Augmented Syntax Diagrams - News and history

Copyright 2004-2015 James A. Mason

Introduction   News
Demos   Examples
Software   Documents

2015 Mar 27 update:
An updated version of ASDEditor has been installed to correct an error in dragging the handles of network edges.  That error showed up in the transition to Java 7 and 8 from Java 4.  See Software to download the new version of asddigraphs.jar .

2015 Jan 1 update:
The tools at this site are being updated to use new features of Java 8, with NetBeans 8.0.1 as the development environment.  The first updates to be addressed are (1) new versions of the classes for representing digraphs, making the source code more concise and the execution faster by using Java 8 streams, and (2) an updated version of ASDEditor to fix an error in its interface that has showed up in the transition from older versions of Java to Java 7 and 8.

2012 Sept 4 update: CardWorld2 -- an extension of CardWorld1a to permit pointing to several cards or piles for one command and to permit reference to cards by descriptive adjectives for suit, rank, and color, among others.

2010 Aug 20 update: ASDDecider and CardWorld1a -- using a decision network represented by an ASD grammar to replace complicated if ... else logic.  Breakthrough: Augmented Syntax Diagrams can now be used to represent decision networks as well as grammars!

2010 June 8 update: Further notes about CardWorld -- why CardWorld is an almost ideal testbed for modeling how natural-language understanding works.

2010 May 13 and 20 update: Introducing CardWorld, a small but extensible example of English-language understanding with non-trivial syntax, semantics and pragmatics.  To download the model and its source code, go to CardWorld1.

The 2008 Mar 8, Mar 26, and Apr 15-17 updates include details of the ASDParser algorithm.

The 2008 Mar 12 update includes a slightly expanded  ASDParser algorithm overview, including a brief discussion of the feature-value mechanism for use by semantic action and semantic value augmentations of an ASD grammar.

The 2008 Feb 7 update includes two pieces of documentation for ASDParser: ASDParser algorithm overview and Restrictions on how ASD grammars should be written to be used with ASDParser.

The 2008 Jan 17 update  includes a release of additional source code licensed under the Apache 2.0 license for open-source software.  Specifically, this includes the source code for the packages asd and digraphs, the class files for which are contained in release 1.15 of the asddigraphs archive files, as well as the source code for various utility programs whose class files are also included in the asddigraphs archive files.  See Software for details of what is included in the asddigraphs archive.  See also the notes under the subheading ApacheLicensedSourceCode in the bullet list below.  Thanks to Roxanne Parent for help in finding an appropriate open-source license for this project.

The 2007 Sep 10 update includes new asddigraphs files on the Software page (see also below) that contain a slightly revised version (1.09a) of ASDEditor to implement a minor bug fix.  The Release notes for release 1.15 contain a description of the bug.

2006 Jan 9 update:

  1. A new version (1.09) of ASDEditor is included in an update of the asddigraphs archive.  It provides users the choice of saving grammar files in a form either optimized or not optimized for parsing.  See the Software page for downloadable files containing the asddigraphs archive, and see release114.txt for more details of the new version of ASDEditor.
  2. The Evaluator application described in the 2005 Aug 22 update notes just below is now available as an applet that can be run from a Java enabled web browser running JRE 1.5 or higher:  Evaluator .  Thanks again to Roxanne Parent for creating this applet.   (Note: The Evaluator applet window must be closed by using the Action Exit menu option, not by clicking on the button in the upper right-hand corner of the window.)

2005 Aug 22 update:

  1. A new version (1.07) of ASDParser is included in an update of the asddigraphs archive.  This corrects an error in previous versions of ASDParser that resulted in its mishandling semantic features in rare circumstances.  See the Software page for downloadable files containing the asddigraphs archive.
  2. An example grammar, expression.grm, is provided for arithmetic expressions like 2.5x[100. - (.3 + 27 / (4-1))] along with an example application,, which uses the example grammar to parse such expressions.  Evaluator also uses semantic functions corresponding to nodes in the grammar to compute the numerical values of such expressions.  Note: Evaluator is defined to be in a Java package named arithmetic.  The grammar file expression.grm should be in the subdirectory from which Evaluator is run.  Follow this link for more details.

2005 Apr 20 update: A SemanticValue class hierarchy has been added to the examples available from this site.  It includes some general classes in Java for representing semantic values of natural-language words and phrases, and some demonstration subclasses of them which represent semantic values of particular kinds of words and phrases in English.  These extend parts of the npX grammar example (see the Examples page) to provide meaning representations for phrases parsed with the revised grammar, npXdemo.grm .  Follow the link at the beginning of this paragraph for more details.  Once again, I want to thank Roxanne Parent for her feedback on the new class hierarchy.

2004 Aug 31 update: a demonstration version of ASDTester, created by Roxanne Parent.  To find it, follow the Demos button above.