The language front end is invoked only once, via
lang_hooks.parse_file, to parse the entire input. The language
front end may use any intermediate language representation deemed
appropriate. The C front end uses GENERIC trees (see GENERIC), plus
a double handful of language specific tree codes defined in
c-common.def. The Fortran front end uses a completely different
At some point the front end must translate the representation used in the front end to a representation understood by the language-independent portions of the compiler. Current practice takes one of two forms. The C front end manually invokes the gimplifier (see GIMPLE) on each function, and uses the gimplifier callbacks to convert the language-specific tree nodes directly to GIMPLE before passing the function off to be compiled. The Fortran front end converts from a private representation to GENERIC, which is later lowered to GIMPLE when the function is compiled. Which route to choose probably depends on how well GENERIC (plus extensions) can be made to match up with the source language and necessary parsing data structures.
BUG: Gimplification must occur before nested function lowering, and nested function lowering must be done by the front end before passing the data off to cgraph.
TODO: Cgraph should control nested function lowering. It would only be invoked when it is certain that the outer-most function is used.
TODO: Cgraph needs a gimplify_function callback. It should be invoked when (1) it is certain that the function is used, (2) warning flags specified by the user require some amount of compilation in order to honor, (3) the language indicates that semantic analysis is not complete until gimplification occurs. Hum... this sounds overly complicated. Perhaps we should just have the front end gimplify always; in most cases it's only one function call.
The front end needs to pass all function definitions and top level declarations off to the middle-end so that they can be compiled and emitted to the object file. For a simple procedural language, it is usually most convenient to do this as each top level declaration or definition is seen. There is also a distinction to be made between generating functional code and generating complete debug information. The only thing that is absolutely required for functional code is that function and data definitions be passed to the middle-end. For complete debug information, function, data and type declarations should all be passed as well.
In any case, the front end needs each complete top-level function or
data declaration, and each data definition should be passed to
rest_of_decl_compilation. Each complete type definition should
be passed to
rest_of_type_compilation. Each function definition
should be passed to
TODO: I know rest_of_compilation currently has all sorts of RTL generation semantics. I plan to move all code generation bits (both Tree and RTL) to compile_function. Should we hide cgraph from the front ends and move back to rest_of_compilation as the official interface? Possibly we should rename all three interfaces such that the names match in some meaningful way and that is more descriptive than "rest_of".
The middle-end will, at its option, emit the function and data definitions immediately or queue them for later processing.