Confluent Orthogonal Drawings of Syntax Diagrams

Bannister, Michael J. and Brown, David A. and Eppstein, David (2015) Confluent Orthogonal Drawings of Syntax Diagrams. In: Graph Drawing and Network Visualization: 23rd International Symposium, GD 2015, September 24-26, 2015 , pp. 260-271(Official URL:

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We provide a pipeline for generating syntax diagrams (also called railroad diagrams) from context free grammars. Syntax diagrams are a graphical representation of a context free language, which we formalize abstractly as a set of mutually recursive nondeterministic finite automata and draw by combining elements from the confluent drawing, layered drawing, and smooth orthogonal drawing styles. Within our pipeline we introduce several heuristics that modify the grammar but preserve the language, improving the aesthetics of the final drawing.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Classifications: J Applications > J.999 Others
P Styles > P.300 Curved
P Styles > P.480 Layered
P Styles > P.600 Poly-line > P.600.300 Mainly Orthogonal
S Software and Systems > S.120 Visualization

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