Syntax diagram

Visual description of context-free grammar / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Syntax diagrams (or railroad diagrams) are a way to represent a context-free grammar. They represent a graphical alternative to Backus–Naur form, EBNF, Augmented Backus–Naur form, and other text-based grammars as metalanguages. Early books using syntax diagrams include the "Pascal User Manual" written by Niklaus Wirth[1] (diagrams start at page 47) and the Burroughs CANDE Manual.[2] In the compilation field, textual representations like BNF or its variants are usually preferred. BNF is text-based, and used by compiler writers and parser generators. Railroad diagrams are visual, and may be more readily understood by laypeople, sometimes incorporated into graphic design. The canonical source defining the JSON data interchange format provides yet another example of a popular modern usage of these diagrams.