CFG  Manipulation of ContextFree Grammars
What is CFG?
This OCamllibrary consists of a set of modules which implement functions for analyzing and manipulating contextfree grammars (CFGs) in a purely functional way.
The coremodule cfg_impl.ml
contains a functor which allows the
parameterization of the main transformation functions with arbitrary grammar
entities (terminals, nonterminals, productions). See the interface in
cfg_intf.ml
and the BNFexample.
Thus, you may use this module for any kind of symbolic system that is equivalent to a contextfree grammar. This includes, for example, specifications of algebraic datatypes, which are isomorphic.
Using CFG
Besides building up grammars with the single function add_prod
, some
powerful functions allow you to construct new grammars from old ones: union
,
diff
, inter
. These functions behave somewhat like their set counterparts.
E.g. inter
will generate the intersection of all grammar entities (common
nonterminals and their common productions).
Further manipulation functions exist for:

Pruning unproductive productions and nonterminals: they contain references to nonexistent symbols.

Pruning nonlive entities: such symbols and productions only exist in cyclic derivations from which there is no escape.

Pruning unreachable entities: such symbols and productions cannot be reached from the start symbol.

Generating a 'sane' grammar: combines the above steps. In such grammars each entity is useful.
Functions for getting information on grammars:

Calculating the minimum number of derivations necessary to derive nonterminals and productions. This step is performed during pruning of nonlive symbols, because this process allows the easy collection of this information.

Because the implementation is purely functional, the library can safely and efficiently export its internal representation without copying.
Due to the applicative nature of the library, which allows a lot of sharing in memory (persistency), it should be useful for handling large grammars efficiently.
Documentation of Functions
For details see the API documentation in cfg_intf.ml
.
BNFExample
The example in examples/bnf
uses CFGs in traditional BNFnotation, which
represents terminals and nonterminals as plain strings. It reads in a grammar
specification from stdin
and prints information about the grammar. Here is
an example invocation (from top directory in the distribution after building):
:::sh bnf.native < examples/bnf/test.bnf
You cannot have several productions that contain the same terminals and nonterminals in the same order, because this BNFexample uses the unittype for tagging productions. This does not allow for differences other than of syntactical nature.
Thus, if you want to be able to distinguish between two productions which are otherwise structurally equivalent, just parameterize the CFGmodule so that productions receive an additional tag to make them unequal.
This allows you, for example, to use the library for doing transformations on grammars for abstract syntax, where productions carry additional information concerning static semantics (e.g. attributes). Two syntactically identical productions may have different semantics then and will not be treated the same.
Contact information and contributing
Uptodate information should be available at: http://www.bitbucket.org/mmottl/cfg
Enjoy!
Markus Mottl in Rutherford, NJ on June 29, 2012