Strange Loop

How to *be* a Compiler

"Making a compiler" sounds like a lot of computer scienceā€¦ but I've never traversed nodes in a coding interview, can I make a compiler?

Let's try to be a compiler. We'll try to compile 3 lines of John Maeda's "Design by Numbers" code to a hand drawing. Yes, let's forget about computer science textbook for now, and be a compiler first. What's the step we need to take? How does our brain translates text into an image? How would a computer achieve each step in program?

Learning a new language, whether it's programming or other types, is like training your brain to be a compiler. Especially creative practices like making a drawing from a set of instructions or knitting from a pre-defined pattern is all an act of compiling.

Once you understand how compiler acts, you'll not only understand how your code is analyzed and translated under the hood but also learn essential attitude to make better and inclusive environment for software engineering.

We all should be a compiler. It's awesome.

Mariko Kosaka

Mariko Kosaka


Mariko is an web engineer who like to fiddle with a browser and yarn. She uses code to help her design textiles and organize a local JavaScript meetup in New York City called BrooklynJS.