|No such thing as a small change|
Re^2: sourcefilter with complete parser?by Laurent_R (Abbot)
|on Dec 11, 2013 at 23:13 UTC||Need Help??|
Rolf, to start with, I should say that I have never done anything with source filters and that I barely know what it is all about (having read just a couple of articles on the subject). So my answer might be off-topic, sorry for that if it is.
I just want to say that I have had an experience similar to Roboticus, although certainly much less extensive. We have a major application (35 million customers, many thousands of programs) running under VMS. We were studying the possibility of migrating it to Unix/Oracle (because support for VMS is likely to end within a few years, perhaps before 2020). The main language used for this application (especially for all the functional parts and the database access part) runs under both VMS and Unix, so that most of the work would be recompilation of the sources and any adaptations needed, large project, but it looks feasible. But probably a quarter to a third of the programs are scripts are written in DCL, which is a VMS scripting language, more or less the equivalent of shell script under Unix. These are used to launch multiple processes in parallel, to synchronize processes, transfer, copy or sort files, etc. The immense majority of these DCL scripts would have to be translated into shell script (or even possibly Perl script in some cases).
I participated to a "phase-0" pilot proof-of-concept automatic DCL2shell translating effort, and we were able to produce automatically shell equivalent of our DCL programs within a few weeks. But we knew that we had selected relatively easy cases. Therefore, a second phase (still proof-of-concept) was launched to get into the more complicated things. I was not directly involved in this second phase, so that I can only say what was reported to me: once you get into the more gory details, it gets really very complicated. There are a number of things that just can't be processed automatically and need complete refactoring. And that was only phase 2 of proof of concept study.
The cost of the project, if it were to be launched, was estimated to be in the order of 15 to 20 million euros. A very big amount, indeed, but probably much less than migrating to a completely different system (that would probably cost 3 to 5 times as much). We have some extra time before deciding to go for it or not, but at least we have an idea on how difficult and costly it would be.
My point was just to broadly confirm the general idea of Roboticus's post: translating 80% of the code is relatively easy, the next 15% are getting really hairy, and the last 5% might take more time than all the rest together.
OK, I am not talking about a simple program, but about a very complex application with thousands of programs. What you are trying to do might be simpler (hopefully it is), but it is definitely not a simple task.