Re: Syntax directed compilation

"Aaron Gray" <>
Mon, 28 May 2007 02:10:28 +0100

          From comp.compilers

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From: "Aaron Gray" <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Mon, 28 May 2007 02:10:28 +0100
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 07-05-088
Keywords: parse, design
Posted-Date: 28 May 2007 23:44:09 EDT

"Barry Kelly" <> wrote in message
>I recall, a long time back on this group, people pointing out that
> languages supporting redefinable or user extensible grammars have
> never taken off, and that like heavy armour on insects, it's a feature
> more notable of the extinct than the extant. The argument against them
> seems to be "too much power, users write their own languages and then
> can't understand one another's". That always seemed like a weak
> argument to me, and in this day and age of DSLs and indirect program
> rewriting in dynamic languages, I wonder if it just hasn't been done
> correctly yet.

Yes me too.

> Has there been research in this area that I've missed on my searches
> (using 'syntax directed compilation' as my main phrase)?

Dylan is worth looking at it has a macro system that gives a frontended


Also you can look at 'prop' :-


I ported it to MSVC and modern GCC some time ago but have not really done
much with it. Its a preprocessor to C++, with compiler-compiler and
functional facilities.

> Is the idea trivially dismissible by some argument I'm not aware of?
> Or is the idea completely bonkers, and am I clearly advertising my
> insanity by outlining it?

No, it just a very difficult thing to do and get right in a language. It
really needs a proper archetecture and/or an "open compiler", to coin a


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