Friday, 30 December 2011

Finite automata to Regular Grammar with Thundax P-Zaggy

Moving ahead with FA, now we can generate the right-linear grammar that corresponds to the finite automata generated. The system is pretty simple and basically what the algorithm does is to go recursively through every state and to store the production (A → bC) using the info from the transition and both states.

P-Zaggy will use description text to assign unique variable names to each state. Each transition in the graph matches a production in the right-linear grammar. For example (right side image), the transition from “A” to “B” along the transition “a” matches the production “A → aB”. This production will be automatically added into the production list in the "Finite Automaton (simulation)" tab. To generate the full grammar, just open your finite automata and press "Get grammar" button to get the linear grammar. Now as any final state carries the production to λ, λ symbol has been added to the system as empty string.

In the following image you will see a general example with the automatically generated grammar:

Example with λ string:

Demo video:

Get the latest version from here:

Looking back/ahead:
This would be the last post of the year 2011 and I'm taking this moment to review all the good stuff I have been publishing in my blog, from the physics engine to different code snippets and all of them with the help of a big an bright Delphi community. I always find difficult to get round to writing more often but I always have my notebook with me and every time and idea pops out I am there to catch it. I have an endless list of really interesting stuff I would like to tackle and I hope next year would be more fruitful as there are less than 50 articles for this year (even though the visits have been increased to almost 6K per month wow!, I am grateful for that!). I am also blissfully happy for putting grain of salt in the community as I have widely used the knowledge of others and it is great to pay back.
Next year I will be implementing different algorithms and I will be focusing on grammars, compilers and AI as I am very keen on those subjects and as you already know I like a lot visual stuff (And everything or almost everything with my loved Delphi). I'm preparing a roadmap about different utilities I have in mind and stay tuned for new and very interesting stuff!.
Happy new year 2012!.
Jordi Corbilla

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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Finite Automata with Thundax P-Zaggy part II

Going on with the further enhancement of P-Zaggy (part I) to use its graph creation capability to run and simulate DFA, I have released a new version (v1.2.0 build 180) which allows you to check a bunch of strings in batch. One the DFA is defined, we can easily test our input strings by adding them into the list and the application will check every item and it will populate the status with "accepted/rejected" message. This version still only works with one char regular expressions (^[A-Z]$) so more complex expressions (^[A-Z]+$) will be used but not correctly adapted.


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Finite Automata with Thundax P-Zaggy part I

I have moved forward the development of Thundax P-Zaggy with the addition of a Finite Automata builder and simulator. "A deterministic finite automaton (DFA) also known as deterministic finite state machine is a finite state machine that accepts/rejects finite strings of symbols and only produces a unique computation (or run) of the automaton for each input string. (wikipedia)". Building the automata with P-Zaggy is quite simple, so let's start by building a DFA for the following language: 
L = {ba | abna, n > 0}.
As it is shown in the previous image, the DFA would be as follows:

With the tool we would be able to create our diagrams placing the states and transitions. Once the diagram is set up, all transitions need to have the transition string to change the ongoing state and initial and final states need to be selected (using right click and selecting "Mark as Start Node" for Initial state and "Mark as End Node" for Final state).

We can start the simulation with very simple steps. Firstly, select the tab called "Finite Automaton (simulation)" and enter the test input string to test. Then press start button to internally initialize the graph as a DFA and press step to process every character of the input string while the diagram is changing states and showing you which is the actual state and whether the string is being accepted or rejected. To set up a single loop transition, select the node and with right click select "Set connector loop" and add text for the transition.

In this beta version, we can also use Regular Expressions in our transitions thanks to the widespread use of regular expressions inside Delphi XE. 

From the same screen we can test our regular expressions and check whether if they match or not. There are still some issues to tackle like "empty string" and other considerations that I would be delving into detail in the following days. I am also working on a Layered-Tree-Draw Algorithm using Reingold-Tilford Algorithm and the enhancement of the better recognition of more complex regular expressions.

Have a look at this preview of the functioning of the graph, it is really worth it:

Stay tuned and give P-Zaggy a try from here:
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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Install multiple instances of the same Delphi application service

In this article you will find an example on How to install multiple instances of the same Delphi application service under Windows. This topic was raised a few years ago in StackOverflow and I have decided to give more details about how to use multiple instances of the same service.
The service needs to be unique in name and the best way to sort this out is using a parameter to describe the service in a unique way. The service itself will use this parameter to compose its name even though it is using the same  executable. In this example I will identify the services when installing the service using the command line with the following instruction: "myService /install Param1". Param1 will be used to compose the internal service name as myServiceParam1. If we want to use another instance, just install a second service with a different param name as: myService /install Param2.

To achieve this is pretty simple, just create the service using your Delphi XE and then create the methods ServiceBeforeUninstall and ServiceCreate:

Notice the System.ParamStr(2) that will use the second parameter which was input from the command line. The first parameter is the /install command needed to install the service.

After the execution of the following commands:

myService /install Param1
myService /install Param2

You will see two installed services using the same executable:

To uninstall them, use the opposite command:

myService /uninstall Param1
myService /uninstall Param2

But this is not ending here. Now the services are installed, but neither the service name is set nor the description. To achieve this, we need to use the ChangeServiceConfig functions from WinSvc - Service Control Manager unit.

Have a look at the complete source code:

This solution is using the example provided by koochangmin on his Delphi blog. If you have a closer look at the ServiceAfterInstall method, you will find the composition of the name and description which will be used to populate the values in the service:

That is the way the service needs to be created in order to let the application use the parameters in runtime.

If you have any problem uninstalling the services, just use the SC command to delete the service:

sc delete ServiceExampleParam1

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