19 March 2007

Parsing.py parser generator is now available

The parser generator I implemented has been quite stable for over a month now. It has the potential to be of use to others, so I am making it publicly available. Parsing.py is a stand-alone pure Python module. This makes it easy to maintain and use, but as a result it is substantially slower than C-based parser generators and parsers. That is the only negative thing I can think of to say though. In my obviously biased opinion, the Parsing module is extremely cool. If you need to implement a parser in Python, you should give it a serious look.

Here is a quick summary of what the Parsing module is:
  • True LR(1) parser generator. Python slowness aside, the algorithms used are extremely scalable; I am currently using it for a grammar with well over 500 productions.

  • Both standard LR (aka CFSM) and GLR parser drivers.

  • Tight Python integration. Parser generator directives are specified via docstrings. Rather than running a parser generator as a separate step, it is done on the fly, and the results are cached in a pickle. For subsequent runs, as long as the pickle is still compatible with the parser specification, the pickle is used directly.

  • Extensive error checking and logging. You can get a very clear idea of what is going wrong, during both parser generation and parsing, by enabling logfile output.

The module is heavily documented via docstrings. The easiest way to view the documentation in a reasonable format is via the interactive python command line (import Parsing; help(Parsing)). It is worth mentioning here that you need Python 2.5. As far as I know, the (... if ... else ...) expression syntax is the only reason for this dependency, so if you want to use Parsing.py with an older Python interpreter, porting it should not cause you much trouble.

Okay, without further delay, here it is: http://www.canonware.com/download/Parsing/Parsing.py


At March 22, 2007 at 6:24 AM , Anonymous Len said...

May I see a sample please?

At March 22, 2007 at 10:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, I agree. A small code sample would be very nice. It is easier to get started with a mininmal example.

At March 22, 2007 at 1:25 PM , Blogger Jason said...

Okay, I'll write a new entry later today with a simple example.

At January 1, 2009 at 1:27 AM , Blogger W@tErF@!rY said...

Hi. I am final year ug student implementing a LR(1) parser generator in javascript. Your site has helped me a lot. i would like to ask a favor, if thats possible. Can you give me pointers on how to test my parser generator? I'm currently implementing the pager algorithm and not really sure how to test it. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks

At January 1, 2009 at 11:03 AM , Blogger Jason said...

I suggest finding as many small test cases as possible, from compiler books, newsgroups, etc. Once you're confident all of those work correctly, find a non-trivial parser (for something like the C language) and verify that the generated parser can handle a wide variety of valid inputs.


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