Re: Request comments on text.

ihnp4!sask!reid (Irving Reid)
Mon, 6 Jul 87 12:03:35 cst

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Date: Mon, 6 Jul 87 12:03:35 cst
From: ihnp4!sask!reid (Irving Reid)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
References: <252@hubcap.UUCP>
Organization: The Church of the Least Fixed Point

In article <252@hubcap.UUCP> (Dennis Stevenson) writes:
>Someone suggested to me that the Trembley and Sorenson text is a good
>replacement for Aho, Sethi and Ullman.

Well, I'm on the other side - I've used Tremblay and Sorenson, but not the
Dragon book. In fact, I took two senior half-classes (Formal Languages /
Parsing and Compiler Writing (mostly code generation)) from J.P. Tremblay.

T&S (The Theory and Practice of Compiler Writing, McGraw Hill, 1985) gives a
good formal overview of different parsers (LR, SLR, LALR; LL(1)) and the
algorithms used both in parser generators and in the parsers themselves.
It has chapters on machine-independent and machine-dependent optimisation,
though we didn't cover them so I can't really comment. It has plenty of

People who have taken formal languages as a theory class (push-down automata
etc.) may want to skip some of the early chapters which review this stuff.

It also has a chapter on compiler-compiler systems, covering Yacc and things
like it (including ATS, an attributed LL(1) parser generator developed
here); there is some coverage of automatic code-generator generators, which
they hope to extend in a revision of the text some time in the next few

Tou can also get "An Implementation Guide to Compiler Writing", a paperback
which contains the complete (PL/1, unfortunately) implementation of an LL(1)
table driven parser and code generator for a simple programming language.
The authors have expressed the intent to re-write this using C, with ATS for
the parser. Who knows when...

All in all I liked the text; it's big, but then so is the Dragon book. Much
of the detail is set up so it can be skipped in a course and used for
reference later, so the size isn't really a problem.
  - irving - (reid@sask.uucp or {alberta, ihnp4, utcsri}!sask!reid)

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