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Parsing Techniques: A Practical Guide (Monographs in Computer Science) Paperback – November 23, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1441919014 ISBN-10: 1441919015 Edition: 2nd ed. 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Monographs in Computer Science
  • Paperback: 662 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2nd ed. 2008 edition (November 23, 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: #1,213,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Haberman on 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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert N. Jellinghaus on April 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
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 By Robert L. Knighten on January 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 By r66-y on January 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
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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