What is Inger?

Inger is a simple imperative programming language, much like C (only somewhat cleaner). Inger was developed to illustrate the process of building a compiler from scratch, and writing a book about it (which is available for download here). Over time (at the time of this writing, Inger is 6 months old), Inger has grown beyond our expectations and is approaching a level where we can actually write simple games with it.

Inger has full C-interoperability (it can call C-functions, provided that you write an Inger header file that describes the C-function, just like you would do in C) and work is underway to write header files for important operating system libraries (both Windows and Linux).


The Inger compiler project is by no means complete. We’ve written a book that can get you started with building your own compiler, but the Inger compiler itself is still only a sample. It cannot be used to write real-world, full-fledged programs with, partly because the language is not as sophisiticated as, say, C++, and partly because we are very sure there are a number of bugs to be ironed out. In fact, now that version 0.3 is complete we intend to rewrite major parts of the code, applying the knowledge we have acquired so far. You’re welcome to play around with the Inger compiler as much as you like, or even contribute to it, but it is not advisable to use it for writing real programs yet.

Project Origins

The development of the Inger compiler started off as a project at the University of Arnhem and Nijmegen (The Netherlands), aimed at taking a closer look at the back end of a (possibly new) compiler (the code generation part). Eventually we started developing our own little language, inspired by the symbolic machine language C. The primary goal was always to write a book that describes the process of writing a compiler in C, with lots of practical example. In the end, Inger has become the biggest practical example of all. After a while, we decided to place Inger on SourceForge. The following people have contributed to the Inger compiler and the compiler handbook:

Frank Benders
Marco Devillers
Dennis Meffert
Jan-Willem Haaring
Thijs Janssen
Alexander van Oostenrijk          vanoostenrijk
[@] hotmail [.] com

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This page was translated into the Spanish language by Maria Ramos, so if you prefer Spanish, head over there. Unfortunately, the Compiler Construction - A Practical Approach book is only available in English for now.