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Sameer Borate's Blog: Building a simple Parser and Lexer in PHP

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 17 April 2679.
PHPDeveloper

In a new post to his blog Sameer Borate shows how to create a lexer and parser in PHP to work directly with the tokens of a PHP script.

After looking around for a while [for a good resource on compilers] I settled for Terence Parr's Language Implementation Patterns. This is exactly what I needed - bit sized patterns on compiler and parser design with working code. The book provides a recipe style approach, gradually moving from simple to complex compiler/parser design issues. As I primarily work with PHP, I thought of porting some code to PHP to see how it works.

He shows examples using his custom tool to show a basic lexer output for a list and a complete listing of the code involved. Ultimately, though, he finds that PHP isn't overly suited to the task - anything more than his simple example could be more trouble than it's worth.