`Parser::MGC' - build simple recursive-descent parsers

     package My::Grammar::Parser
     use base qw( Parser::MGC );

     sub parse
        my $self = shift;

        $self->sequence_of( sub {
              sub { $self->token_int },
              sub { $self->token_string },
              sub { \$self->token_ident },
              sub { $self->scope_of( "(", \&parse, ")" ) }
        } );

     my $parser = My::Grammar::Parser->new;

     my $tree = $parser->from_file( $ARGV[0] );


    This base class provides a low-level framework for building
    recursive-descent parsers that consume a given input string from left to
    right, returning a parse structure. It takes its name from the `m//gc'
    regexps used to implement the token parsing behaviour.

    It provides a number of token-parsing methods, which each extract a
    grammatical token from the string. It also provides wrapping methods
    that can be used to build up a possibly-recursive grammar structure, by
    applying a structure around other parts of parsing code. Each method,
    both token and structural, atomically either consumes a prefix of the
    string and returns its result, or fails and consumes nothing. This makes
    it simple to implement grammars that require backtracking.

  $parser = Parser::MGC->new( %args )
    Returns a new instance of a `Parser::MGC' object. This must be called on
    a subclass that provides method of the name provided as `toplevel', by
    default called `parse'.

    Takes the following named arguments

    toplevel => STRING
            Name of the toplevel method to use to start the parse from. If
            not supplied, will try to use a method called `parse'.

    patterns => HASH
            Keys in this hash should map to quoted regexp (`qr//')
            references, to override the default patterns used to match
            tokens. See `PATTERNS' below

    accept_0o_oct => BOOL
            If true, the `token_int' method will also accept integers with a
            `0o' prefix as octal.

    The following pattern names are recognised. They may be passed to the
    constructor in the `patterns' hash, or provided as a class method under
    the name `pattern_*name*'.

    * ws
        Pattern used to skip whitespace between tokens. Defaults to

    * comment
        Pattern used to skip comments between tokens. Undefined by default.

    * int
        Pattern used to parse an integer by `token_int'. Defaults to
        `/-?(?:0x[[:xdigit:]]+|[[:digit:]]+)/'. If `accept_0o_oct' is given,
        then this will be expanded to match `/0o[0-7]+/' as well.

    * float
        Pattern used to parse a floating-point number by `token_float'.
        Defaults to `/-?(?:\d*\.\d+|\d+\.)(?:e-?\d+)?|-?\d+e-?\d+/i'.

    * ident
        Pattern used to parse an identifier by `token_ident'. Defaults to

    * string_delim
        Pattern used to delimit a string by `token_string'. Defaults to

  $result = $parser->from_string( $str )
    Parse the given literal string and return the result from the toplevel

  $result = $parser->from_file( $file )
    Parse the given file, which may be a pathname in a string, or an opened
    IO handle, and return the result from the toplevel method.

  $result = $parser->from_reader( \&reader )
    Parse the input which is read by the `reader' function. This function
    will be called in scalar context to generate portions of string to
    parse, being passed the `$parser' object. The function should return
    `undef' when it has no more string to return.

     $reader->( $parser )

    Note that because it is not generally possible to detect exactly when
    more input may be required due to failed regexp parsing, the reader
    function is only invoked during searching for skippable whitespace. This
    makes it suitable for reading lines of a file in the common case where
    lines are considered as skippable whitespace, or for reading lines of
    input interractively from a user. It cannot be used in all cases (for
    example, reading fixed-size buffers from a file) because two successive
    invocations may split a single token across the buffer boundaries, and
    cause parse failures.

  $pos = $parser->pos
    Returns the current parse position, as a character offset from the
    beginning of the file or string.

  ( $lineno, $col, $text ) = $parser->where
    Returns the current parse position, as a line and column number, and the
    entire current line of text. The first line is numbered 1, and the first
    column is numbered 0.

  $parser->fail( $message )
  $parser->fail_from( $pos, $message )
    Aborts the current parse attempt with the given message string. The
    failure message will include the line and column position, and the line
    of input that failed at the current parse position, or a position
    earlier obtained using the `pos' method.

  $eos = $parser->at_eos
    Returns true if the input string is at the end of the string.

  $level = $parser->scope_level
    Returns the number of nested `scope_of' calls that have been made.

    The following methods may be used to build a grammatical structure out
    of the defined basic token-parsing methods. Each takes at least one code
    reference, which will be passed the actual `$parser' object as its first

  $ret = $parser->maybe( $code )
    Attempts to execute the given `$code' reference in scalar context, and
    returns what it returned. If the code fails to parse by calling the
    `fail' method then none of the input string will be consumed; the
    current parsing position will be restored. `undef' will be returned in
    this case.

    This may be considered to be similar to the `?' regexp qualifier.

     sub parse_declaration
        my $self = shift;

        [ $self->parse_type,
          $self->maybe( sub {
             $self->expect( "=" );
          } ),

  $ret = $parser->scope_of( $start, $code, $stop )
    Expects to find the `$start' pattern, then attempts to execute the given
    `$code' reference, then expects to find the `$stop' pattern. Returns
    whatever the code reference returned.

    While the code is being executed, the `$stop' pattern will be used by
    the token parsing methods as an end-of-scope marker; causing them to
    raise a failure if called at the end of a scope.

     sub parse_block
        my $self = shift;

        $self->scope_of( "{", sub { $self->parse_statements }, "}" );

    If the `$start' pattern is undefined, it is presumed the caller has
    already checked for this. This is useful when the stop pattern needs to
    be calculated based on the start pattern.

     sub parse_bracketed
        my $self = shift;

        my $delim = $self->expect( qr/[\(\[\<\{]/ );
        $delim =~ tr/([<{/)]>}/;

        $self->enter_scope( undef, sub { $self->parse_body }, $delim );

  $ret = $parser->list_of( $sep, $code )
    Expects to find a list of instances of something parsed by `$code',
    separated by the `$sep' pattern. Returns an ARRAY ref containing a list
    of the return values from the `$code'.

    This method does not consider it an error if the returned list is empty;
    that is, that the scope ended before any item instances were parsed from

     sub parse_numbers
        my $self = shift;

        $self->list_of( ",", sub { $self->token_int } );

  $ret = $parser->sequence_of( $code )
    A shortcut for calling `list_of' with an empty string as separator;
    expects to find at least one instance of something parsed by `$code',
    separated only by skipped whitespace.

    This may be considered to be similar to the `+' or `*' regexp

     sub parse_statements
        my $self = shift;

        $self->sequence_of( sub { $self->parse_statement } );

  $ret = $parser->any_of( @codes )
    Expects that one of the given code references can parse something from
    the input, returning what it returned. Each code reference may indicate
    a failure to parse by calling the `fail' method.

    This may be considered to be similar to the `|' regexp operator for
    forming alternations of possible parse trees.

     sub parse_statement
        my $self = shift;

           sub { $self->parse_declaration; $self->expect(";") },
           sub { $self->parse_expression; $self->expect(";") },
           sub { $self->parse_block },

    Note: This method used to be called `one_of', but was renamed for
    clarity. Currently this method is provided also as an alias by the old
    name. Code using the old name should be rewritten to `any_of' instead,
    as this backward-compatibility alias may be removed in a later version.

    Calling this method will cancel the backtracking behaviour of the
    innermost `maybe', `list_of', `sequence_of', or `any_of' structure
    forming method. That is, if later code then calls `fail', the exception
    will be propagated out of `maybe', and no further code blocks will be
    attempted by `any_of'.

    Typically this will be called once the grammatical structure of an
    alternation has been determined, ensuring that any further failures are
    raised as real exceptions, rather than by attempting other alternatives.

     sub parse_statement
        my $self = shift;

           sub {
              $self->scope_of( "{",
                 sub { $self->commit; $self->parse_statements; },
              "}" ),

    The following methods attempt to consume some part of the input string,
    to be used as part of the parsing process.

  $str = $parser->expect( $literal )
  $str = $parser->expect( qr/pattern/ )
  @groups = $parser->expect( qr/pattern/ )
    Expects to find a literal string or regexp pattern match, and consumes
    it. In scalar context, this method returns the string that was captured.
    In list context it returns the matching substring and the contents of
    any subgroups contained in the pattern.

    This method will raise a parse error (by calling `fail') if the regexp
    fails to match. Note that if the pattern could match an empty string
    (such as for example `qr/\d*/'), the pattern will always match, even if
    it has to match an empty string. This method will not consider a failure
    if the regexp matches with zero-width.

  $str = $parser->maybe_expect( ... )
  @groups = $parser->maybe_expect( ... )
    A convenient shortcut equivalent to calling `expect' within `maybe', but
    implemented more efficiently, avoiding the exception-handling set up by
    `maybe'. Returns `undef' or an empty list if the match fails.

  $str = $parser->substring_before( $literal )
  $str = $parser->substring_before( qr/pattern/ )
    Expects to possibly find a literal string or regexp pattern match. If it
    finds such, consume all the input text before but excluding this match,
    and return it. If it fails to find a match before the end of the current
    scope, consumes all the input text until the end of scope and return it.

    This method does not consume the part of input that matches, only the
    text before it. It is not considered a failure if the substring before
    this match is empty. If a non-empty match is required, use the `fail'

     sub token_nonempty_part
        my $self = shift;

        my $str = $parser->substring_before( "," );
        length $str or $self->fail( "Expected a string fragment before ," );

        return $str;

    Note that unlike most of the other token parsing methods, this method
    does not consume either leading or trailing whitespace around the
    substring. It is expected that this method would be used as part a
    parser to read quoted strings, or similar cases where whitespace should
    be preserved.

  $val = $parser->generic_token( $name, $re, $convert )
    Expects to find a token matching the precompiled regexp `$re'. If
    provided, the `$convert' CODE reference can be used to convert the
    string into a more convenient form. `$name' is used in the failure
    message if the pattern fails to match.

    If provided, the `$convert' function will be passed the parser and the
    matching substring; the value it returns is returned from

     $convert->( $parser, $substr )

    If not provided, the substring will be returned as it stands.

    This method is mostly provided for subclasses to define their own token
    types. For example:

     sub token_hex
        my $self = shift;
        $self->generic_token( hex => qr/[0-9A-F]{2}h/, sub { hex $_[1] } );

  $int = $parser->token_int
    Expects to find an integer in decimal, octal or hexadecimal notation,
    and consumes it. Negative integers, preceeded by `-', are also

  $float = $parser->token_float
    Expects to find a number expressed in floating-point notation; a
    sequence of digits possibly prefixed by `-', possibly containing a
    decimal point, possibly followed by an exponent specified by `e'
    followed by an integer. The numerical value is then returned.

  $number = $parser->token_number
    Expects to find a number expressed in either of the above forms.

  $str = $parser->token_string
    Expects to find a quoted string, and consumes it. The string should be
    quoted using `"' or `'' quote marks.

    The content of the quoted string can contain character escapes similar
    to those accepted by C or Perl. Specifically, the following forms are

     \a               Bell ("alert")
     \b               Backspace
     \e               Escape
     \f               Form feed
     \n               Newline
     \r               Return
     \t               Horizontal Tab
     \0, \012         Octal character
     \x34, \x{5678}   Hexadecimal character

    C's `\v' for vertical tab is not supported as it is rarely used in
    practice and it collides with Perl's `\v' regexp escape. Perl's `\c' for
    forming other control characters is also not supported.

  $ident = $parser->token_ident
    Expects to find an identifier, and consumes it.

  $keyword = $parser->token_kw( @keywords )
    Expects to find a keyword, and consumes it. A keyword is defined as an
    identifier which is exactly one of the literal values passed in.

  Accumulating Results Using Variables
    Although the structure-forming methods all return a value, obtained from
    their nested parsing code, it can sometimes be more convenient to use a
    variable to accumulate a result in instead. For example, consider the
    following parser method, designed to parse a set of `name: "value"'
    assignments, such as might be found in a configuration file, or
    YAML/JSON-style mapping value.

     sub parse_dict
        my $self = shift;
        my %ret;
        $self->list_of( ",", sub {
           my $key = $self->token_ident;
           exists $ret{$key} and $self->fail( "Already have a mapping for '$key'" );
           $self->expect( ":" );
           $ret{$key} = $self->parse_value;
        } );
        return \%ret

    Instead of using the return value from `list_of', this method
    accumulates values in the `%ret' hash, eventually returning a reference
    to it as its result. Because of this, it can perform some error checking
    while it parses; namely, rejecting duplicate keys.

    *   Make unescaping of string constants more customisable. Possibly
        consider instead a `parse_string_generic' using a loop over

    *   Easy ability for subclasses to define more token types as methods.
        Perhaps provide a class method such as

         __PACKAGE__->has_token( hex => qr/[0-9A-F]+/i, sub { hex $_[1] } );

    *   Investigate how well `from_reader' can cope with buffer splitting
        across other tokens than simply skippable whitespace

    Paul Evans <>