The easiest way to get started is with the ableC bundle. It includes Silver, ableC, a collection of extensions, and some sample projects that use them.

The best way to install this is by running this script. It will use Git to clone the current version of the software and download the Silver JAR files that are needed.


Mac OS X has a few odd bits in the standard .h files that ableC currently does not accept. For now, give it a try on a Linux box. You can download a working VM with it all installed on the downloads page.

Sample projects

Once ableC is installed, take a look at the sample projects (included in the bundle, also available here). Each of the sample projects briefly described below contains a README file with more information.

  • The “down on the farm” project makes use of the sqlite, conditional tables, algebraic data types, and regular expression extensions to analyze a database of farm animals to compute income and expenses.

  • The “parallel tree search” uses the algebraic data types, Cilk, and regular expression extensions to count in parallel the nodes in a binary tree whose values match a given regular expression. This project requires the Cilk runtime libraries, so it is best to start with the “down on the farm” project. If you want to use the Cilk extension, first install the Cilk libraries. The best way to install this is by running this script which will put them in /usr/local.

  • The “using transparent prefixes” project demonstrates how to use transparent prefixes to fix any lexical ambiguities that arise when composing independently-developed language extensions that have passed the modular determinism analysis. Any lexical ambiguities that arise when these grammars are composed will involve a marking token from at least one of the extensions.

Writing extensions

To get started writing extensions, please see the ableC tutorials.