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From "James E. King III" <jk...@apache.org>
Subject Thrift compiler "plug-in" mode
Date Wed, 02 Jan 2019 13:43:27 GMT
The addition of a "plug-in" compiler mode has made the build of the
compiler fairly complex.  There are now two kinds of compilers - one with
all the code generators statically linked, and one where all the code
generators are dynamically linked.  I believe the original goal was to
allow third parties to add their own code generator without having to
maintain their own fork of thrift?

As part of all the CI builds we effectively disable the plug-in part of the
compiler.  It had to be disabled for all distribution builds as well.
Nobody distributes a plug-in compiler.  As such, if anyone is using it,
they are already building their own compiler, so they are maintaining their
own fork.  Therefore there is no real benefit.

I believe the added complexity that this mode brings to the project
overshadows any possible benefits of allowing for compiler plug-ins with a
linked compiler like the one we have.  This new compiler mode hasn't been
touched in a couple years now and only one person has expressed interest in
pull requests.

If we want to have a more extensible compiler environment, we should
consider rewriting it in another more flexible language like python.  It
would be easy for folks to extend it from there, however it would force a
requirement on python to generate code.

I'd really like us to consider eliminating the plug-in mode of the compiler
to simplify the compiler build and have fewer overall build targets.
Thoughts?  Does anybody use the compiler plug-in mode?

- Jim

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