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Lexical convention from Dennis Ritchie's manual

This is a discussion on Lexical convention from Dennis Ritchie's manual within the C Programming forums, part of the General Programming Boards category; Hi, I have been confused by this statement in the Dennis Ritchie's manual: "If the input stream has been parsed ...

  1. #1
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    Lexical convention from Dennis Ritchie's manual

    Hi,

    I have been confused by this statement in the Dennis Ritchie's manual:

    "If the input stream has been parsed into tokens up to a given character, the next token is taken to include the longest
    string of characters which could possibly constitute a token."

    What does this mean? It is under the Lexical Convention section of the manual.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    We say that the matching is greedy. For example, given the expression a+++b, we break it into the tokens a, ++, + and b rather than a, +, ++ and b.
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  3. #3
    Captain Crash brewbuck's Avatar
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    To extend what laserlight said, it means that if more than one match is possible for the next sequence of characters, then use the longest one.

    The rule is actually rather critical, as it causes the sequence of characters 'abc' to be parsed as the single identifier 'abc', instead of the identifier 'a' followed by identifier 'b' followed by identifier 'c'.
    goodluck likes this.
    Code:
    //try
    //{
    	if (a) do { f( b); } while(1);
    	else   do { f(!b); } while(1);
    //}

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    Thank you laserlight and brewbuck for your responses. That answers my question.

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