclipse plugin. I really need to put some time into these as well, in order to get something which is genuinely useable by others…