Re: Please provide a learning path for mastering lexical analysis languages

gah4 <>
Fri, 13 May 2022 13:42:30 -0700 (PDT)

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From: gah4 <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Fri, 13 May 2022 13:42:30 -0700 (PDT)
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 22-05-010
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Keywords: lex, practice
Posted-Date: 13 May 2022 20:07:27 EDT
In-Reply-To: 22-05-010

On Friday, May 6, 2022 at 9:13:52 AM UTC-7, Roger L Costello wrote:

> I want to master lexical analysis.

There is a story that there is someone at Microsoft whose only job is the "START" button in the corner.

Does a large compiler company, or compiler group of a large company, have one
person specializing in lexical analysis?

I would have thought that people would work on both lexical analysis
and syntax analysis (parsers), and not specialize in just one.

I might believe that optimization and code generation are different enough,
that someone could specialize in one or the other.

Compiler courses normally teach all parts of compiler writing,
and some compilers are written by one person, or a small group.

Much of the story from Brooks' "Mythical Man-month" is the problem of how
to divide up the work for a large software project. OS/360 was close to
the transition between writing OS in assembler, (including compilers), and writing
them in high-level languages.

There is the story (I believe from Brooks) about the OS/360 linkage editor,
the finest linker ever designed, with the ability to edit already linked load
modules. Just at the time that everyone recompiled programs every time,
and didn't need the ability to partially recompile them.
[As we've seen in recent discussions, the line between the lexer and
the parser can vary a lot and it doesn't make sense to think about one
without the other.

Brooks was referring to the static overlays the linker created, which were
indeed very lovely and were completely obsolete when large physical memory
and virtual addressing came along. "Mythical Man-Month", pages 56-57.
In about 1970 they added a loader that could load and go without writing
a linked module on disk. -John]

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