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Parsing Nonlinear Languages
September 1994 (vol. 20 no. 9)
pp. 720-739

The diagrammatic approach to user interfaces for computer-aided software development toolkits, visual query systems, and visual programming environments, is based on the use of diagrams and charts traditionally drawn on paper. In particular, the VLG system (Visual Language Generator) has been proposed to generate icon-oriented visual languages customized for given applications. The syntactical model underlying the interpretation of a visual language in VLG has been designed to describe icon-oriented visual languages. In order to enable the VLG system to apply to any kind of graphical languages, like diagrammatic ones, it is necessary to find a more general syntactical model able to support both their generation and interpretation. This paper addresses the comprehension of the features that a grammatical formalism for nonlinear languages must have to match any requirement for an efficient parsing. To this aim, relation grammars support an easy implementation of a general parsing algorithm for multidimensional languages, parametric with respect to the rewriting rules of the grammar. We compare the expressive power of relation grammars to grammatical formalisms for graph grammars.

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Index Terms:
visual programming; visual languages; diagrams; programming environments; graphical user interfaces; grammars; software tools; nonlinear language parsing; diagrammatic approach; user interfaces; computer-aided software development toolkits; visual query systems; visual programming environments; diagrams; charts; VLG system; Visual Language Generator; icon-oriented visual languages; syntactical model; visual language; graphical languages; nonlinear languages; parsing; relation grammars; general parsing algorithm; multidimensional languages; rewriting rules; graph grammars
M. Tucci, G. Vitiello, G. Costagliola, "Parsing Nonlinear Languages," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 20, no. 9, pp. 720-739, Sept. 1994, doi:10.1109/32.317427
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