Meta-circular evaluator

A meta-circular evaluator is a special case of a self-interpreter in which the existing facilities of the parent interpreter are directly applied to the source code being interpreted, without any need for additional parsing. Meta-circular evaluation is only possible in homoiconic languages.

Meta-circular evaluation is discussed at length in 4.1: The Metacircular Evaluator, in SICP.

Ramifications of meta-circularness

Meta-circular implementations are suited for extending the language they are written in. They are also useful for writing tools that are tightly integrated with the programming language, such as sophisticated debuggers. A language designed with a meta-circular implementation in mind is often more suited for building languages in general, even ones completely different from the host language.

List of meta-circular languages

Languages designed from the ground up with a meta-circular implementation:

Languages with third-party meta-circular implementations:

External links

Search another word or see circularnesson Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature