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Microsoft Roslyn: New Type of Compilers

Microsoft has presented an interesting project named Roslyn. Within the framework of this project, all the concept of compilers and compilable programming languages itself has been reconsidered. Apart from the realization of completely new functions, such as .NET-tools, C#, Visual Basic and the Visual Studio development environment, the Roslyn project offers the completely new concept ‘compiler as a service’, laying a road to the .NET platform to the most promising area – into clouds.

Once Microsoft gave many professional software developers the hope for well-off and predictable future, having moved the development of its own and third party technologies on the .NET development platform.

So far, the Visual Studio development environment and the .NET platform are the most popular and convenient development tools, having adopted the best features of java technologies and having made some important steps ahead. When Microsoft presented the new development tools for writing apps with the help of JavaScript and HTML5, many software development companies started to worry that the .Net development had been folded up. However, the reality has exceeded all expectations – the presented project Roslyn has proved that the .NET platform has exciting future.

The Roslyn technology can be described as ‘compilation by request through the providing service’, although this description is a bit complicated. Technically, the new technology is not a service in comparison with such cloud solutions as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) or PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service). The Roslyn technology is more similar to the Windows system services that offer completely new principles of compiling .NET applications – each phase of compilation is presented in the form of service that can be requested by other applications.

Usual compilers throw away all intermediate data while getting ready-made files and in Roslyn compilers all intermediate data is available via standard .NET API-interfaces. For example, the request to one single API will retrieve the whole syntax tree for the given code fragment in the form of an object. The request to another API can return the number of methods in code.

So far, one can’t predict how soon the Roslyn technology will find its place among standard development tools – now only the trial version for C# and Visual Basic is available.

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