[Haskell-cafe] feasability of implementing an awk interpreter.

Michael Litchard michael at schmong.org
Fri Aug 20 13:14:12 EDT 2010

Thank you all for your encouragement. I need to think about the core
functionality, and do some reading.

On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 2:33 AM, Josef Svenningsson
<josef.svenningsson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 6:05 AM, Jason Dagit <dagit at codersbase.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 8:05 PM, Michael Litchard <michael at schmong.org>
>> wrote:
>>> I'd like the community to give me feedback on the difficulty level of
>>> implementing an awk interpreter. What language features would be
>>> required? Specifically I'm hoping that TH is not necessary because I'm
>>> nowhere near that skill level.
> Implementing an awk interpreter in Haskell can be a fun project. I have a
> half finished implementation lying around on the hard drive. It's perfectly
> possible to implement it without using any super fancy language features.
> But as other people have pointed out, monads are helpful for dealing with a
> lot of the plumbing in the interpreter.
>>> An outline of a possible approach would be appreciated. I am using
>>> http://www.math.utah.edu/docs/info/gawk_toc.html
>>> as a guide to the language description.
>> You might also focus on the 'core' of awk.  Think about, what is the
>> minimal language and start from there.  Grow your implementation adding
>> features bit by bit.  It's also a good opportunity to do testing.  You have
>> a reference implementation and so you can write lots of tests for each
>> feature as you add them.
> When I wrote my awk interpreter I decided to go for the whole language from
> start. I had reasons for doing this as there were certain aspects of this
> that I wanted to capture but it is not they way I would recommend going
> about it. I definitely second Jason's advice at trying to capture the core
> functionality first.
> Have fun,
> Josef

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