git @ Cat's Eye Technologies SixtyPical / 0.10

Tree @0.10 (Download .tar.gz)


SixtyPical is a very low-level programming language, similar to 6502 assembly, with static analysis through abstract interpretation.

In practice, this means it catches things like

  • you forgot to clear carry before adding something to the accumulator
  • a subroutine that you call trashes a register you thought was preserved
  • you tried to write the address of something that was not a routine, to a jump vector

and suchlike. It also provides some convenient operations and abstractions based on common machine-language programming idioms, such as

  • copying values from one register to another (via a third register when there are no underlying instructions that directly support it)
  • explicit tail calls
  • indirect subroutine calls

The reference implementation can execute, analyze, and compile SixtyPical programs to 6502 machine code.

SixtyPical is a work in progress. The current released version of SixtyPical is 0.10.



Demo game

Finish the little demo "game" where you can move a block around the screen with the joystick (i.e. bring it up to par with the original demo game that was written for SixtyPical)

vector table type

low and high address operators

To turn word type into byte.

Save registers on stack

This preserves them, so that, semantically, they can be used later even though they are trashed inside the block.

Range checking in the abstract interpretation

If you copy the address of a buffer (say it is size N) to a pointer, it is valid. If you add a value from 0 to N-1 to the pointer, it is still valid. But if you add a value ≥ N to it, it becomes invalid. This should be tracked in the abstract interpretation. (If only because abstract interpretation is the major point of this project!)

Routine-local static memory locations

These would not need to appear in the inputs/outputs/trashes sets of the routines that call this routine.

These might be forced to specify an initial value so that they can always be assumed to be meaningful.

More modes for copy

  • don't allow copy foo, a probably. insist on ld a, foo for this.
  • have copy instruction able to copy a byte to a user-def mem loc, etc.
  • copy x, [ptr] + y
  • Maybe even copy [ptra] + y, [ptrb] + y, which can be compiled to indirect LDA then indirect STA!

And at some point...

  • Check that the buffer being read or written to through pointer, appears in approporiate inputs or outputs set.
  • byte table and word table of sizes other than 256
  • always analyze before executing or compiling, unless told not to
  • interrupt routines -- to indicate that "the supervisor" has stored values on the stack, so we can trash them.
  • error messages that include the line number of the source code
  • add absolute addressing in shl/shr, absolute-indexed for add, sub, etc.
  • check and disallow recursion.
  • automatic tail-call optimization (could be tricky, w/constraints?)
  • re-order routines and optimize tail-calls to fallthroughs