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Building Parsers with Java™ by Steven John Metsker

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1.1. The Role of Parsers

English is a powerful language. With it, we can write plays and sonnets, grocery lists and business plans, love notes and contracts. A self-evident example is this book, which uses the English language to explain how to write parsers using the Java computer language. If computers could understand English, we would have little need for Java or any other programming language. Perhaps there is some potential to invent a human language that is less flexible and less ambiguous than English—for critical tasks such as launching a spacecraft—but people generally thrive using natural languages, applying the flexibility and even the ambiguity of language to good purpose. With computers, however, this does not work because they ...

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