+[first of this pair of articles](http://www.serpentine.com/blog/2010/03/03/whats-in-a-parsing-library-1/),
+I laid out some of the qualities I've been looking for in a parsing
+Before I dive back into detail, I want to show off some numbers. The
+new Attoparsec code is _fast_.
+What did I benchmark? I captured some real HTTP GET requests from a
+live public web server, averaging 431 bytes per request. I chucked
+them into a file, and measured the time needed to parse the entire
+contents of the file with the following libraries:
+* Ryan Dahl's [http-parser](http://github.com/ry/http-parser) library,
+ which is 1,672 lines of hand-rolled C craziness. Its heritage seems
+ to be closely based on the Ragel-generated parser used by Mongrel.
+ This library is a fair approximation to about as fast as you can
+ get, since it's been tuned for just one purpose. I wrote a small,
+ but reasonably realistic,
+ [driver program](http://bitbucket.org/bos/attoparsec/src/tip/examples/rfc2616.c)
+ to wire it up to file-based data, adding another 210 lines of code.
+ [HTTP request parser](http://bitbucket.org/bos/attoparsec/src/tip/examples/RFC2616.hs),
+ 54 lines long, with about 30 lines of
+ [driver program](http://bitbucket.org/bos/attoparsec/src/tip/examples/TestRFC2616.hs).
+ (Attoparsec itself is about 900 lines of code.)
+ [Parsec-3-based parsers](http://bitbucket.org/bos/attoparsec/src/tip/examples/Parsec_RFC2616.hs),
+ which are almost identical in length to the Attoparsec-based
+The Parsec 3 parsers come in three varieties:
+* The fastest uses a patch that Antoine Latter wrote to switch Parsec
+ 3's internal machinery over to using continuation passing style
+ (CPS). This parser uses `ByteString` for input, and reads the
+ entire 18.8MB file in one chunk.
+* Next is the same parser, using lazy `ByteString` I/O to read the
+ file in 64KB chunks. This costs about 50% in performance, but is
+ almost mandatory to maintain a sensible footprint on large inputs.
+* In last place is the official version of Parsec 3, reading the input
+ in one chunk. (Reading lazily still costs an additional 50%, but I
+ didn't want to further clutter the chart with more big numbers.)
+What's interesting to me is that the tiny Attoparsec-based parser,
+which is more or less a transliteration of the relevant parts of
+[RFC 2616](http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616.html), is so
+I went back and remeasured performance of the Attoparsec and C parsers
+on a larger data set (295,568 URLs), and got these numbers:
+* Attoparsec: 2.889 seconds, or 102,308 requests/second
+* C: 1.614 seconds, or 183,128 requests/second
+That clocks the Attoparsec-based parser at about 56% the speed of the
+C parser. Not bad, given that it's about 3.2% the number of lines of
+Of course there are tradeoffs involved here.
+* Parsec 3 emits much more friendly error messages, and can handle
+ many different input types. Attoparsec, being aimed at
+ plumbing-oriented network protocols, considers friendly error
+ messages to not be worth the effort, and is specialised to the
+ arrays of bytes you get straight off the network.
+* Parsec 3 requires all of its input to be available when the parser
+ is run (either in one large chunk or via lazy I/O). If Attoparsec
+ has insufficient data to return a complete result, it hands back a
+ continuation that you provide extra data to. This eliminates the
+ need for lazy I/O and any additional buffering, and makes for a
+ beautiful, pure API that doesn't care what its input source is.
+The memory footprint of the Attoparsec-based parser is small: it will
+run in 568KB of heap on my 64-bit laptop. The smallest heap size that
+the Parsec 3 parser can survive in isn't all that much larger: with
+lazily read input, it will run in a 750KB heap.
+Overall, this is yet another instance where a little careful attention
+to performance yields very exciting results. Personally, I'd be quite
+happy to trade a 97% reduction in code size for such a small
+performance hit, especially given the clarity, ease of use, and
+flexibility of the resulting code. (The `http_parser` API is frankly
+not so much fun to use, even though I completely understand the