Re: simple vs. complex parsers (Nick Maclaren)
23 May 2003 01:34:29 -0400

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From: (Nick Maclaren)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 23 May 2003 01:34:29 -0400
Organization: University of Cambridge, England
References: 03-02-125 03-02-147 03-03-043 03-03-061 03-03-103 03-04-006 03-04-028 03-04-046 03-04-066 03-04-116 03-05-103 03-05-153
Keywords: parse, design, comment
Posted-Date: 23 May 2003 01:34:29 EDT

Lieven Marchand <> writes:
|> For parsing of Lisp source, you need something equivalent to the Lisp
|> reader. The difference between Lisp and some other languages isn't
|> necessarily the simplicity of syntax but that a parser is included in
|> the standard language.

Gosh! I always thought there were other differences, too :-)

More seriously, that feature has been common in seriously high level
languages (i.e. NOT Algol 68, Fortran 90 or C++) for as long as I have
been in computing. It is also fairly common in quite low level
interpreted languages. And many of the examples did not have Lisp as
a recognisable ancestor - it is a much more widespread facility than
many mainstream programmers realise.

Now, I have been in computing a shorter time than Lisp, and it is
possible that Lisp originated that. Certainly, it has been the
language experimentor's toolbox of choice for something like four
decades. Can anyone confirm if this facility originated with Lisp, or
is it even older?

Nick Maclaren.
[LISP leapt more or less full grown from John McCarthy's head. I'm
not aware of any earlier languages with anything like Lisp's
introspection facilities. -John]

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