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ECMA-335 static formal semantics
Vasenin V., Krivchikov M.  Programming and Computing Software 38 (4): 183-188, 2012. Type: Article
Date Reviewed: Jan 24 2013

Formal semantics are becoming increasingly important as a prerequisite for creating trusted software. This is especially useful when a standard such as ECMA-335 exists for defining a language, in this case, the common language infrastructure (CLI) that underlies Microsoft’s .NET.

But what is static semantics exactly? While it may at first sound fancy, it is nothing but the grammar of a language. In other words, it refers to the classification of well-formed sentences of the language. Naturally, this is a necessary first step in any formalization effort. On the other hand, it is such an easy, straightforward step that no one ever talks about it. They simply do it, before moving on to the actually interesting step of formalizing the dynamic semantics of a language.

Of course, for a standard as large as ECMA-335, extracting the grammar from the semi-formal text still requires a fair amount of work. Having a machine-readable formal grammar for the entire ECMA-335, available as open source, would be a valuable service. Alas, it seems that the authors have not done these tasks.

There does not seem to be any actual content of note in this paper. I am sorry I had to spend my time reading it--and writing about it--but hope that this review might save others from wasting their time.

Reviewer:  Jacques Carette Review #: CR140865 (1304-0318)
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