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Backus Normal Form

Overview#

Backus Normal Form (BNF) is one of the two main notation techniques for context-free grammars, often used to describe the syntax of languages used in computing, such as computer programming languages, document formats, instruction sets and communication protocols.

The other main technique for writing context-free grammars is the van Wijngaarden form. They are applied wherever exact descriptions of languages are needed: for instance, in official language specifications, in manuals, and in textbooks on programming language theory.

Many extensions and variants of the original Backus Normal Form notation are used; some are exactly defined, including Extended Backus–Naur Form (EBNF) and Augmented Backus–Naur Form (ABNF).

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