Parser

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A computer program or portion of a program that analyzes a string of characters in order to recognize grammatical units. Joseph Weizenbaum's Eliza (1966) and Terry Winograd's SHRDLU (c.1970) are two of the best-known early interactive programs that had parsers.

Early IF, including the original Adventure, used a two-word parser that only looked at the first few characters of each word. More recent IF parsers, following the lead of Dungeon aka Zork, have an Infocom-type parser that can understand longer words and more complex commands, but the genre is still a long way from using natural language processing to achieve complete understanding of all English inputs.

Modern IF programming languages include a parser as part of the authoring system, removing the need for the programmer to write a homebrew parser.


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