Compilers - Am I writing one?

Alex Esplin alex.esplin at
Sun Jun 29 19:29:38 MDT 2008

On Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 7:09 PM, Daniel C. <dcrookston at> wrote:
> Someone said that I'm writing a compiler and therefore need to learn
> all about context-free grammars, LALR(1) parsers, deterministic finite
> state automata, and all sorts of other sexy-sounding but ultimately
> painful stuff.  Are they right or did they just want to give me
> headaches?

It might not be a bad idea to get some background in parsing theory
(grammars, LL1 parsers).  Deterministic Finite State Automata (DFAs)
are a simplistic method of determining computability.  Doing a little
research on computability theory would be beneficial but possibly not
crucial.  The main usefulness in the theory behind compilers is in
determining what your program can actually do, and as a starting point
to keep something very complicated (a compiler) somewhat manageable.
So it couldn't hurt to do a little reading.

Just my 2 cents.

Alex Esplin

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