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What is Attribute Grammar

Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Attribute grammar is an extension of context-free grammars in which each symbol has an associated set of attributes that carry semantic information, and each production has a set of semantic rules associated with attribute computation.
Published in Chapter:
Implementation of Programming Languages Syntax and Semantics
Xiaoqing Wu (The University of Alabama, USA), Marjan Mernik (University of Maribor, Slovenia), Barrett R. Bryant (The University of Alabama, USA), and Jeff Gray (The University of Alabama, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch293
Unlike natural languages, programming languages are strictly stylized entities created to facilitate human communication with computers. In order to make programming languages recognizable by computers, one of the key challenges is to describe and implement language syntax and semantics such that the program can be translated into machine-readable code. This process is normally considered as the front-end of a compiler, which is mainly related to the programming language, but not the target machine. This article will address the most important aspects in building a compiler front-end; that is, syntax and semantic analysis, including related theories, technologies and tools, as well as existing problems and future trends. As the main focus, formal syntax and semantic specifications will be discussed in detail. The article provides the reader with a high-level overview of the language implementation process, as well as some commonly used terms and development practices.
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Attribute Grammars and Their Applications
An attribute grammar is an extension of context-free grammar that enables definition of context-sensitive aspects of a language and its translation.
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