BNF defined

Subject: BNF defined
From: Mary Anthony <mary -at- PERSISTENCE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Nov 1996 12:16:45 -0800

At 09:01 AM 11/20/96 -0800, you wrote:

>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.

BNF stands for Backus normal form or Backus-Naur form. This was the first
widely used format for describing the syntax of a programming language. -
Dictionary of Computing (Oxford paperback reference 3rd Edition)

I haven't seen anyone using BNF in its pure form. It was originally
developed for Algol 60 (way back in the early 60s). What you see when you
look at say, a UNIX/DOS command, is a really simplified version of BNF, for
example the UNIX cat command syntax is:

cat [ -bnsuvet ] filename...

RE the IBM railroad stuff. I gotta laugh on that one. I actually had the
job of updating all the AIX command "railroads" for a release of IBM's RT
many years ago. When I was done, I could do 'em in my sleep.


"What I read, I forget; what I see, I remember; what I do, I learn."
- Unknown Dressage Master
Mary Anthony mary -at- persistence -dot- com

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