Macros and dynamic compilation

I have released the next version of my Church-State system at:

This release adds proper Church macros and dynamic compilation to the system. In this example, a macro for moving an immediate value to a register

macro MOVLir imm reg
                _Or_L 0xb8 (_r4 \reg) \imm


you can see quoted code wrapped in angular brackets and backslashes used to unquote values that must be inserted into the template.

The macro syntax is not final (like most of Church's syntax) and it should look cleaner as it matures.

To handle macros like these the system is now capable of taking Church source code parsed out of the macro body, compiling it to low-level State code and then compiling and linking the resulting machine code into the running image.

This involves resolving low level symbols (I use dlsym) and modifying the Church dispatch tables and macro rewriters to use the new macros. I also have to run an initialization function which sets up the "code vector" with constant values (interned symbols etc).

Now that I have dynamic compilation working, it should be fairly easy to add a REPL to the system.


As part of this release I have also disabled a lot of optimizations that I had worked on before. These include inline caches for method dispatch and slot access. The reason I have disabled these optimizations is that they cost too much in terms of space compared to the benefit they provide in improved speed.

I'm now pursuing a new approach which uses "class wrappers" marked with random seeds. The idea is that these seeds can be used to hash into lookup tables which memoize the effective method for dispatch. I hope to be able to incorporate these ideas plus others from contemporary implementations (of javascript vms etc) to make the system substantially faster.