A Family of Syntax Definition Formalisms

Eelco Visser. A Family of Syntax Definition Formalisms. In Mark G. J. van den Brand, Vania Vieira Estrela, editors, ASF+SDF 1995. A Workshop on Generating Tools from Algebraic Specifications. Technical Report P9504, Programming Research Group, University of Amsterdam, May 1995.


In this paper we design a syntax definition formalism as a family of formalisms. Starting with a small kernel, several features for syntax definition are designed orthogonally to each other. This provides a framework for constructing new formalisms by adapting and extending old ones. The formalism is developed with the algebraic specification formalism ASF+SDF. It provides the following features: lexical and context-free syntax, variables, disambiguation by priorities, regular expressions, character classes and modular definitions. New are the uniform treatment of lexical syntax, context-free syntax and variables, the treatment of regular expressions by normalization yielding abstract syntax without auxiliary sorts, regular expressions as result of productions and modules with hidden imports and renamings.


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