By Barry F Carlson
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Extra info for A grammar of Spokan : a Salish language of eastern Washington
Having an AST lets us sniff the input multiple times without having to reparse it, which would be pretty inefficient. For example, Pattern 25, Tree-Based Interpreter, on page 243 revisits AST nodes all the time as it executes while loops, and so on. 35 C HOOSING P ATTERNS AND A SSEMBLING A PPLICATIONS The AST also gives us a convenient place to store information that we compute in the various stages of the application pipeline. For example, it’s a good idea to annotate the AST with pointers into the symbol table.
A backtracking parser attempts alternatives in order until one of them matches the current input. In effect, this supports arbitrarily deep lookahead as opposed to the fixed lookahead of Pattern 4, LL(k) Recursive-Descent Parser, on page 59. This pattern is extremely powerful but can be very expensive at run-time. • Pattern 6, Memoizing Parser, on page 78. This pattern dramatically increases speculative parsing performance at the cost of a small amount of memory. • Pattern 7, Predicated Parser, on page 84.
This pattern adds a speculative parsing facility to recursive-descent parsers. It’s useful to have because sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between alternatives without simply trying them. A backtracking parser attempts alternatives in order until one of them matches the current input. In effect, this supports arbitrarily deep lookahead as opposed to the fixed lookahead of Pattern 4, LL(k) Recursive-Descent Parser, on page 59. This pattern is extremely powerful but can be very expensive at run-time.