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Link source reference to DriverPipeline.hs

Video: Compilation Pipeline and interface files (17'30")

The compilation pipeline

When GHC compiles a module, it calls other programs, and generates a series of intermediate files. Here's a summary of the process. (source reference: compiler/main/DriverPipeline.hs)

We start with Foo.hs or Foo.lhs, the "l" specifing whether literate style is being used.

  • Run the unlit pre-processor, unlit, to remove the literate markup, generating Foo.lpp. The unlit processor is a C program kept in utils/unlit.
  • Run the C preprocessor, cpp, (if -cpp is specified), generating Foo.hspp.
  • Run the compiler itself. This does not start a separate process; it's just a call to a Haskell function. This step always generates an 'interface file' Foo.hi, and depending on what flags you give, it also generates a compiled file:
    • Assembly code: flag -S, file Foo.s
    • C code: flag -fvia-C, file Foo.hc
    • C-- mode: flag -fcmm, file Foo.cmm, believed not to work
  • In the -fvia-C case:
    • Run the C compiler on Foo.hc, to generate Foo.raw_s.
    • Run the Evil Mangler, generating Foo.s
  • If -split-objs is in force, run the splitter on Foo.s. This splits Foo.s into lots of small files. The idea is that the static linker will thereby avoid linking dead code.
  • Run the assembler on Foo.s or, if -split-objs in in force, on each individual assembly file.

The compiler pipeline

The compiler itself, independent of the external tools, is also structured as a pipeline. For details (and a diagram), see Commentary/Compiler/HscMain