Re: Compiler history

"John H. Lindsay" <>
13 Jul 2004 22:15:17 -0400

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From: "John H. Lindsay" <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 13 Jul 2004 22:15:17 -0400
Organization: Posted via Supernews,
References: 04-07-006
Keywords: history
Posted-Date: 13 Jul 2004 22:15:17 EDT

toba wrote:
..... But what was before the '60s and after? Can someone
> say a few word about it please?

Most of the compilers were top-down recursive descent (look up
recursive descent!) compilers. Given a grammar that described the
language with writing a compiler in mind, it was straight-forward (not
necessarily easy or quick) to write an ad hoc compiler. Such
compilers had the possibility or giving very specific, descriptive,
helpful, context sensitive error messages.

John H. Lindsay
48 Fairway Hill Crescent, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7M 2B4.
Phone: (613) 546-6988
[Until Algol 60 was described with BNF, there was no common
way to describe a grammar. -John]

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