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How to Create a Java AST: Building Code Structures

This Java code defines an abstract syntax tree (AST) for a programming language. It serves as the backbone for representing the structure of source code in a hierarchical manner, providing a powerful tool for code analysis and manipulation. This H1 dives deep into the essence of AST, shedding light on its significance in Java programming. Explore the AST nodes, classes, fields, methods, statements, and expressions that make up this crucial part of code representation. Gain a comprehensive understanding of how ASTs are constructed, manipulated, and utilized to analyze and process source code effectively. Unlock the potential of ASTs with this insightful guide.

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Block 1: Package and Imports

package plc.project; import java.util.List; import java.util.Objects; import java.util.Optional;

This block contains the package declaration and necessary imports for the Java code.

Block 2: Ast Class Declaration

public abstract class Ast {

Defines an abstract class Ast, which serves as the base class for all AST nodes in the hierarchy.

Block 3: Source Class Declaration

public static final class Source extends Ast {

Defines a concrete class Source that extends Ast. Represents the root of the AST, typically representing a source code file.

Block 4: Source Class Fields and Constructor

private final List fields; private final List methods; public Source(List fields, List methods) { this.fields = fields; this.methods = methods; }

This block defines fields and a constructor for the Source class, allowing the creation of AST nodes representing source files with fields and methods

Block 5: Source Class Getter Methods

public List getFields() { return fields; } public List getMethods() { return methods; }

Getter methods to access the fields and methods of a Source node.

Block 6: Source Class equals and toString Methods

@Override public boolean equals(Object obj) { /* ... */ } @Override public String toString() { /* ... */ }

Overrides the equals and toString methods for the Source class to provide custom equality and string representation logic.

Block 7: Similar Definitions for Field and Method Classes

The code continues with similar blocks defining concrete classes for Field and Method AST nodes. Each class has fields, a constructor, getter methods, equals, and toString methods.

Block 8: Stmt Class Declaration

public static abstract class Stmt extends Ast {

Defines an abstract class Stmt that extends Ast. Represents statements in the AST, such as expressions, declarations, assignments, loops, and conditionals.

Block 9: Concrete Stmt Classes

Defines concrete classes for various types of statements (Expression, Declaration, Assignment, If, For, While, and Return). Each class has fields, constructors, getter methods, equals, and toString methods.

Block 10: Expr Class Declaration

public static abstract class Expr extends Ast {

Defines an abstract class Expr that extends Ast. Represents expressions in the AST, including literals, binary operations, groupings, access expressions, and function calls.

Block 11: Concrete Expr Classes

Defines concrete classes for various types of expressions (Literal, Group, Binary, Access, and Function). Each class has fields, constructors, getter methods, equals, and toString methods.


The code establishes a robust AST structure that encapsulates source code in a programming language. It encompasses distinct classes for source files, fields, methods, statements, and expressions, each equipped with the requisite fields and methods for efficient manipulation and traversal of the AST. This meticulously crafted structure plays a pivotal role in the parsing, analysis, and structured processing of source code. It serves as the foundation for understanding and working with code structures, making it an indispensable tool for developers and programmers seeking clarity and precision in their code-related endeavors. Explore the essence of ASTs and their significance in source code representation.