Attribute grammar

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Especially for functional programmers (with Haskell examples) -- see Wouter Swierstra: Why Attribute Grammars Matter (published in The Monad.Reader, Issue Four). And also very deep connections with

  • catamorphisms, category theory
  • attribute grammars

are described there. And there are links from that article to other materials providing deep insights in these powerful theories: attribute grammar tools and articles of the Essential Haskell Compiler project.

It is no wonder that it is exactly a compiler project homepage that provides good circular programming and attribute grammar tutorials

the reason may be that a compiler project is complex enough to require good separation of concerns, modularity, reuse (goals of Aspect Oriented Programming, too), and attribute grammars are powerful tools to achieve these goals.

Separation of concerns

Both Swiestra's article (mentioned above) and the Essential Haskell Compiler Project tool (mentioned below) remarks the connection of attribute grammars to the topic of separation of concerns, a goal of aspect orinted programming. This goal can be achieved by multiple ways in functional programming, see the concepts monad and arrow). Swiestra'a article mentions analogies between

  • attribute grammars,
  • (Reader, Writer, State) monads,
  • (fan-out operation of) arrows.

Portals or other rich resources


Utrecht University's Attribute Grammar System tools include also an attribute grammar compiler, UUAGC. The concept of attribute grammar was used in their Essential Haskell Compiler project, which gives us not only a working programming language, but also a good didactical material about using attribute grammars, e.g. in writing compilers.

Albeits these materials are self-contained, they reveal that the theory of attribute grammars is related to other concepts (circular programming, catamorphism).

Robert Dockins has reported Attribute Grammar Support for Happy in the Haskell Communities and Activities Report (10th edititon, June 2006)

Related concepts