Several changes are underway, and I thought our users would like to
know what is happening.
Toolkit news for September, 1996
Mary Fernandez now has full-time responsibilities at AT&T, which
means she has very little time to devote to the toolkit.
Mary will continue to help maintain the toolkit, but unfortunately she
will not be able to be involved in new development to the extent that
she would like.
I (Norman Ramsey) have moved from Purdue to the University of
Virginia, where I am Research Assistant Professor in the Deparment of
Computer Science. My primary responsibility is my work on the
Zephyr project; we are working with Princeton, Stanford, and others to
build a National Compiler Infrastructure.
I expect to focus on machine descriptions,
including writing tools to process them, and I expect the toolkit work
to dovetail nicely with Zephyr.
The toolkit's home page has moved with me; it is
now at http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~nr/toolkit.
The contact address for questions and problems continues to be
and for now I intend to maintain the
toolkit-interest and toolkit-users mailing lists at
Name that language!
Mary and I would like to give the ``toolkit specification language'' a
We have a couple of ideas but no great ones, and we hope maybe you all
will have better ones.
Here's what we're hoping for:
Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- An acronym that says something about what the language is for:
encoding, decoding, assembly, and disassembly of machine
instructions (or other binary specifications).
- Something pronounceable!
- Ideally, we would like an acronym that works out to a concrete noun,
so we can have a picture of it, make a logo, put it on our web page,
This sort of nonsense helps visibility, which means it helps me beg
for money, which means I can spend more time improving the toolkit.
In May I made several small changes and extensions to the toolkit,
I have not taken the time to build another official release, but if
you think you need these fixes or extensions, send me mail.
- Fixed several bugs in handling matching statements and generating
- Added more support for automatic generation of assemblers and
The big news is that work on version 1.0 is on underway.
Thanks to many interesting discussions with members of Dave MacQueen's
group at Bell Labs, I have a plan for re-implementing the toolkit in
I have done some work already, reaching a point where
I can elaborate many constructor definitions, and I hope I will soon
be in a position to generate code.
It says here there the rewrite will have the following wonderful benefits:
- Better error messages, with better relationsihp to source locations.
The toolkit may no longer always halt after the first message.
- The toolkit will run faster.
- The toolkit may be more reliable.
- We should be able to support at least C, Modula-3, and Standard ML
without too much trouble.
- We should be able to support variations on code generation.
- The new implementation should be a much better vehicle for
research and future extension.
Thanks for your interest in the toolkit.