Tandem of Using Programming Languages: Using ASF+SDF

When one says that things are in tandem, it means that they are working together. Programming language entails grammatical rules that instruct computers to perform specific tasks. When it comes to tandem of using programming languages, it is worth noting that the ASF+SDF meta environment refers to an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and a tool for interactive program analysis and transformation. The ASF+SDF is a framework that specifies programming language.

 Algebraic Specification Formalism (ASF) and the Syntax Definition Formalism (SDF) are used by programmers to interpret programming languages. 


 This was used as a code for specifying programming languages. If you look at an ASF module, you will notice that it carries several algebraic functions, constants, and several variable declarations. ASF specifies the programming language by listing constants and function


SDF, on the other hand, enables the simultaneous specification of both abstract and concrete syntax. This allows definition of context-free and general grammars. While the structure resembles that of ASF, SDF provides a more convenient and expressive notation for the specification.

 Why are ASF and SDF combined?

 You must be wondering why the two were combined. The aim was, for one, to use SDF in place of ASF signature declaration. Secondly, to specify equations by using the declared syntax for algebraic terms.

Thanks to the introduction of an ASF and SDF framework, it is possible to introduce constants and operations for mathematical notation. This is because the extension allows the declaration of lexical syntax for characters and strings, numbers and context-free language. All this has made it convenient to specify abstract data types of maps, lists, and sets.

The lexical syntax can also be defined as lexical grammar. It is merely a regular language consisting of regular expressions. For ASF+SDF to be put to use, there needs to be a Meta-Environment that can support it.

Features of the Meta-Environment

The features of the ASF+SDF Meta-Environment include program analysis, generation of interactive programming environments, petty printer generation, program transformation, and visualization parse trees. The interactive compilation, testing specification, and syntax-directed editing of ASF+SDF specifications are also features of the Meta-Environment.

Application of ASF+SDF

The existence of ASF+SDF is not in vain. It has several industrial applications. Companies are currently using the specification formalism.

One good example is the Banks. The banking industry is using the specified algebraic language to interpret interest rate products, generation of interest rate products from questionnaires, and translation into Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL).

Consultancy companies are also using the specified language. How? It is used to represent object-oriented models in companies. The language is also being compiled into Access. Some banks are already using the algebraic specifications to renovate traditional Common Business Oriented Language systems.

There is much more that is expected from the algebraic specification language. The application of the projects above also offers an arena for students to learn software engineering and algebraic specifications. Did you know that a VPN license also has a relation with ASF? Now you know. ASF+SDF has a significant role to play in programming.