The Dragon Book

Another name for the book CompilersPrinciplesTechniquesAndTools by Aho, Sethi, and Ullman. This book is also referred to as the RedDragonBook. There is also a GreenDragon book, PrinciplesOfCompilerDesign, which used to be referred to as the (generic) Dragon Book; the term now refers to this one in most contexts.

ISBN 0201100886

From reviewer on Amazon: "An essential reference on lexical analysis, syntax analysis, and code generation. I think it does a particularly wonderful job of introducing the formal details of finite state machines, grammars, and regular expressions. Sadly, errors and bad writing turn a joy into an ordeal."

As an alternative, I found Crafting a Compiler ISBN 0805332014 a more readable introduction to the same concepts.

According to JeffreyUllmans home page ( there will be new edition of TheDragonBook in 2005. It is (tentatively) entitled TwentyFirstCenturyCompilers? (ISBN 0321131436 ), and will (quoting from Ullman's webpage) "include an updating of our favorite topics, and material on such subjects as compiling for parallel machines, garbage collection, on-the-fly compiling, support for objects, compiler technology in verification and security, for example."

No idea what color this particular dragon will be.

Update: Addison-Wesley is now re-issuing the first edition of the TheDragonBook, and providing online access to the new chapters which will (supposedly) be contained in a forthcoming second edition (no date has been specified for when the second edition will go to print). This appears to be the material referenced above.

This will be available for purchase 2005-12-15, according to the publisher. It is unclear if you have to buy the new printing of the first edition to receive access to the extended material; or if those of us who have copies of TheDragonBook on the shelf (whether bought new or second-hand) will get access.

My suspicion is that plans to publish a completely new book called Twenty-First Century Compilers have been abandoned; instead it will simply be packaged and distributed as a second edition of the red dragon.

Update: In 2006, the second edition was published with a purple dragon on the cover.

CategoryBook CategoryCompilers

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