Written for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students, Foundations for Programming Languages uses a series of typed lambda calculi to study the axiomatic, operational, and denotational semantics of sequential programming languages. Later chapters are devoted to progressively more sophisticated type systems.
Compared to other texts on the subject, Foundations for Programming Languages is distinguished primarily by its inclusion of material on universal algebra and algebraic data types, imperative languages and Floyd-Hoare logic, and advanced chapters on polymorphism and modules, subtyping and object-oriented concepts, and type inference. The book is mathematically oriented but includes discussion, motivation, and examples that make the material accessible to students specializing in software systems, theoretical computer science, or mathematical logic.
Foundations for Programming Languages is suitable as a reference for professionals concerned with programming languages, software validation or verification, and programming, including those working with software modules or object-oriented programming.
Although the theory of object-oriented programming languages is far from complete, this book brings together the most important contributions to its development to date, focusing in particular on how advances in type systems and semantic models can contribute to new language designs.
The fifteen chapters are divided into five parts: Objects and Subtypes, Type Inference, Coherence, Record Calculi, and Inheritance. The chapters are organized approximately in order of increasing complexity of the programming language constructs they consider - beginning with variations on Pascal- and Algol-like languages, developing the theory of illustrative record object models, and concluding with research directions for building a more comprehensive theory of object-oriented programming languages.
Part I discusses the similarities and differences between "objects" and algebraic-style abstract data types, and the fundamental concept of a subtype. Parts II-IV are concerned with the "record model" of object-oriented languages. Specifically, these chapters discuss static and dynamic semantics of languages with simple object models that include a type or class hierarchy but do not explicitly provide what is often called dynamic binding. Part V considers extensions and modifications to record object models, moving closer to the full complexity of practical object-oriented languages.