I think B.S. answers that question:
The first C++ compiler (Cfront) was written in C++. To build that, I first used C to write a "C with Classes"-to-C preprocessor. "C with Classes" was a C dialect that became the immediate ancestor to C++. That preprocessor translated "C with Classes" constructs (such as classes and constructors) into C. It was a traditional preprocessor that didn't understand all of the language, left most of the type checking for the C compiler to do, and translated individual constructs without complete knowledge.
I then wrote the first version of Cfront in "C with Classes". Cfront was a traditional compiler that did complete syntax and semantic checking of the C++ source. For that, it had a complete parser, built symbol tables, and built a complete internal tree representation of each class, function, etc. It also did some source level optimization on its internal tree representation of C++ constructs before outputting C. The version that generated C, did not rely on C for any type checking. It simply used C as an assembler. The resulting code was uncompromisingly fast.
First he created something he called "C with Classes" implemented by a simple preprocessor into C. It was basically C++, but the preprocessor did little or no checking. He then used that to write Cfront, the more powerful version of the translator of C++ into C, complete with type checking, symbol tables, etc.
answered Sep 1 '11 at 16:08
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