Compilers course/Mss. for review (nathan wilbur)
Sun, 18 Sep 1994 04:13:31 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (nathan wilbur)
Summary: Compiler/Language questions
Keywords: question, courses
Organization: Thomson Financial Services
Date: Sun, 18 Sep 1994 04:13:31 GMT

Dear compilers newsgroup readers:

I am the Associate Developmental Editor for Computer Science at PWS
Publishing Company, and I'm working on a manuscript for the Compiler
Design course, written by an author at San Jose State University. At
present, we're in the early planning stages for the book, and have
obtained one evaluation of the outline and prospectus. I'm looking for
informal feedback from people teaching compiler design, on some questions
about the choice of implementation language and/or use of lexical/parser
tools. I'm also interested in hearing from anyone who teaches (or has
recently taught) compiler design, who might be interested in reviewing the

The author uses Pascal as a basis for the pseudocode in the book, and
plans to use C as the implementation language, with Yacc and Lex (or Bison
and Flex) as the lexical/parser tool. Although he'd like to be able to
use C++ as the implementation language, he says doesn't have a
lexical/parser tool geared to C++ available to him, and he suspects that
there really isn't one readily available. If such a tool is available, it
should preferably be: Cheap (almost public domain), widely available, and
resident on both PCs and Macs.

The author was also concerned that C++ used directly (without a tool)
would require him to use the recursive-descent method, which looks very
different when written in object-oriented style, and that the
object-oriented style may be too unfamiliar to students and require
additional class time to explain.

My questions are:

What implementation language do you use in your Compilers course, if you
teach such a course?

Do you use a lexical/parser tool for the language? If so, which one?

Would use of C++ as an implementation language be appropriate for your

Do you cover any automata theory topics in your compiler course (i.e.
Chomsky hierarchy, pushdown automata, automatic construction of lexical
analysers, classes of grammars)?

I'd appreciate any help you could give me. I can be reached at Thank you once again for your assistance.


Mary Thomas
Associate Developmental Editor
Engineering and Computer Science

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