Are there "compiler generators"?

Roger L Costello <>
Sat, 28 May 2022 22:27:53 +0000

          From comp.compilers

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From: Roger L Costello <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Sat, 28 May 2022 22:27:53 +0000
Organization: Compilers Central
Injection-Info:; posting-host=""; logging-data="91449"; mail-complaints-to=""
Keywords: question, comment
Posted-Date: 28 May 2022 22:16:18 EDT
Content-Language: en-US

Hi Folks,

There are lexer generators. Flex is a lexer generator.

There are parser generators. Bison is a parser generator.

Are there compiler generators?

Page 52 of the book "Crafting a Compiler with C" says this in the chapter
titled "Scanning--Theory and Practice":

Programming a scanner generator is an example of nonprocedural programming.
That is, unlike ordinary programming, which we call procedural, we do not tell
a scanner generator "how" do scan but simply "what" we want scanned. This is a
higher-level approach and in many ways a more natural one. Much recent
research in computer science is directed toward nonprocedural programming
styles. (Database query languages and Prolog, a "logic" programming language,
are nonprocedural.) Nonprocedural programming is most successful in limited
domains, such as scanning, where the range of implementation decisions that
must be automatically made is limited. Nonetheless, a long-standing (and as
yet unrealized) goal of computer scientists is to generate an entire compiler
from a specification of the properties of the source language and target

That was written in 1991. Is it still true in 2022--there are no compiler

[There are certainly programs that will generate a combined lexer and parser
but there's a lot more to a compiler. -John]

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