We review META, a classic technique for building recursive descent parsers, that is both simple and efficient. While META does not handle all possible regular or context-free grammars, it handles a surprisingly large fraction of the grammars encountered by Lisp programmers. We show how META can be used to parse streams, strings and lists--including Common Lisp's hairy lambda expression parameter lists. Finally, we compare the execution time of this parsing method to the built-in methods of Common Lisp.
Document location: http://home.pipeline.com/~hbaker1/Prag-Parse.html
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