Topic: compiler error checking

topics > computer science > data > Group: type checking


consistency testing
debugging by usage rules
error messages
lexical analysis
model checker
structured editors
syntax analysis
type-safe and secure languages


An important compiler function is to detect and describe syntactic errors. The user needs a textual error message, a line number and position in a line for locating the error, and the data object in error. Error warnings are often provided but they may be a nuisance if they can't be disabled. A majority of compiled programs may have syntactic errors, many of which could have been detected during program editing. (cbb 5/80)
Subtopic: reliability up

Quote: a language is secure if it detects most cases where its concepts break down and produce meaningless results [»brinP4_1999]
Quote: the compiler must be reliable; every program is checked against every single rule of the language [»wirtN3_1976]

Subtopic: program checking up

Quote: separate program-checking from compilation (e.g., lint); more portable, simpler compilers [»johnSC7_1978a]
Quote: use meta-level compilation (MC) to easily check path invariants; simple description, complicated source of errors, maintained across all paths; e.g., for cache coherence [»chouA11_2000]
Quote: meta-level compiler extensions pinpoints errors with 10-100 lines written in a few days; avoids complex errors

Subtopic: syntactic errors up

Quote: handle syntactic errors with a table of erroneous productions; appropriate error message and recovery [»wirtN1_1968]
Quote: a compiler should pinpoint syntactic errors, diagnose the cause, and continuing checking the program [»hoarCA_1974]
Quote: a FORTRAN compiler can detect many syntactic errors, and FORTRAN programs can have far fewer errors than assembly programs [»backJW_1957]
Quote: use redundancy of programming language for ease of use and syntactic error checking [»wilkMV_1957]
Quote: syntactic redundancy reduces the number of possible errors by consistency testing [»cleaJC_1975]
Quote: Cornell Program Synthesizer reports syntactic errors as soon as the line is typed [»teitT6_1979]

Subtopic: error messages up

Quote: Smalltalk compiler reports syntax errors by inserting a message at the error location; correct by overtyping; immediately reissue 'compile' [»teslL8_1981]
Quote: Z automatically positions a file to the location of compilation errors [»woodSR6_1981]
Quote: an error message should report the textual line number instead of the listing line number [»stewHD6_1979]

Subtopic: statistics up

QuoteRef: boieSJ6_1974 ;;255 relatively few syntactical errors on compilation on time-sharing system (FORTRAN 15% PLI 17% assembler 11%)
QuoteRef: waltES5_1967 ;;269 in large scale (10,000) uses computing center about 40% of all programs were unsuccessful

Related Topics up

Group: debugging   (10 topics, 333 quotes)

Topic: compiler (18 items)
Topic: consistency testing (60 items)
Topic: debugging by usage rules (41 items)
Topic: error messages (37 items)
Topic: lexical analysis (14 items)
Topic: model checker (49 items)
Topic: structured editors (35 items)
Topic: syntax analysis (29 items)
Topic: type-safe and secure languages
(43 items)

Updated barberCB 2/06
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