ILX: Extending the .NET Common IL for functional language interoperability

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This paper describes several extensions to the .NET Common Intermediary Language (GIL), each of which is designed to enable easier implementation of typed high-level programming languages on the .NET platform, and to promote closer integration and interoperability between these languages. In particular we aim for easier interoperability between components whose interfaces are expressed using function types, discriminated unions and parametric polymorphism, regardless of the languages in which these components are implemented. We show that it is possible to add these constructs to an existing, "real world" intermediary language and that this allows corresponding subsets of constructs to be compiled uniformly, which in turn will allow programmers to use these constructs seamlessly between different languages. In this paper we discuss the motivations for our extensions, which are together called Extended IL (ILX), and describe them via examples. In this setting, many of the traditional responsibilities of the backend of a compiler must be moved to ILX and the execution environment, in particular those related to representation choices and low-level optimizations. We have modified a Haskell compiler to generate this language, and have implemented an assembler that translates the extensions to regular or polymorphic GIL code. I am very grateful to Nick Benton, Cedric Fournet, Andrew Kennedy, Andy Gordon, Simon Peyton Jones, Claudio Russo, Reuben Thomas, Andrew Tolmach and the anonymous referees for their help and advice with this work. © 2001 Published by Elsevier B.V.




Syme, D. (2001). ILX: Extending the .NET Common IL for functional language interoperability. In Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science (Vol. 59, pp. 53–72).

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