BNF : Java Glossary


BNF (Backus-Naur Form) A way of formally describing the grammar of a language or set of commands. Each element in the language is described in terms of its component elements, which in turn are described by their components. There can be mandatory, optional or repeating elements. Definitions of terms can be recursive. The term BNF is loosely used to describe any scheme for describing a grammar from Burroughs railway diagrams to LALR (Look Ahead Left-to-Right parse) though properly it refers to Backus’s original. It is useful mainly for language lawyers. People understand a grammar best from a carefully chosen set of examples.

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