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Implementing Programming Languages Using C# 4.0

, 12 Jul 2012
An introduction to creating programming language tools using C# 4.0.
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;

namespace Diggins.Jigsaw
    public class Unifier
        public static bool IsConstant(object e)
            return !(e is List) && !(e is string);

        public static bool Occurs(string s, List e)
            if (e.Head is string)
                if (e.Head == s) 
                    return true;
            if (e.Head is List) 
                return Occurs(s, e.Head);
            return e.Tail == null ? false : Occurs(s, e.Tail);

        public static dynamic Substitute(Dictionary<string, dynamic> bindings, dynamic x)
            if (x is String && bindings.ContainsKey(x)) 
                return bindings[x];
            if (x is List && !x.IsEmpty)
                return List.Cons(Substitute(bindings, x.Head), Substitute(bindings, x.Tail));
            return x;

    public static Dictionary<string, object> Unify(dynamic e1, dynamic e2)
        if ((IsConstant(e1) && IsConstant(e2)))
            if (e1 == e2)
                return new Dictionary<string,object>();
            throw new Exception("Unification failed");

        if (e1 is string)
            if (e2 is List && Occurs(e1, e2))
                throw new Exception("Cyclical binding");
            return new Dictionary<string, object>() { { e1, e2 } };

        if (e2 is string)
            if (e1 is List && Occurs(e2, e1))
                throw new Exception("Cyclical binding");
            return new Dictionary<string, object>() { { e2, e1 } };

        if (!(e1 is List) || !(e2 is List))
            throw new Exception("Expected either list, string, or constant arguments");

        if (e1.IsEmpty || e2.IsEmpty)
            if (!e1.IsEmpty || !e2.IsEmpty)
                throw new Exception("Lists are not the same length");

            return new Dictionary<string, object>(); 

        var b1 = Unify(e1.Head, e2.Head);
        var b2 = Unify(Substitute(b1, e1.Tail), Substitute(b1, e2.Tail));

        foreach (var kv in b2)
            b1.Add(kv.Key, kv.Value);
        return b1;

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About the Author

Christopher Diggins
Software Developer Autodesk
Canada Canada
This article was written by Christopher Diggins, a computer science nerd who currently works at Autodesk as an SDK specialist.
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Web03 | 2.8.140916.1 | Last Updated 12 Jul 2012
Article Copyright 2011 by Christopher Diggins
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