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Comment: Crisp and clean softcover in good condition with moderate shelf-wear to surface and edges. Interior pages are clean and free from writing and highlighting. Spine is solid and binding is tight. Lower corners of front cover and several interior pages are slightly bent/dog-eared. Book is in stock and ready for immediate shipment. Eligible for FREE Super Saver and Prime Shipping! International orders welcome! Thanks for the purchase!
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Build Your Own .NET Language and Compiler Paperback – May 13, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1590591345 ISBN-10: 1590591348 Edition: 2004th

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Product Details

  • Series: Expert's Voice
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 2004 edition (May 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590591348
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590591345
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

strongEdward G. Nilges/strong has been developing software since 1970. He worked on debugging an early Fortran compiler in 1972 and made it available to a university community. While at Bell-Northern Research, the research arm of Nortel Networks, in 1981, Edward worked on compiler development and developed the SL-1XT compiler for voice and data PBX programming, as well as a firmware assembler that was compiled automatically from the firmware reference manual. pIn 1993, he began developing with VB3 and has developed a variety of projects in Basic. Edward also assisted mathematician John Nash (the real-life protagonist of the movie "A Beautiful Mindem"/em) with C during a critical period in which Dr. Nash was being considered for the 1993 Nobel Prize. In 1999, Edward developed his vbExpression2Value VB6 technology to parse and interpret SQL Server and VB expressions for his classes at DeVry. In 2001, acting upon a suggestion from a student colleague at Princeton, Edward used his beta copy of VB .NET to write the fully object-oriented quickBasicEngine. /p pEdward currently consults on the use of compiler technology in the real world to parse and interpret complex business rules in industries such as mortgage lending and credit evaluation. He finds that compiler optimization can be used to verify the consistency and completeness of business rule sets./p

Customer Reviews

There are all sorts of small details to attend to, but this seems to be the gist.
W Boudville
The fact that the author writes excuses for the book in his own review of the book should tip you off that something is not what you would think it is at face value.
R. Balsover
Based on his misconceptions on much about anything else, I'm not giving him a lot of credit.
Joaquin Jares

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have been waiting for a book like this for quite awhile. I've read John Gough's book and although that was too much Pascal for me; it was certainly closer to the topic than this book. This book is both incomplete and off the mark. One of the tools, a BNF Analyzer, is written (poorly) in Visual Basic 6. The downloaded source for the programs don't compile "out of the box" either. This was a rush job or done poorly in someone's spare time. Some of the code is from 1998.
Here's the kicker. The author talks about how to write BNF and analyze it, but he actually doesn't use it in his sample compiler. He wrote the compiler manually "in a few days". Then, he talks about producing MSIL, but doesn't, opting for his own opcode syntax with an interpreter. There is no information in this book about producing a compiler that will create .NET code.
This was a lazy and deceitful attempt and the author should be ashamed for not taking the time to do it properly using BNF to create the compiler engine and then producing MSIL, which is the whole point of the title "Build Your Own .NET Language and Compiler".
He clearly knows what he's talking about, but he tried to throw together a bunch of his compiler knowledge in hopes of making a quick buck. Sadly, I was suckered into it, but hopefully, you'll read this and skip it entirely.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By R. Balsover on November 9, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I preordered the book and I forced to admit that I was disappointed in the end product. The title implies that a compiler is created for .NET, but it does not create a MSIL compiler (such as C# or VB.NET). The provided code while it is written in a .NET language does not produce MSIL which is what the title of the book implies, instead the compiler runs it's own p-code. There is no partially correct statement as a previous review states, either it is or it is not and this is *not* a .NET compiler.

The fact that the author writes excuses for the book in his own review of the book should tip you off that something is not what you would think it is at face value. If you read the book you will find that he also makes such a statement that the code may not be what you were expecting in the book itself. Nilges knows that something is wrong.

That being said, if you have no background in writing compilers then this book may be of some value to you as an introductory text on the subject but don't expect to find anything here of any real use to your own work. If you think that you might enjoy the book then buy it used.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Eric W. Engler on July 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book starts out explaing the standard notational language

used to define the syntax of a language: BNF (and extended BNF).

The authors VB6 EBNF-to-doc compiler "compiles" an EBNF

grammer into a documentation file! This is a novel idea

and it helps to show how EBNF relates to the syntax of the

language in question.

Although his presentation of EBNF is masterful, he didn't

use EBNF to generate the parser for his compiler. I expected

him to use a parser generator like ANTLR or coco/R to generate

a scanner and recursive decent parser automatically from

the grammer. Instead, he chose to "roll his own" scanner

and parser.

His scanner seems very good, and his discussion of

the scanner is thorough.

His parser is harder to judge by reading the book since he

kept getting off the main subject and he didn't really

explain the parsing code.

His code generator discussion has some nuggets of wisdom,

but is poorly organized.

One overriding concern with this author is that he

doesn't use terminology consistant with other

authors. He doesn't use common terms like p-code,

intermediate language, virtual machine, or the like.

His non-standard use of the word "assembling" is really

just a step that removes comments from his p-code!

The authors presentation can get off track frequently.

Its hard to find 5 pages in a row that stay on

subject completely. He also likes to quote famous people,

often out of context to the subject at hand.
Read more ›
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. Cleary on April 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a mediocre book. I probably would have given it 2.5 stars if it was allowed, but it definitely isn't worth 3.

The issues I have with the book are:

1) It just isn't very good. If you want to develop a compiler/programming language, get: Lex and Yacc (Levine, Mason, Brown), Compiler Construction: Principles and Practice (Louden), and Programming Language Pragmatics (Scott). All of them are excellent books.

2) I'm not sure what to make of the author's incessant injections of political diatribes into the book. He tries to hide it by couching it in sidebars and philosophical quotes but it really sticks out like a sore thumb. There's the quip about Nixon invading Cambodia, the quote from Carl Marx, and then the passage accusing (Dilbert creator) Scott Adams of having "mocked offshore and immigrant developers" and of "essentially exploit[ing] the ordinary working folks he left behind." Is this supposed to be a political book or a book about writing compilers?

3) The writing style is a bit longwinded. For example, take a look at the review he wrote for his own book. Admittedly, the book isn't nearly as unfocused as his rambling review, but it could've been more concise. Luckily, in the book he keeps much of his rambling contained in the footnotes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Edward G. Nilges published Build Your Own .Net Language after a thirty year career as a software developer and educator, working for companies and organizations including Princeton University and Bell-Northern Research. At Princeton, he was honored to assist Nobelist John Nash: at Bell-Northern Research he was responsible for internal compiler development for the SL/I language.

Nilges has published on technology since 1976. An early discovery, made simultaneously with hundreds of other practitioners, was the fact that creating tools to do a job was both more fun and more productive than doing many of the dirty jobs that exist in the so-called real world. For example, when called upon to unsnarl an odious Cobol program that was supposed to bill users for complex PBX usage and did not, Nilges successfully persuaded his company to let him simulate the architecture of the switch in Cobol.

Some of these war stories appear in Build Your Own.

Today, however, Nilges is rather fed up with programming and programmers, although he still uses .Net C Sharp with enthusiasm and is learning F Sharp. Instead, he is a full time teacher with a huge number of students in China, ranging from small children to adults. He prefers at times the honesty and directness of small children to some of the utter nonsense he saw in the computer industry.

As spinoza1111 on the Internet, Nilges has a louche reputation because his writing style and dislike of bullying tends to get him into flame wars. These days he is sharpening his poetic skills for his teaching by replying, in some threads, exclusively in verse form.

Nilges has two adult children and lives today in Hong Kong, on an offshore island.

Nilges blogs at

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