Railroad Diagrams

Subject: Railroad Diagrams
From: "Wayne J. Douglass" <wayned -at- VERITY -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 09:01:51 -0800

<snip>
> I remember IBM going from the linear approach with the brackets and
> braces and | bars to the syntax diagrams (which somehow acquired the
> name 'railroad' diagrams - tho i'm not sure why). The idea was that
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> the linear approach was difficult to read and understand and remember
> the various distinctions between what brackets means and braces meant
> and brackets inside braces and braces inside brackets and .....
</snip>
The railroad diagrams I have seen to document command syntax give no doubt
why they are so called. Basically, the command is a line with parameters,
etc. as branches. When the whole system is documented it looks like a map of
a railroad yard. They haven't been all the popular, but folks who like them
are fanatical about it. I find them good a memory jogger or job aid, but no
substitute for a good reference.

The other systems mentioned in this thread look like variations of BNF
notation (I think that's what it was called). I don't remember what the
acronym stands for. Some folks' names, I think.

--Wayne Douglass
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