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Web Design & Development Article

Build a WebAssembly Language for Fun and Profit: Parsing

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In the last post of this series on how to build a WebAssembly programming language, we constructed a lexer. In this post, we'll cover the next phase of our compiler, parsing. Parsing is the portion of our compiler that takes the token stream generated by the lexer and converts it into an abstract syntax tree (AST). An AST is a tree-like data structure that organizes the tokens into a logical hierarchy that can more easily be translated into machine code. Thankfully, because wispy is an S-expression language, our code is essentially _already_ an AST. Take the following stream of tokens:

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