Pierre Neron, Andrew P. Tolmach, Eelco Visser, Guido Wachsmuth. A Theory of Name Resolution with extended Coverage and Proofs. Technical Report TUD-SERG-2015-001, Software Engineering Research Group. Delft University of Technology, January 2015.
We describe a language-independent theory for name binding and resolution, suitable for programming languages with complex scoping rules including both lexical scoping and modules. We formulate name resolution as a two stage problem. First a language-independent scope graph is constructed using language-specific rules from an abstract syntax tree. Then references in the scope graph are resolved to corresponding declarations using a language-independent resolution process. We introduce a resolution calculus as a concise, declarative, and language-independent specification of name resolution. We develop a resolution algorithm that is sound and complete with respect to the calculus. Based on the resolution calculus we develop language-independent definitions of alpha-equivalence and rename refactoring. We illustrate the approach using a small example language with modules. In addition, we show how our approach provides a model for a range of name binding patterns in existing languages.