31.3 Python Abstract Syntax

The compiler.ast module defines an abstract syntax for Python. In the abstract syntax tree, each node represents a syntactic construct. The root of the tree is Module object.

The abstract syntax offers a higher level interface to parsed Python source code. The parser module and the compiler written in C for the Python interpreter use a concrete syntax tree. The concrete syntax is tied closely to the grammar description used for the Python parser. Instead of a single node for a construct, there are often several levels of nested nodes that are introduced by Python's precedence rules.

The abstract syntax tree is created by the compiler.transformer module. The transformer relies on the builtin Python parser to generate a concrete syntax tree. It generates an abstract syntax tree from the concrete tree.

The transformer module was created by Greg Stein and Bill Tutt for an experimental Python-to-C compiler. The current version contains a number of modifications and improvements, but the basic form of the abstract syntax and of the transformer are due to Stein and Tutt.

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