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Parsing Techniques: A Practical Guide (Monographs in Computer Science) [Paperback]

by Dick Grune, Ceriel J.H. Jacobs
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 12, 2010 1441919015 978-1441919014 2nd ed. 2008

This second edition of Grune and Jacobs’ brilliant work presents new developments and discoveries that have been made in the field. Parsing, also referred to as syntax analysis, has been and continues to be an essential part of computer science and linguistics. Parsing techniques have grown considerably in importance, both in computer science, ie. advanced compilers often use general CF parsers, and computational linguistics where such parsers are the only option. They are used in a variety of software products including Web browsers, interpreters in computer devices, and data compression programs; and they are used extensively in linguistics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Parsing, also referred to as syntax analysis, has been and continues to be an essential part of computer science and linguistics. Today, parsing is also applied in other disciplines; some examples are document preparation and conversion, chemical formulae typesetting, and chromosome recognition.

In addition to the traditional parsing techniques, this second edition presents new developments and discoveries: generalized deterministic parsing, linear-time substring parsing, parallel parsing, parsing as intersection, non-canonical methods, non-Chomsky systems, and many more.

Parsing techniques provide a solid basis for compiler construction and linguistics, and contribute to all existing software: they enable Web browsers to analyze HTML pages and PostScript printers to analyze PostScript, and some of the more advanced techniques are used in code generation in compilers and in data compression. Also their importance as general pattern recognizers is slowly being acknowledged.

To provide readers with low-threshold access to the full field of parsing techniques, this book uses a two-tiered structure. The basic ideas behind the existing parsing techniques are explained in an intuitive and narrative style, starting from the first principles of data structures and algorithms; this provides breadth and accessibility. The hundreds of realizations and improvements of these basic ideas are explained in an extensive annotated bibliography, in a much terser, yet still informal style; this provides depth.

The reader should have an understanding of algorithmic thinking, especially recursion; however, knowledge of any particular programming language is not required.

Product Details

  • Series: Monographs in Computer Science
  • Paperback: 662 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2nd ed. 2008 edition (February 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441919015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441919014
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The clearest, most comprehensive survey of the field January 26, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have spent the last six months of my life learning as much as I can about parsing. I own half a shelf of compiler books, and I have flipped through the pages of half a shelf more.

No other book approaches the clarity and comprehensiveness of this book.

When you try to read most literature about parsing, authors tend to throw around a lot of terms without explaining them. What exactly is a "deterministic" parser, a "canonical" parser, a "directional" parser? Grune and Jacobs explain every one of these distinctions lucidly, and put all known algorithms in context of how they compare to the rest of the field. How do the algorithms compare in what languages they can parse, how fast they are, and how much of the work can be done ahead of time? The book addresses all of these trade-offs, but doesn't stop at asymptotic complexity: in chapter 17 (the comparative survey), they note that general parsers may be a factor of ten or so slower than deterministic methods, even though both are linear. This high-level overview and comparative survey are something I was desperately seeking, and I've found nothing comparable to them anywhere.

There is also a lot of important background information that other authors tend to assume you know: for example, did you know that when authors say "LL" they almost always mean "strong LL" unless they specifically say "full LL?" Are you totally clear on the difference between strong LL, simple LL, and full LL? If you're not sure, Grune and Jacobs will give you all the explanation you need to fully understand.

This book strikes a perfect balance between breadth and depth.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without peer April 14, 2010
There is no book I know of that is more comprehensive, authoritative, or helpful on the topic of parsing. It is no exaggeration to call this book indispensable to anyone working on parsing technology. I mean that quite sincerely -- in terms of careful exposition, in-depth discussion, thoughtful examples, helpful diagrams, and breadth of techniques described, this book is simply the best in existence.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This edition is NOT available on-line January 22, 2008
The first edition is available at Grune's web site but this very much expanded second edition is not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly easy read. January 10, 2012
By r66-y
I bought the book expecting to get overwhelmed with terminology, complex explanations and zero examples. This was absolutely not the case. This book follows examples in great detail, gives practical advice and doesn't skimp on theory either. It also leaves nothing unexplained. Any bit of parser terminology you don't understand can be quickly looked up in the index and is defined within the text.

This book is amazingly easy to read and follow. After reading the section on LL parsers, I was able to easily construct a strong LL(1) parser generator in C++.
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