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NAME

       grammar::aycock - Aycock-Horspool-Earley parser generator for Tcl

SYNOPSIS

       package require Tcl  8.5

       package require grammar::aycock  ?1.0?

       ::aycock::parser grammar ?-verbose?

       parserName parse symList valList ?clientData?

       parserName destroy

       parserName terminals

       parserName nonterminals

       parserName save

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

DESCRIPTION

       The  grammar::aycock  package  implements  a  parser  generator  for  the class of parsers
       described in John Aycock and R. Nigel Horspool. Practical Earley  Parsing.   The  Computer
       Journal,                                45(6):620-630,                               2002.
       http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.12.4254

PROCEDURES

       The grammar::aycock package exports the single procedure:

       ::aycock::parser grammar ?-verbose?
              Generates a parser for the given grammar, and returns its name.   If  the  optional
              -verbose  flag is given, dumps verbose information relating to the generated parser
              to the standard output.  The returned parser is an object that accepts commands  as
              shown in OBJECT COMMAND below.

OBJECT COMMAND

       parserName parse symList valList ?clientData?
              Invokes  a  parser  returned  from  ::aycock::parser.  symList is a list of grammar
              symbols representing the terminals in an input string, and valList  is  a  list  of
              their  semantic  values. The result is the semantic value of the entire string when
              parsed.

       parserName destroy
              Destroys a parser constructed by ::aycock::parser.

       parserName terminals
              Returns a list of terminal symbols that may be presented in the symList argument to
              the parse object command.

       parserName nonterminals
              Returns a list of nonterminal symbols that were defined in the parser's grammar.

       parserName save
              Returns  a  Tcl  script  that  will  reconstruct the parser without needing all the
              mechanism of the parser generator at run time.  The reconstructed parser depends on
              a   set  of  commands  in  the  package  grammar::aycock::runtime,  which  is  also
              automatically loaded when the grammar::aycock package is loaded.

DESCRIPTION

       The grammar::aycock::parser command accepts a grammar expressed as a Tcl list.   The  list
       must  be structured as the concatenation of a set of rules. Each rule comprises a variable
       number of elements in the list:

       ·      The name of the nonterminal symbol that the rule reduces.

       ·      The literal string, ::=

       ·      Zero or more names of terminal or nonterminal symbols that comprise the right-hand-
              side of the rule.

       ·      Finally,  a  Tcl  script  to  execute  when  the rule is reduced.  Within the given
              script, a variable called _ contains a list of the semantic values of  the  symbols
              on  the  right-hand  side.  The  value returned by the script is expected to be the
              semantic value of the left-hand side.  If the clientData parameter  was  passed  to
              the  parse  method,  it  is  available  in  a  variable  called  clientData.  It is
              permissible for the script to be the empty string.   In  this  case,  the  semantic
              value of the rule will be the same as the semantic value of the first symbol on the
              right-hand side.  If the right-hand side is also empty, the semantic value will  be
              the empty string.

       Parsing  is done with an Earley parser, which is not terribly efficient in speed or memory
       consumption, but which deals effectively with ambiguous grammars.  For  this  reason,  the
       grammar::aycock  package  is  perhaps  best  adapted to natural-language processing or the
       parsing of extraordinarily complex languages in which ambiguity can be tolerated.

EXAMPLE

       The following code demonstrates a  trivial  desk  calculator,  admitting  only  +,  *  and
       parentheses  as  its operators.  It also shows the format in which the lexical analyzer is
       expected to present terminal symbols to the parser.

              set p [aycock::parser {
                  start ::= E {}
                  E ::= E + T {expr {[lindex $_ 0] + [lindex $_ 2]}}
                  E ::= T {}
                  T ::= T * F {expr {[lindex $_ 0] * [lindex $_ 2]}}
                  T ::= F {}
                  F ::= NUMBER {}
                  F ::= ( E ) {lindex $_ 1}
              }]
              puts [$p parse {(  NUMBER +  NUMBER )  *  ( NUMBER +  NUMBER ) }  {{} 2      {} 3      {} {} {} 7     {} 1      {}}]
              $p destroy

       The example, when run, prints 40.

KEYWORDS

       Aycock, Earley, Horspool, parser, compiler

KEYWORDS

       ambiguous, aycock, earley, grammar, horspool, parser, parsing, transducer

CATEGORY

       Grammars and finite automata

COPYRIGHT

       Copyright (c) 2006 by Kevin B. Kenny <kennykb@acm.org>
       Redistribution permitted under the terms of the Open Publication License <http://www.opencontent.org/openpub/>