[Mono-dev] Mono-devel-list Digest, Vol 72, Issue 10

Alex xtzgzorex at gmail.com
Thu Apr 7 15:58:48 EDT 2011

I'd just like to add, the Coco/R parser generator actually helps in
both problems here: It has the CONTEXT keyword, LL(1) conflict
resolvers (and lets you peek in the token stream), and finally,
actually lets you define nested comments :)


2011/4/7 Tom Spink <tspink at gmail.com>:
> 2011/4/7 Chris Seaton <chris at chrisseaton.com>:
>> Just be aware that not all grammars can express all languages, and so not all parser-generators can parse all languages. GNU Make does not use a parser-generator to parse Makefiles - perhaps there's a good reason. You say that a lexer for Make would be very context-dependent, and most parse-generators don't handle that well at all.
> Good points!  But, there are tools available that make
> context-sensitive lexing and parsing much easier - flex and bison, for
> example.
>> Generally, parsing is a pretty simple problem in the first place and I think that parser-generators often introduce more problems than they solve. Why can't you nest block comments in C? Because of a limited lexer-generator.
> Well - okay... but you can use a better lexer generator.  Writing
> lexers and parsers by hand does have it's merits - for both academic
> and practical reasons (e.g. at University, I thoroughly enjoyed making
> a finite-state-machine based lexer, and writing an LALR parsing table
> by hand), but when tools that are purpose built for solving a complex
> problem - because in fact parsing /is/ a complex problem - then those
> tools should be utilised as an aid to reduce the amount of time you
> have to spend debugging and altering your own implementation.
> The reason I say that parsing /is/ a complex problem is because
> parsing isn't just about matching input to a specified grammar, it's
> also about building a data structure describing what the input is
> representing, and giving feedback when the input does not conform to
> syntax.  Taking into account this, although it seems that all you're
> trying to do is recognise input, it's actually quite complicated when
> you start having to deal with and process this input.
>> Do a quick google for a Make grammar for Antlr or Jay and see if anyone else has managed it.
> I presume you mention this because there aren't any.
> Touche, Chris. ;-)
>> Regards,
>> Chris Seaton
> -- Tom
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