ASTs: can they be "standardized"?

"Tony" <>
Fri, 31 Oct 2008 21:50:03 -0500

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Related articles
ASTs: can they be "standardized"? (Tony) (2008-10-31)
Re: can they be "standardized"? (Ira Baxter) (2008-11-01)
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From: "Tony" <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 21:50:03 -0500
Organization: at&t
Keywords: AST, question, comment
Posted-Date: 01 Nov 2008 08:32:08 EDT
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What is the best "main" form for representation of a software program
(or lib etc)? Human-readable text? The Abstract Syntax Tree perhaps?
Something in-between?

The reason I asked, in the subject of this post, if ASTs could be
standardized, is because I am kinda thinking that the AST may be the
"center stage" of code representation (?). At a higher level than
typing text, one can build software by moving boxes around, making
arrows etc. or doing something like a GUI editor does. Is the focus on
text editing to create software "a dumb idea" these days? Sure, coding
has moved a notch away from assembly, but it's still pretty much
punching in all the dashes and dots.

[People have been looking for a common intermediate representation for
over 50 years, and it's a famous swamp from which nobody returns. Google
UNCOL for some of the older failures. The basic problem is that we have
no good way to describe the semantics of real computer languages, and the
accumulation of little differences around the edges kill you. -John]

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