Why build a new language?

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2024-07-04 17:00:11

I showed off Spade at FPL 2022 this year which was a really fun experience. One of the common questions I got was "why do you build a new language", which certainly is a valid question. While I gave some sort of an answer to it in person, I wasn't super happy with it, so this post acts as an answer to that question, and gives me an opportunity to summarize my thoughts and hopefully give a more well thought out answer than I did in person at the conference.

If we want to start an FPGA project today, in the big picture we have three groups of options for the programming tool to use. First, and perhaps most common is using VHDL, Verilog SystemVerilog. For those of us who are a bit more adventurous and don't like the established HDLs, there are quite a few options out there in varying degrees of "finnishedness" and adoption:

This list is certainly incomplete, but most of the "big" alternatives are in there, and it represents most of the "kinds" of alternative HDL that exists.

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