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About The ANTLR Parser Generator

ANTLR, ANother Tool for Language Recognition, is a language tool that provides a framework for constructing recognizers, compilers, and translators from grammatical descriptions containing actions in a variety of target languages. ANTLR automates the construction of language recognizers. From a formal grammar, ANTLR generates a program that determines whether sentences conform to that language. In other words, it's a program that writes other programs. By adding code snippets to the grammar, the recognizer becomes a translator or interpreter. ANTLR provides excellent support for intermediate-form tree construction, tree walking, translation and provides sophisticated automatic error recovery and reporting.

There are currently about 5,000 ANTLR source downloads a month and is included on all Linux and OS X distributions. ANTLR is widely used because it's easy to understand, powerful, flexible, generates human-readable output, comes with complete source under the BSD license, is actively supported, and usually allows you to write actions in your favorite language.

ANTLR v3 is a completely rewritten version and is the culmination of nearly 20 years of experience building language tools. The goal of version 3 was to provide a really clean source base and to significantly clean up the syntax and semantics of the ANTLR grammar meta-language. While there are significant enhancements based upon new and exciting research, the tool retains its strong mojo and should feel very familiar to ANTLR v2 users. See What is the difference between ANTLR v2 and v3? The core tool is written by Terence Parr, the lunatic behind the previous two versions. v3 took four years of frantic coding and research effort (please see credit).

Terence Parr is the maniac behind ANTLR and has been working on ANTLR since 1989. He is a professor of computer science at the University of San Francisco. Together with his colleagues, Terence has made a number of fundamental contributions to parsing theory and language tool construction, leading to the resurgence of LL(k)-based recognition tools.

Here is a chronological history and list for ANTLR. See ANTLR software license. ANTLR v3 is a complete rewrite of the ANTLR parser generator and is the culmination of over 15 years of experience building language tools. The software represents nearly four years of frantic coding and research effort.