There is a broader summary of setting up CEDET for a new language here:

Download CEDET/Semantic

If you intend to support a new language with semantic, you should get the latest version from As of this writing (June 3, 2007) you would be better off geting CEDET from CVS until version 1.0 is finally released.

You should also subscribe to the cedet-devel mailing list at Alert the list of your intentions so if someone else had the same idea, you won’t overlap efforts.

Next, see the semantic manual Info node (semantic)Overview to get an idea about how the parsing system is organized.

Next, see the Info node (semantic-langdev)Top to either get an overview, or dive into specific details on writing a parser.

Select a parsing technique

The first step in adding support for a new language in CEDET/Semantic is to determine which parsing technique to use. There are three options:

The hand written parser

Start with semantic-texi.el as a basic framework for a hand written parser. See the function semantic-texi-new-section-tag as an example for building a new tag.

All tags must eventually be cooked to usable form. See semantic-texi-expand-tag for an example.

Lastly, your parser needs to be installed. See semantic-default-texi-setup for an example.

Grammar based parsers

Time to read the Info node (semantic-langdev)Top.

Write a Lexer

Grammars require a lexical token stream as input. See (semantic-langdev)Writing Lexers. Tokens can be as simple as a word ("\\<\\w+\\>") or much more complex, such as "#include &lt;" with some processing to extract more information.

You can write your lexer into the grammar file.

A lexer is a sequence of analyzers. You can use the provided analyzers, and write your own analyzers where the provided ones fall short. If your language uses a pre-processor, you may need to use the tools in semantic-lex-spp.el to add preprocessor support.

Next, assemble the analyzers into a lexer with define-lex.

Write a parsers

This likely will go hand-in-hand with writing a lexer. Read (grammar-fw)Overview to get an idea how the Emacs programming environment for grammar files works.

The specifics for writing a parser is way to complex for a wiki page. Continue reading through (grammar-fw)Top and the node (wisent)Top for specific details on writing a grammar. For a quick-and-dirty view, look at the CEDET file cogre/wisent-dot.wy, and cogre/wisent-dot.el as a very simple example of a wisent grammar for parsing DOT graph files.


The question remains: Once we have a tag-parser, how do we setup semantic to use the file?