Direct Impact

Concepts for which they have direct influence:

compilers stopify
web ides
program execution
javascript languages
trivial compiler
browser tab
sampling-based technique

External impact

Concepts related to the work of other authors :

functional programming
ocaml mooc
learning platform
fall semester
test suites
key innovations
exceptional level

Putting in all the stops: execution control for JavaScript


Scores of compilers produce JavaScript, enabling programmers to use many languages on the Web, reuse existing code, and even use Web IDEs. Unfortunately, most compilers inherit the browser's compromised execution model, so long-running programs freeze the browser tab, infinite loops crash IDEs, and so on. The few compilers that avoid these problems suffer poor performance and are difficult to engineer. This paper presents Stopify, a source-to-source compiler that extends JavaScript with debugging abstractions and blocking operations, and easily integrates with existing compilers. We apply Stopify to ten programming languages and develop a Web IDE that supports stopping, single-stepping, breakpointing, and long-running computations. For nine languages, Stopify requires no or trivial compiler changes. For eight, our IDE is the first that provides these features. Two of our subject languages have compilers with similar features. Stopify's performance is competitive with these compilers and it makes them dramatically simpler. Stopify's abstractions rely on first-class continuations, which it provides by compiling JavaScript to JavaScript. We also identify sub-languages of JavaScript that compilers implicitly use, and exploit these to improve performance. Finally, Stopify needs to repeatedly interrupt and resume program execution. We use a sampling-based technique to estimate program speed that outperforms other systems.

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