A native compiler backend for PureScript (via C++)
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This is an experimental C++11 (or later) compiler backend for PureScript. It attempts to generate "sane", debuggable, and portable C++ code as an intermediate language, which is then compiled to a native executable binary. This enables easy interoperability with existing C/C++ frameworks and libraries on a number of platforms.

Please note that this project supersedes pure11 (they are no longer the same)

Please see changes for more details.


  • Generated C++ code and resulting binary executables tested (to at least some extent) on:
    • macOS High Sierra, Xcode 9.4.1's clang (full test suite)
    • Windows 10 x64 and x86, Visual Studio 2017
    • Linux Debian 9.5 amd64, default versions of clang and gcc/g++ (full test suite)
    • Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Raspbian official build (ARM), default versions of clang and gcc/g++


  • No runtime system beyond some support classes and the standard C++11 (or later) runtime library
  • For automatic memory management, uses native C++11 reference counting (std::shared_ptr)
  • Uses PureScript's normal tail call optimization techniques for generated C++ code

Differences from PureScript:

Other notes:

  • PureScript arrays are implemented using std::deque (random access O(1))
  • String types are implemented with C++11 u8 literals (UTF-8) and std::string
  • Number is C++ double, Int is C++ int, Char is std::string (single UTF-8 entity), Boolean is bool

Future ideas:

  • Nice facilities (modules) for concurrency/parallelism, using std::thread, std::async, etc. under the hood (output is already generally thread-safe for immutable values, thanks to std::shared_ptr)

Requirements for building the compiler itself

  • Haskell Stack (if you're running macOS 10.13+, you can use pre-built binaries from here)

Requirements for using it

  • A recent version (0.12+) of purescript.

  • A C++11-capable toolchain, e.g. recent versions of clang, gcc, Microsoft Visual Studio

  • GNU Make is the default supported build tool, but you should be able to use your favorite C++ build system, tools, debuggers, etc.

Getting Started

This assumes you are running macOS (OS X) or a Unix-like system (Linux, *BSD, etc.).

  1. Make sure you have developer tools for your system installed. For macOS, you'll need a recent version of Xcode. For Linux, etc., you can use clang 3.5 or later, or gcc/g++ 4.9.2 or later.

  2. Create a working directory wherever you like, and a src subdirectory under it, which will be where you will place your own PureScript source files.

  3. Under your working directory, also create an ffi subdirectory, which will be where you will place C/C++ FFI source files. You should at least add the contents of purescript-native-ffi into this directory, in addition to any of your own foreign implementations.

  4. Generate the default GNU Makefile in your working directory by running pscpp --makefile.

  5. Use PureScript's standard psc-package utility to add and manage package dependencies.

  6. You should now be ready to build a PureScript program:

  • As stated above, place your source file(s) in the working directory's src subdirectory and execute make. If your machine has multiple cores, you might want to use make -jN, where N is the number of cores.

  • This will generate the C++ source tree for your program and then build an executable binary. The resulting executable will be in the bin subdirectory under the output directory and called main (so output/bin/main, by default). Source files will be under src (output/src/ by default).