Hello fellow programmers, I was discussing a project the other day with a colleague of mine and I was curious to see what others had to say or if such a thing already existed.
There are many programming languages. There are many IDE's and source editors that highlight and edit source code. Following perfectly and exactly the rules of a language to present auto-complete options and understand scopes in the code is rather complex. This task is complex enough that most IDE's implement different source-editors as plugins that often re-implement the same features over and over but in a different way (netbeans).
From what I can tell most IDE's and source editors re-implement parsers that use regular expressions, or some meta-syntax Naur Form to describe the languages grammer generically. These parsers are implemented over and over and over again.
Has anyone attempted to unify or describe a set of features through an API and have a consistent interface to parsing various programming languages and dialects. I'm not describing an IDE - but a consistent API for any program to use to parse and obtain meta-information from the source code.
I realize various programming languages offer many different features which are difficult to 'abstract' into a set of features, but I feel this would be a worthwhile venture.
It seems to me that this could possibly allow the authors of interpreters to help maintain a central grammer intepreter for their language. the Python foundation could maintain the Python grammer api, ANSI the C grammer api, Oracle the Java grammer API, etc
If this was API existed code documentation generators could theoretically work across all dialects and languages to some level. It wouldn't matter if your project used 5 different languages a single application could document all of them and the comments and doc-tags within.
Has anyone attempted this comprehensively?