14.1. What's Coming Next?

Before diving into the tutorial, I think you'd like to know where we are going from here … especially since it's been so long since the last installment.

I have not been idle in the meantime. What I've been doing is reorganizing the compiler itself into Turbo Units. One of the problems I've encountered is that as we've covered new areas and thereby added features to the TINY compiler, it's been getting longer and longer. I realized a couple of installments back that this was causing trouble, and that's why I've gone back to using only compiler fragments for the last installment and this one. The problem is that it just seems dumb to have to reproduce the code for, say, processing boolean exclusive OR's, when the subject of the discussion is parameter passing.

The obvious way to have our cake and eat it, too, is to break up the compiler into separately compilable modules, and of course the Turbo Unit is an ideal vehicle for doing this. This allows us to hide some fairly complex code (such as the full arithmetic and boolean expression parsing) into a single unit, and just pull it in whenever it's needed. In that way, the only code I'll have to reproduce in these installments will be the code that actually relates to the issue under discussion.

I've also been toying with Turbo 5.5, which of course includes the Borland object-oriented extensions to Pascal. I haven't decided whether to make use of these features, for two reasons. First of all, many of you who have been following this series may still not have 5.5, and I certainly don't want to force anyone to have to go out and buy a new compiler just to complete the series. Secondly, I'm not convinced that the O-O extensions have all that much value for this application. We've been having some discussions about that in CompuServe's CLM forum, and so far we've not found any compelling reason to use O-O constructs. This is another of those areas where I could use some feedback from you readers. Anyone want to vote for Turbo 5.5 and O-O?

In any case, after the next few installments in the series, the plan is to upload to you a complete set of Units, and complete functioning compilers as well. The plan, in fact, is to have three compilers: One for a single-character version of TINY (to use for our experiments), one for TINY and one for KISS. I've pretty much isolated the differences between TINY and KISS, which are these:

One caveat: Since I still don't know much about 80x86 assembler language, all these compiler modules will still be written to support 68000 code. However, for the programs I plan to upload, all the code generation has been carefully encapsulated into a single unit, so that any enterprising student should be able to easily retarget to any other processor. This task is "left as an exercise for the student." I'll make an offer right here and now: For the person who provides us the first robust retarget to 80x86, I will be happy to discuss shared copyrights and royalties from the book that's upcoming.

But enough talk. Let's get on with the study of types. As I said earlier, we'll do this one as we did in the last installment: by performing experiments using single-character tokens.