Sébastien Doeraene, Ph.D. thesis
Programming languages are increasingly compiled to multiple runtimes, each featuring their own rich structures such as their object model. Furthermore, they need to interact with other languages targeting said runtimes. A language targeting only one runtime can be designed to tailor its semantics to those of that runtime, for easy interoperability with other languages. However, in a language targeting multiple runtimes with differing semantics, it is difficult to cater to each of them while retaining a common behavior across runtimes. We call cross-platform language a language that aims at being both portable across platforms and interoperable with each target platform. Portability is the ability for a program or a library to cross-compile for multiple platforms, and behave the same way on all of them. Interoperability is the ability to communicate with other languages on the same platform. While many cross-compiling languages focus on one of these two properties—only adding support for the other one as an afterthought—, languages that are designed from the ground up to support both are rare.