Compilers are hard

I’ve often heard that writing a compiler is hard, and different than writing other kinds of software. Some recent experience hsa provided me insight as to why this is the case and proved quite interesting!

I recently completed work on a new big feature in ShipReq. I’d been working on it for ~2 months and it ended up being the hardest code that I’d ever written in my life. I’ve been coding for decades and have worked on so many different projects, and for some very big organisations; I tell you this for context. When I say this is the hardest code I’ve ever written, it had a lot of competition. Concurrent systems usually has the reputation of being very difficult and I’ve designed and written a massively concurrent project from the ground up in my OO days, included writing all the scheduling and concurrency primitives, and managing all the thread-safety myself (those were different times). I found this piece of work an order of magnitude harder than that.

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