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Cone Programming Language

Cone is a fast, fit, friendly, and safe systems programming language. It features:

  • Do-it-your-way memory management
  • Versatile type system (incl. variant types and slices)
  • Memory, thread & type safe
  • Extensive code reuse features
  • Lean, native runtime
  • Concise, readable syntax

The Cone compiler is currently under development. The current status and next steps are documented in

Documentation and Other Resources

The Cone home repository offers a rudimentary build environment for Cone programs, including the Congo build tool and additional example Cone programs.

Language Features

When finished, Cone will support these features:

  • Safely manage memory your way
    • Lexical, single-owner strategy for performance
    • Ref-counted or tracing GC for flexibility
    • Lifetime-constrained references for performance/simplicity
    • Custom allocators (pools/arenas) for performance
  • Lightweight concurrency
    • Co-routines, threads and actors
    • Lockless and locked permissions for safe data sharing
  • Compile-time memory, type, and concurrency safety
  • Robust type system
    • Sum types, structs, arrays, slices, ranges, aliases
    • struct subtyping via trait, & delegated inheritance
    • Attach methods to any nominal type
  • Modules, macros, templates and meta-programming
  • Extensible pattern matching
    • 'match' blocks using custom match methods
    • Content extraction during matching
  • Functions, Methods and Closures
    • Multiple return values and implicit return
    • Computed properties
  • 'with' block for context management
  • Concise, readable code:
    • 'this'-implied prefix operators for method cascading, etc.
    • Operator overloading
    • Type inference
    • Parallel assignment
    • Auto-detected off-side rule
    • Blocks and 'if' are expressions
  • Unicode-aware (UTF8) text strings and variable names
  • Fast compilation and convenient packaging

Building (Windows)

A Visual Studio C++ solution can be created using the Cone.vcxproj project file. The generated object and executable files are created relative to the location of the solutions file.

The build depends on LLVM 13 being installed and libs/includes found at $(LLVMDIR).

Building LLVM on Windows can be a pain. Some notes:

  1. Download llvm-13.0.0.src.tar.xz from
  2. Extract the src to a path having no spaces (e.g., D:\libs\llvm-13.0.0.src)
  3. Make sure you have a recent version of CMake (which has CMake-GUI)
  4. Use CMake-GUI to configure. Fill in the source folder (above) and a new target folder (D:\libs\ and hit Configure button
    • When it asks if build folder should be created, say Yes
    • When it prompts for a generator, specify the Visual Studio version installed (e.g., 15).
    • In next drop down, select "Win32" to build 32-bit compiler.
  5. In CMake-Gui, change defaults if you want (e.g., 32-bit target triple is i686-pc-win32), and then hit "Generate" button.
  6. From build folder, double clicked on llvm.sln file to open Visual Studio.
    • Select Release, and then build ALL_BUILD
    • Select Debug, and then build ALL_BUILD. (fails if not enough memory, shut all pgms off)
  7. Copy llvm-c from llvm-13.0.0.src/include to
  1. In command prompt: setx LLVMDIR d:\libs\\

Building (Linux and WSL in Windows)

To build on Linux:

sudo apt-get install llvm-13-dev
cmake .

Note: Sometimes, it is necessary to custom-build LLVM, e.g.:

mkdir llvm
cd llvm
svn co llvm-src
cd llvm-src/tools
svn co clang
svn co lld
cd ../..
mkdir llvm-build
cd llvm-build
CC=clang CXX=clang++ cmake -G "Unix Makefiles" -DLLVM_BUILD_LLVM_DYLIB=ON -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/llvm/wasm -DLLVM_EXPERIMENTAL_TARGETS_TO_BUILD=WebAssembly /llvm/llvm-src
make install

Building (Mac OS)

To build on Mac OS:*

brew install --with-toolchain llvm
llvm-config --bindir

CMake will auto-detect LLVM, so all you should need to do:

cmake .

More detailed instructions:


The Cone programming language compiler is distributed under the terms of the MIT license. See LICENSE and COPYRIGHT for details.