Re: Van Wijngaarden grammars

"Gordon V. Cormack" <>
1 Mar 1996 17:57:43 -0500

          From comp.compilers

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Re: Van Wijngaarden grammars (Charles Lindsey) (1991-08-07)
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Re: Van Wijngaarden grammars (Michael Parkes) (1996-02-27)
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| List of all articles for this month |

From: "Gordon V. Cormack" <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 1 Mar 1996 17:57:43 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 96-02-297 96-02-317
Keywords: parse, algol68 (Tony Finch) wrote:
>Have any languages other than Algol68 used van Wijngaarden grammars
>for their definition?

>Has anyone written a compiler generator that uses van Wijngaarden
>grammars to describe the language to be compiled?

From: Michael Parkes <>
> Question 1: I am not aware of any.
> Question 2: Yes - I know of at least one but the performance was
> reported to be very slow. Most reserach seems to have focused on
> Attribute Grammars as they offer a similar (but reduced) level of
> descriptive power but are generally considered to be more usable.

re: Question 1: In my opinion, the weird formal description of Algol
68 did as much to kill the language as its unparsable grammar. (It's
still one of my favourite languages of all time!)

re: Question 2: In what sense are attribute grammars less descriptive
than VW grammars? With anything but the most trivial attribute
expressions, they can compute anything that's computable. And they're
more comprehensible to mere mortals.

Gordon V. Cormack CS Dept, University of Waterloo, Canada N2L 3G1

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