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Syntax Definition Formalisms 3 (SDF3) is an academic syntax definition, used for compiling languages. It is part of the Spoofax workbench.


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Syntax and language basics

Formal language definitions are very much related to (context-free) grammars, as we know them from automata.


Sorts are the categorization of both terminals and non-terminals. By defining something as a sort, we can use the declaration in something called productions. A grammar of a language consists of rules aka productions to build a valid program structure. A production consists of a sort, or sort constructor, followed by a body.

An example:

 sorts Expr
 context-free syntax
 Expr = <Expr * Expr>

Lexical vs Context free

An example program