Comments on the syntax for Miranda scripts

The syntax equations given express the syntax of Miranda scripts insofar
as  this  can  be done by a context free grammar.  It therefore does not
attempt to express the scope rules, nor the requirement that a script be
well-typed,  both  of  which  are  context sensitive restrictions on the
syntax given here.  The formal definition of  Miranda  [in  preparation]
will  deal with these matters and also give a denotational semantics for
the language.

Nevertheless, if the syntax is read in  conjunction  with  the  informal
description  of  the  language (see other manual sections and referenced
papers) it should be found fairly informative, especially if the  reader
has some previous exposure to this style of language.

Key to abbreviations in syntax:-
>    alt=alternative            decl=declaration    def=definition
>    e1=operator_expression     exp=expression      fnform=function_form
>    libdir=library_directive   pat=pattern         qualifs=qualifiers
>    rhs=right_hand_side        sig=signature       spec=specification
>    tdef=type_definition       tform=typeform      var=variable
>    whdefs=where_defs

 We use a variant of BNF, in  which  non-terminals  are  represented  by
lower case words, `:=' is used as the production symbol, and alternative
productions are written on successive  lines.   (These  departures  from
convention are adopted because `::=' and `|' are concrete symbols of the

For any non-terminal x,
        x*      means zero or more occurrences of x
        x?      means the presence of x is optional
        x-list  means one or more x's (separated by commas if >1)
        x(;)    means that  x  is  followed by an optional semicolon and
is subject to the offside rule (see section on Layout),  so  that  every
token  of  x  must lie below or to the right of the first.  Provided the
layout makes it clear where x terminates, the trailing semicolon may  be


The syntax of  the  library  directives  (denoted  by  the  non-terminal
`libdir') is given in a separate manual entry.

Ambiguities  in  the  syntax  for `type' and `construct' are resolved by
noting that `->' is less binding than `$typename' or `$constructor'  and
that all three are right associative.

In connection with the productions for argtype, note that type  such  as
`[num,bool]'  is  an  abbreviation for `[(num,bool)]' and represents the
type of a list of tuples - the Miranda system  itself  never  uses  this
abbreviation when printing a type, but accepts it in user scripts.  (Use
of this abbreviation is not recommended - it will  probably  be  removed
from the syntax at the next release.)

Ambiguities in the syntax for `fnform' and `pat' are resolved by  taking
into  account  the  relative  binding  powers  of  the  infix  operators
involved.  Specifically that `:' is right associative and  less  binding
than  `+', which is left associative, and that $constructor, $var have a
higher binding power than either of these, and are right associative.

The productions given for `cases' correctly describe the concrete syntax
of  these  entities,  including  the  way the offside rule is applied to
them.  This concrete syntax is in one sense misleading, however.  Namely
in  that  if  a  `lastcase' with a trailing `wheredefs' is preceded by a
series of alternatives, the scope of the names introduced by  the  where

Note that for compatibility with earlier versions of Miranda the use  of
the keyword `if' is optional.

The ambiguities in the syntax given for `e1' are resolved by taking into
account the relative binding powers of the operators (see manual section
on Operators).

The syntax of identifier, IDENTIFIER, literal, literal1,  numeral,  nat,
infix,  infix1,  prefix,  prefix1,  and  typevar are given under Lexical
Syntax (see next manual section).