[antlr-interest] What we *do* like about ANTLR
robin at debreuil.com
Wed Mar 10 15:12:50 PST 2004
- It actually works - this is not a minor consideration. Works very well in
fact, and all of it.
- It is simple enough that you can get useful work done within a few days,
and pursue the finer points over time.
- Cross platform (C++, C# versions), and cross OS (java based)
- It is free to use, and to modify little things to suit your specific needs
(er, I think!)
- The grammar markup is consistant - a few concepts will generally apply the
same way in different situations (eg, ! applies to a rule, a choice, a
subrule, a Token - similar with labels etc.)
- The ability to insert native code anywhere, and actually see what it is up
to (in a grok-able context) in the output.
- The syntax and concepts are similar across Lexer, Parser, and Tree walker
- The generated code is easy to understand, conceptually as well, so it
isn't a 'magic' blackbox step.
- There is a lot of underlying prewritten goodness that can help you out, at
your option. Nothing is forced on you.
- You have near total control over what the generated tree looks like, and
things like hetrogeneous trees are not an all or nothing option.
- It is complete across stages - eg. it isn't a lexer with a parser quickly
tacked on, so one program, one set of concepts, no gluing chunks together.
- Documentation is quite good for those just starting out, with plenty of
- It is similar enough to ebnf etc. that such documents remain very useful
- Grammars are easy to read, navigate and modify (as opposed to say regular
expressions etc). Doing things like moving a task from the Lexer to the
Parser is trivial.
- Option to use it as a (uber) filter is great
- Multiple contributors are welcomed, feedback is solicited, improvment is
- The 'culture' around the program is very generous, encouraging and smart -
and tolerant of newcomers :).
- There is a great mailing list (filled with the above people) with a
- There is a central up to date site with the latest news, tutorials,
grammars, and oh yes, that picture. Mostly it all comes down to that
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