BIT Numerical Mathematics

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 451–457 | Cite as

Some difficulties with abstract and concrete syntax

  • Jorma Sajaniemi


Abstract syntax is a useful mechanism in defining the semantics of programming languages as it relieves the semantic definition from text handling and syntactic analysis and shows clearly the semantically essential parts of program texts. Abstract syntax is usually required to have a high quality semantic content and so a straightforward forming of abstract syntax from a concrete one may lead to many errors. This paper introduces three error-prone constructs: parentheses that have an uncommon meaning, ambiguous concrete syntax, and empty lists. The first two errors originate in problems with concrete syntax while the last one is due to a weakness of some formalisms for abstract syntax.


Computational Mathematic Programming Language Semantic Content Abstract Syntax Syntactic Analysis 
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Copyright information

© BIT Foundations 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorma Sajaniemi
    • 1
  1. 1.Oy Softplan AbHelsinki 10Finland

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