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Despite the power of Parser Expression Grammars (PEGs) and GLR, parsing is not a solved problem. Adding nondeterminism (parser speculation) to traditional LL and LR parsers can lead to unexpected parse-time behavior and introduces practical issues with error handling, single-step debugging, and side-effecting embedded grammar actions. This paper introduces the LL(*) parsing strategy and an associated grammar analysis algorithm that constructs LL(*) parsing decisions from ANTLR grammars. At parse-time, decisions gracefully throttle up from conventional fixed k≥1 lookahead to arbitrary lookahead and, finally, fail over to backtracking depending on the complexity of the parsing decision and the input symbols. LL(*) parsing strength reaches into the context-sensitive languages, in some cases beyond what GLR and PEGs can express. By statically removing as much speculation as possible, LL(*) provides the expressivity of PEGs while retaining LL’s good error handling and unrestricted grammar actions.

Terence Parr and Kathleen Fisher, 2011