Recommendations on books on Parsing Techniques and Context-Free Languages

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Recommendations on books on Parsing Techniques and Context-Free Languages

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Mar 3, 2011, 12:59pm

Knuth says that Volume 5 of The Art of Computer Programming, to cover Lexical Scanning and Parsing Techniques, is "estimated to be ready in 2020" and that Volume 6 will cover "the theory of context-free languages".

While I have enjoyed the first three volumes of TAoCP, I don't want to wait until 2020 and beyond to read an in-depth treatment of parsing techniques and theory of context-free languages. What books can you recommend for someone who doesn't have a CS degree but has considerable development experience, and is not afraid of math but has never taken calculus?


Mar 3, 2011, 5:02pm

Does your development experience include using lex+yacc (or JavaCC or ANTLR or whatever) already? Or are you starting from scratch?

Back in the day, the place to go to learn about parsing was the Dragon Book.

Mar 3, 2011, 10:20pm

I'm pretty much starting from scratch.

Thanks for the pointer.

Aug 8, 2017, 10:06pm

For Lexx and YACC I have read that "Brinch Hansen on Pascal compilers" is helpful (ISBN 9780130830982). I have not read it but I actually have it and I am surprised it is worth as much as it is, so it must be good. I have a couple or more of other compiler books I have not read.

Aug 9, 2017, 9:29am

>4 SamHobbs: The fact that no one else on LT appears to have Brinch Hansen on Pascal compilers is not a ringing endorsement. But thanks for the response.

Edited: Aug 18, 2017, 7:44pm

>5 Foretopman: perhaps they should. See:

Compiler Reading - Page 2 - Nim Forum

Learning Resources on Parsers, Interpreters, and Compilers

Learning to write a compiler

Two of the three state explicitly that the title is misleading.