The IDE Portability Problem and Its Solution in Monto

Sven Keidel, Wulf Pfeiffer, Sebastian Erdweg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Modern IDEs support multiple programming languages via plug-ins, but developing a high-quality language plug-in is a huge development effort and individual plug-ins are not reusable in other IDEs. We call this the IDE portability problem.

In this paper, we present a solution to the IDE portability problem based on a language-independent and IDE-independent intermediate representation (IR) for editor-service products. This IR enables IDE-independent language services to provide editor services for arbitrary IDEs, using language-independent IDE plug-ins.

We combine the IR with a service-oriented architecture to facilitate the modular addition of language services, the decomposition of language services into smaller interdependent services, and the use of arbitrary implementation languages for services.

To evaluate the feasibility of our design, we have implemented the IR and architecture in a framework called Monto. We demonstrate the generality of our design by constructing language services for Java, JavaScript, Python, and Haskell and show that they are reusable in the Eclipse IDE and in a web-based IDE. We also evaluate the performance of Monto and show that Monto is responsive and has admissible performance overhead.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSLE 2016 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Software Language Engineering
EditorsT. van der Storm
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4447-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSLE 2016: 9th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Software Language Engineering - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 31 Oct 20161 Nov 2016
Conference number: 9


ConferenceSLE 2016


  • reusable software
  • integrated development environments


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