Where can I find a formal grammar for MATLAB?

I would like to write a lexer generator to convert a basic subset of the MATLAB language to C#, C++, etc. To help me do this, I would like to find a document containing the formal grammar for MATLAB. Having spent a bit of time investigating this, it seems that Mathworks do not provide one.

Does anyone know where I could find such a document?

Answers


Excellent opportunity to write your own formal grammar :)

If you should choose to write the grammer your self, I can recommend BNFC which can take a formal BNF grammar and construct data structures and lexers/parsers for a couple of target languages (C/C++, C#, Java, Haskell etc.). This would save you a lot of time and let you focus on formulating the grammar, and then get right to implementing the converter in your language of preference.

If nothing else, the link to BNFC contains some help and pointers on how to formulate a BNF grammar. Best of luck!


This is not complete grammar but yacc-keable for matlab provided for a compiler course in year 2000. From this, you can easily create BNF and EBNF.

primary_expression
        : IDENTIFIER                  
        | CONSTANT    
        | STRING_LITERAL        
        | '(' expression ')'
        | '[' ']'
        | '[' array_list ']'
        ;

postfix_expression
        : primary_expression
        | array_expression
        | postfix_expression TRANSPOSE
        | postfix_expression NCTRANSPOSE
        ;

index_expression
        : ':'
        | expression
        ;

index_expression_list
        : index_expression
        | index_expression_list ',' index_expression
        ;

array_expression
        : IDENTIFIER '(' index_expression_list ')'
        ;

unary_expression
        : postfix_expression
        | unary_operator postfix_expression
        ;

unary_operator
        : '+'
        | '-'
        | '~'
        ;

multiplicative_expression
        : unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression '*' unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression '/' unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression '\\' unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression '^' unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression ARRAYMUL unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression ARRAYDIV unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression ARRAYRDIV unary_expression
        | multiplicative_expression ARRAYPOW unary_expression
        ;

additive_expression
        : multiplicative_expression
        | additive_expression '+' multiplicative_expression
        | additive_expression '-' multiplicative_expression
        ;

relational_expression
        : additive_expression
        | relational_expression '<' additive_expression
        | relational_expression '>' additive_expression
        | relational_expression LE_OP additive_expression
        | relational_expression GE_OP additive_expression
        ;

equality_expression
        : relational_expression
        | equality_expression EQ_OP relational_expression
        | equality_expression NE_OP relational_expression
        ;

and_expression
        : equality_expression
        | and_expression '&' equality_expression
        ;

or_expression
        : and_expression
        | or_expression '|' and_expression
        ;

expression
        : or_expression
    | expression ':' or_expression
    ;

assignment_expression
        : postfix_expression '=' expression

eostmt
        :  ','
        |  ';'
        |  CR
        ;

statement
        : global_statement
        | clear_statement
        | assignment_statement
        | expression_statement
        | selection_statement
        | iteration_statement
        | jump_statement
        ;

statement_list
        : statement
        | statement_list statement
        ;

identifier_list
        : IDENTIFIER
        | identifier_list IDENTIFIER
        ;

global_statement
        : GLOBAL identifier_list eostmt
        ;

clear_statement
        : CLEAR identifier_list eostmt
        ;

expression_statement
        : eostmt
        | expression eostmt
        ;

assignment_statement
        : assignment_expression eostmt
        ;

array_element
        : expression
        | expression_statement
        ;

array_list
        : array_element
        | array_list array_element
        ;

selection_statement
        : IF expression statement_list END eostmt
        | IF expression statement_list ELSE statement_list END eostmt
        | IF expression statement_list elseif_clause END eostmt
        | IF expression statement_list elseif_clause
          ELSE statement_list END eostmt
        ;

elseif_clause
        : ELSEIF expression statement_list
    | elseif_clause ELSEIF expression statement_list
        ;

iteration_statement
        : WHILE expression statement_list END eostmt
        | FOR IDENTIFIER '=' expression statement_list END eostmt
        | FOR '(' IDENTIFIER '=' expression ')' statement_list END eostmt 
        ;

jump_statement
        : BREAK eostmt
        | RETURN eostmt
        ;

translation_unit
        : statement_list
        | FUNCTION function_declare eostmt statement_list
        ;

func_ident_list
        : IDENTIFIER
        | func_ident_list ',' IDENTIFIER
        ;

func_return_list
        : IDENTIFIER
        | '[' func_ident_list ']'
        ;

function_declare_lhs
        : IDENTIFIER
        | IDENTIFIER '(' ')'
        | IDENTIFIER '(' func_ident_list ')'
        ;

function_declare
        : function_declare_lhs
        | func_return_list '=' function_declare_lhs
        ;

Dave Wingate provides some Antler resources that look like an excellent place to start. As noted in his README file, he doesn't include the transpose operator and a few other tricky parses. See the mparser link here: http://web.mit.edu/~wingated/www/resources.html

Some of the tricky bits of earlier versions of Matlab ( 1999) are also described in a document by a group from Northwestern. It includes has EBNF-like descriptions. It also outlines some nasty bits in some footnotes. http://www.ece.northwestern.edu/cpdc/pjoisha/MAGICA/CPDC-TR-9909-017.pdf

I've collected a couple of other less relevant sources, but stackoverflow's editor bot tells me I don't have enough reputation point to post more than two links.


You can start by adapting the MATLAB -> Python converter smop that is itself written in Python. It uses PLY (Python lex-yacc). The files you would likely be interested in starting from are lexer.py and parse.py.

See also this answer for a list of converters from MATLAB to Python.


I'm not sure when exactly it appeared (possibly Mar-Apr 2019), but it is now available on Mathworks' GitHub. Here's the grammar-defining xml file (as of 09-Apr-2019; compressed to avoid the SO post character limit):

Copyright 2018 The MathWorks, Inc., under the BSD2 license.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd"><plist 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                            (^\s*)                              # Leading whitespace
                            (classdef)
                            \b\s*
                            (                                   # Optional attributes
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                                )?
                            )
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                                    (                                   # Optional attributes
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                                </string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>2</key><dict><key>name</key><string>keyword.control.enumeration.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>end</key><string>^\s*(end)\b</string><key>endCaptures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>keyword.control.end.enumeration.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>name</key><string>meta.enumeration.matlab</string></dict><dict><key>include</key><string>$self</string></dict></array></dict></array></dict><key>command_dual</key><dict><key>captures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>string.interpolated.matlab</string></dict><key>2</key><dict><key>name</key><string>variable.other.command.matlab</string></dict><key>28</key><dict><key>name</key><string>comment.line.percentage.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>comment</key><string>  1        2                                  3                                                    4                                                  5                                                    6                                                         7                                                                             8                 9                            10                   11                      12                         13                   14                                                               1516       17                                                             18                                                                                                                               19                      20                                     21                                    22                                      23                                         24                                         25                                                                         26            27                 28</string><key>match</key><string>^\s*((?# A&gt; )([b-df-hk-moq-zA-HJ-MO-Z]\w*|a|an|a([A-Za-mo-z0-9_]\w*|n[A-Za-rt-z0-9_]\w*|ns\w+)|e|ep|e([A-Za-oq-z0-9_]\w*|p[A-Za-rt-z0-9_]\w*|ps\w+)|in|i([A-Za-mo-z0-9_]\w*|n[A-Za-eg-z0-9_]\w*|nf\w+)|I|In|I([A-Za-mo-z0-9_]\w*|n[A-Za-eg-z0-9_]\w*|nf\w+)|j\w+|N|Na|N([A-Zb-z0-9_]\w*|a[A-MO-Za-z0-9_]\w*|aN\w+)|n|na|nar|narg|nargi|nargo|nargou|n([A-Zb-z0-9_]\w*|a([A-Za-mo-qs-z0-9_]\w*|n\w+|r([A-Za-fh-z0-9_]\w*|g([A-Za-hj-nq-z0-9_]\w*|i([A-Za-mo-z0-9_]\w*|n\w+)|o([A-Za-tv-z0-9_]\w*|u([A-Za-su-z]\w*|t\w+))))))|p|p[A-Za-hj-z0-9_]\w*|pi\w+)(?# &lt;A )\s+(((?# B&gt; )([^\s;,%()=.{&amp;|~&lt;&gt;:+\-*/\\@^'"]|(?=')|(?="))(?# &lt;B )|(?# C&gt; )(\.\^|\.\*|\./|\.\\|\.'|\.\(|&amp;&amp;|==|\|\||&amp;(?=[^&amp;])|\|(?=[^\|])|~=|&lt;=|&gt;=|~(?!=)|&lt;(?!=)|&gt;(?!=)|:|\+|-|\*|/|\\|@|\^)(?# &lt;C )(?# D&gt; )([^\s]|\s*(?=%)|\s+$|\s+(,|;|\)|}|\]|&amp;|\||&lt;|&gt;|=|:|\*|/|\\|\^|@|(\.[^\d.]|\.\.[^.])))(?# &lt;D )|(?# E&gt; )(\.[^^*/\\'(\sA-Za-z])(?# &lt;E ))(?# F&gt; )([^%]|'[^']*'|"[^"]*")*(?# &lt;F )|(?# X&gt; )(\.(?=\s)|\.[A-Za-z]|(?={))(?# &lt;X )(?# Y&gt; )([^(=\'"%]|==|'[^']*'|"[^"]*"|\(|\([^)%]*\)|\[|\[[^\]%]*\]|{|{[^}%]*})*(\.\.\.[^%]*)?((?=%)|$)(?# &lt;Y )))(%.*)?$</string></dict><key>comment_block</key><dict><key>begin</key><string>(^[\s]*)%\{[^\n\S]*+\n</string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.comment.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>end</key><string>^[\s]*%\}[^\n\S]*+(?:\n|$)</string><key>name</key><string>comment.block.percentage.matlab</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>include</key><string>#comment_block</string></dict><dict><key>match</key><string>^[^\n]*\n</string></dict></array></dict><key>comments</key><dict><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>begin</key><string>(^[ \t]+)?(?=%%\s)</string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.whitespace.comment.leading.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>end</key><string>(?!\G)</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>begin</key><string>%%</string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>0</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.comment.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>end</key><string>\n</string><key>name</key><string>comment.line.double-percentage.matlab</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>begin</key><string>\G[^\S\n]*(?![\n\s])</string><key>contentName</key><string>meta.cell.matlab</string><key>end</key><string>(?=\n)</string></dict></array></dict></array></dict><dict><key>include</key><string>#comment_block</string></dict><dict><key>begin</key><string>(^[ \t]+)?(?=%)</string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.whitespace.comment.leading.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>end</key><string>(?!\G)</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>begin</key><string>%</string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>0</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.comment.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>end</key><string>\n</string><key>name</key><string>comment.line.percentage.matlab</string></dict></array></dict></array></dict><key>control_statements</key><dict><key>captures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>keyword.control.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>match</key><string>^\s*(break|continue|return)\b</string><key>name</key><string>meta.control.matlab</string></dict><key>function</key><dict><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>begin</key><string>(?x)
                            (^\s*)                                              # Leading whitespace
                            (function)
                            \s+
                            (?:                                                 # Optional
                                (?:
                                    (\[) ([^\]]*) (\])
                                  | ([a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*)
                                )
                                \s* = \s*
                            )?
                            ([a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*(\.[a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_]*)*)   # Function name
                            \s*                                                 # Trailing space
                        </string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>2</key><dict><key>name</key><string>storage.type.function.matlab</string></dict><key>3</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.arguments.begin.matlab</string></dict><key>4</key><dict><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>match</key><string>\w+</string><key>name</key><string>variable.parameter.output.matlab</string></dict></array></dict><key>5</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.arguments.end.matlab</string></dict><key>6</key><dict><key>name</key><string>variable.parameter.output.function.matlab</string></dict><key>7</key><dict><key>name</key><string>entity.name.function.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>end</key><string>^\s*(end)\b(\s*\n)?</string><key>endCaptures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>keyword.control.end.function.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>name</key><string>meta.function.matlab</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>begin</key><string>\G\(</string><key>end</key><string>\)</string><key>name</key><string>meta.arguments.function.matlab</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>match</key><string>\w+</string><key>name</key><string>variable.parameter.input.matlab</string></dict></array></dict><dict><key>include</key><string>$self</string></dict></array></dict></array></dict><key>global_persistent</key><dict><key>captures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>keyword.control.globalpersistent.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>match</key><string>^\s*(global|persistent)\b</string><key>name</key><string>meta.globalpersistent.matlab</string></dict><key>line_continuation</key><dict><key>captures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>keyword.operator.symbols.matlab</string></dict><key>2</key><dict><key>name</key><string>comment.line.continuation.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>comment</key><string>Line continuations</string><key>match</key><string>(\.\.\.)(.*)$</string><key>name</key><string>meta.linecontinuation.matlab</string></dict><key>string</key><dict><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>captures</key><dict><key>1</key><dict><key>name</key><string>string.interpolated.matlab</string></dict><key>2</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.string.begin.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>comment</key><string>Shell command</string><key>match</key><string>^\s*((!).*$\n?)</string></dict><dict><key>begin</key><string>((?&lt;=(\[|\(|\{|=|\s|;|:|,|~|&lt;|&gt;|&amp;|\||-|\+|\*|/|\\|\.|\^))|^)'</string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>0</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.string.begin.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>comment</key><string>Character vector literal (single-quoted)</string><key>end</key><string>'(?=(\[|\(|\{|\]|\)|\}|=|~|&lt;|&gt;|&amp;|\||-|\+|\*|/|\\|\.|\^|\s|;|:|,))</string><key>endCaptures</key><dict><key>0</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.string.end.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>name</key><string>string.quoted.single.matlab</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>match</key><string>''</string><key>name</key><string>constant.character.escape.matlab</string></dict><dict><key>match</key><string>'(?=.)</string><key>name</key><string>invalid.illegal.unescaped-quote.matlab</string></dict><dict><key>comment</key><string>Operator symbols</string><key>match</key><string>((\%([\+\-0]?\d{0,3}(\.\d{1,3})?)(c|d|e|E|f|g|G|s|((b|t)?(o|u|x|X))))|\%\%|\\(b|f|n|r|t|\\))</string><key>name</key><string>constant.character.escape.matlab</string></dict></array></dict><dict><key>begin</key><string>((?&lt;=(\[|\(|\{|=|\s|;|:|,|~|&lt;|&gt;|&amp;|\||-|\+|\*|/|\\|\.|\^))|^)"</string><key>beginCaptures</key><dict><key>0</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.string.begin.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>comment</key><string>String literal (double-quoted)</string><key>end</key><string>"(?=(\[|\(|\{|\]|\)|\}|=|~|&lt;|&gt;|&amp;|\||-|\+|\*|/|\\|\.|\^|\||\s|;|:|,))</string><key>endCaptures</key><dict><key>0</key><dict><key>name</key><string>punctuation.definition.string.end.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>name</key><string>string.quoted.double.matlab</string><key>patterns</key><array><dict><key>match</key><string>""</string><key>name</key><string>constant.character.escape.matlab</string></dict><dict><key>match</key><string>"(?=.)</string><key>name</key><string>invalid.illegal.unescaped-quote.matlab</string></dict></array></dict></array></dict><key>transpose</key><dict><key>match</key><string>((\w+)|(?&lt;=\])|(?&lt;=\)))\.?'</string><key>name</key><string>keyword.operator.transpose.matlab</string></dict><key>constants</key><dict><key>comment</key><string>MATLAB Constants</string><key>match</key><string>(?&lt;!\.)\b(eps|false|Inf|inf|intmax|intmin|namelengthmax|NaN|nan|on|off|realmax|realmin|true|pi)\b</string><key>name</key><string>constant.language.matlab</string></dict><key>variables</key><dict><key>comment</key><string>MATLAB variables</string><key>match</key><string>(?&lt;!\.)\b(nargin|nargout|varargin|varargout)\b</string><key>name</key><string>variable.other.function.matlab</string></dict><key>end_in_parens</key><dict><key>comment</key><string>end as operator symbol</string><key>match</key><string>\bend\b</string><key>name</key><string>keyword.operator.symbols.matlab</string></dict><key>numbers</key><dict><key>comment</key><string>Valid numbers: 1, .1, 1.1, .1e1, 1.1e1, 1e1, 1i, 1j, 1e2j</string><key>match</key><string>(?&lt;=[\s\-\+\*\/\\=:\[\(\{,]|^)\d*\.?\d+([eE][+-]?\d)?([0-9&amp;&amp;[^\.]])*(i|j)?\b</string><key>name</key><string>constant.numeric.matlab</string></dict><key>operators</key><dict><key>comment</key><string>Operator symbols</string><key>match</key><string>(?&lt;=\s)(==|~=|&gt;|&gt;=|&lt;|&lt;=|&amp;|&amp;&amp;|:|\||\|\||\+|-|\*|\.\*|/|\./|\\|\.\\|\^|\.\^)(?=\s)</string><key>name</key><string>keyword.operator.symbols.matlab</string></dict></dict><key>scopeName</key><string>source.matlab</string><key>uuid</key><string>48F8858B-72FF-11D9-BFEE-000D93589AF6</string></dict></plist>

Need Your Help

Android N requires the IDE to be running with Java 1.8 or later?

android android-studio android-7.0-nougat

My XML layout is not rendering with this error message. I am already using Java 8.