Sunday June 10, 2012

LLVM: Apple's Lesser Known Big Bet

While you are waiting with baited breath for the announcements at WWDC 2012, here’s a great article by Chris Lattner about the architecture of LLVM. It’s a key technology for Apple’s development platform strategy and serves as the basis for your everyday Objective-C compiling, OpenCL, Xcode syntax suggestions, and more.

This article is a great look at how to break a large monolithic problem into a series of chainable tools. LLVM’s pieces are well separated and have hooks to customize each step in the processing pipeline. It’s so flexible, that it’s not just for compiling languages into distributable binaries. Adobe uses it for real time image processing, too.

LLVM is one of those fundamental architecture decisions that piques my curiosity. Apple is betting long term on this. There’s a lot of potential power here that could give the discerning rumor prognosticator a field day1.

  1. Just pointing out that we are on the eve of Apple’s developer conference, after all. :)