Roslyn CTP shows early preview of Compiler as a Service

Microsoft have made good on a promise from September’s Build conference and late this week released the first CTP (Community Technology Preview) of their Roslyn compiler.

Roslyn has been in development for a couple of years internally at Microsoft, and following some details emerging at the Build conference, developers can now have a go with a very early preview of the software. The idea behind Roslyn is a complete re-architecture of the C# and VB.net compiler to open it up to developer access.

“Traditionally, compilers are black boxes – source code goes in one end and object files or assemblies come out the other end. The Roslyn project changes that model by opening up the Visual Basic and C# compilers as APIs” states the official page. “These APIs allow tools and end-users to share in the wealth of information the compilers have about code.”

Roslyn is scheduled to emerge for full use after the release of the next major Visual Studio edition, due in 2012 – don’t expect an RTM edition for at least a year. Potential use cases include code analysis tools, and almost limitless opportunities for developers to tie complicated knots by modifying the structure of the program being compiled from within itself.

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