Some compiler questions

18 Feb 86 02:41:00 GMT

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Some compiler questions compilers@ima.UUCP (1986-02-18)
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From: compilers@ima.UUCP
Newsgroups: mod.compilers
Date: 18 Feb 86 02:41:00 GMT

[from ihnp4!tektronix!reed!bart (Bart Massey)]

OK, here's a couple of compiler questions:

A) Is 'recursive descent' really the evil parsing method some books
would have one believe? If so, why? -- things I've read don't make it
very clear...

B) Anybody know of grammar transformers or finite automata generators
running under UN*X? I don't mean lex and yacc here -- I want a symbolic
representation of a MDFA or a BNF grammar as output, rather than a bunch
of @$%^ C code that I then have to go back and strip the logic out of.
The -v mode of yacc isn't TOO bad, but...

Bart Massey
[I always thought that recursive descent was a perfectly reasonable way to
build a compiler, particularly if you don't have an automatic parser generator.
A case can be made that they are better for error correction than bottom-up
parsers, since in a simple case you have a better idea of what you're looking
for. Being able to feed a grammar to a generator program and having it hand
you back a parser that you know will work is awfully nice and I'd never go
back to manual parser writing if it didn't have to. Responsible opposing
opinions invited, as they say. -John]

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