Microsoft open sources the .NET compiler platform “Roslyn”

One of the big announcements to come out of this week’s //BUILD conference was that Microsoft have now open sourced a preview of Roslyn – their next generation compiler for C# and VB.NET.

Roslyn exposes the entire code source code parser,  semantic analysis and syntactic tree in high fidelity as an API. This opens the door for language geeks to roll their own code inspection and refactoring tools (like ReSharper) . You can also leverage Roslyn to create brand new programming languages.

The original C# compiler must have been getting pretty unwieldy given its been around since 1998. I know the code I wrote in 1998 is beyond comprehension ! I’m guessing that the primary motivation for rewriting the compiler was an internal one for Microsoft –  a new clean compiler will enable Microsoft to innovate on new language features more quickly and gives them the ability to create new languages more quickly. With this in mind the move to open source Roslyn is hugely significant. From now on the entire community  ( and not just Microsoft ) will reap the benefits of the compiler as a service.

Roslyn has been a long time in the making, the last CTP was in 2012, late last year it was announced that the daily builds of Visual Studio were being compiled using Roslyn. Here’s hoping that the final version makes it to the big time soon.

The .NET Compiler Platform can be found here.

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