Click here to Skip to main content
11,718,589 members (86,926 online)
Click here to Skip to main content

The Loyc LL(k) Parser Generator: Part 4

, 25 Feb 2014 LGPL3 5K 5
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
The ambivalent world of ambiguity, the slash, greedy and nongreedy. At the end, in lieu of refreshments, there will be an API reference.

Welcome to part 4

New to LLLPG? Start at part 1. 

Part 4 is all about nitty-gritty details: how prediction works, a discussion of ambiguity (what it is, common ambiguous situations, and how to deal with them), and a list of APIs that LLLPG calls in generated code. 

Table of contents for today

  1. FullLLk versus "approximate" LL(k)
  2. Ambiguity: introduction
  3. Managing ambiguity, part 1: token rules
  4. Managing ambiguity, part 2: LLLPG's missing feature
  5. Managing ambiguity, part 3: the slash operator
  6. Managing ambiguity, part 4: greedy and nongreedy
  7. Reference: APIs called by LLLPG
  8. Reference: APIs you must write in classes derived from BaseLexer and BaseParser

FullLLk versus "approximate" LL(k) 

First, the short version: try adding [FullLLk(true)] to your grammar if you suspect prediction isn't working perfectly.

Now, it's a bit difficult to explain how LLLPG generates a prediction tree without invoking all sorts of math-speak that, if you are like me, would make your head hurt. It is easier to explain with examples. Let's start simple:

rule Comparison @[ '>' '=' | '<' '=' | '=' '=' | '>' | '<' ];

void Comparison()
{
  int la0, la1;
  la0 = LA0;
  if (la0 == '>') {
     la1 = LA(1);
     if (la1 == '=') {
        Skip();
        Skip();
     } else
        Skip();
  } else if (la0 == '<') {
     la1 = LA(1);
     if (la1 == '=') {
        Skip();
        Skip();
     } else
        Skip();
  } else {
     Match('=');
     Match('=');
  }
}

Roughly what happens here is that LLLPG

  1. Finds the first set for each arm: {'>'} for 1 and 4, {'<'} for 2 and 5, {'='} for 3.
  2. Finds a common subset between arm 1 and the others. In this case it finds {'>'}, common between 1 and 4.
  3. Generates the if (la0 == '>') {...} statement and then generates an inner prediction tree based on the knowledge that la0 is in the set {'>'}, which excludes arms 2, 3 and 5.
  4. Knowing that la0 != '>', it excludes arms 1 and 4, then looks for another common subset and finds {'<'}, common between 2 and 5.
  5. Generates the if (la0 == '<') {...} statement and then generates an inner prediction tree based on the knowledge that la0 is in the set {'<'}, which additionally excludes arm 3.
  6. Only one arm is left, arm 3, and this becomes the else branch.

Note: the generated code is correct, although this example is unusual because arm 3 ends up acting as if it were the default branch. The code will change if you explicitly mark the last arm as the default, or if you add an error branch.

Here's another example:

rule ABCD @[ (A B | C D) {} | A D ];

void ABCD()
{
  int la0, la1;
  do {
    la0 = LA0;
    if (la0 == A) {
      la1 = LA(1);
      if (la1 == B)
        goto match1;
      else {
        Skip();
        Match(D);
      }
    } else
      goto match1;
    break;
  match1: { ... } // omitted for brevity
  } while (false);
}

Note: {} forces LLLPG to create two prediction trees instead of one, see "A random fact" from the previous article.

I'm using this example because it was mentioned by Terrance Parr as something that ANTLR 2 couldn't handle. LLLPG has no problem; to generate the outer prediction tree, LLLPG

  1. Finds the first set for each arm: {A,B} for 1, {A} for 2.
  2. Finds a common subset between arm 1 and the others. In this case it finds {A}.
  3. Generates the if (la0 == A) {...} statement and then generates an inner prediction tree (for LA(1)) based on the knowledge that la0 is in the set {A}, which excludes the inner arm C D of (A B | C D).
  4. Knowing that la0 != A, it excludes arms 2, leaving only arm 1, and this becomes the else branch.

Note: I've been speaking as though LLLPG generates code during prediction, but it doesn't. Instead there is an abstract intermediate representation for prediction trees, and the C# code is only generated after analysis and prediction is complete.

I didn't realize it at first, but LLLPG's technique doesn't support all LL(k) grammars. It is more powerful than the Linear Approximate Lookahead of ANTLR 2, but some cases still don't work, like this one:

LLLPG (lexer)
{
    [LL(3)]
    token Token    @[ Number | Operator | ' ' ];
    token Operator @[ '+'|'-'|'*'|'/'|'.' ];
    token Number   @[ '-'? '.'? '0'..'9'+ ];
}

After (correctly) warning that Alternatives (1, 2) are ambiguous for input such as «'-' '.' 0» ([\-.], [.0-9], ~()), LLLPG generates this slightly incorrect code for Token:

void Token()
{
  int la1;
  switch (LA0) {
  case '-': case '.':
    {
      la1 = LA(1);
      if (la1 == '.' || la1 >= '0' && la1 <= '9')
        Number();
      else
        Operator();
    }
    break;
  case '0': case '1': case '2': case '3': case '4':
  case '5': case '6': case '7': case '8': case '9':
    Number();
    break;
  case '*': case '+': case '/':
    Operator();
    break;
  default:
    Match(' ');
    break;
  }
}

To choose this code, LLLPG

  1. Finds the first set for each arm: {'+','-','*','/','.'} for 1, {'-','.','0'..'9'} for 2 and {' '} for 3.
  2. Finds a common subset between arm 1 and the others. In this case it finds {'-','.'}.
  3. Generates the case '-': case '.': {...} block and then generates an inner prediction tree (for LA(1)) based on the knowledge that LA0 is in the set {'-','.'}, which excludes only the possibility of arm 3 (' ').
    • LLLPG computes the second sets which (keeping in mind that LA0 is '-' or '.') are {'.','0'..'9'} for arm 1 and _ (any character) for arm 2.
    • It finds the common subset, {'.','0'..'9'}
    • It generates the if (la1 == '.' || la1 >= '0' && la1 <= '9') and generates an inner prediction tree for LA(2).
    • LA(2) can be anything _ for both rules, so LLLPG reports an ambiguity between 1 and 2 and chooses 1 (Number()) as it has higher priority because it is listed first.
    • Knowing that LA(1) is not in the set {'.','0'..'9'}, it excludes arms 1, leaving only arm 2, and this becomes the else branch.
  4. It generates the other cases, which are easy to understand so I'll skip them.

Now, why is the generated code wrong? It's wrong in the case of the input string "-.", which should match Operator but instead matches Number. To fix this, I added a finer-grained analysis that is enabled by the [FullLLk] option.

[LL(3)] [FullLLk]
token Token    @[ Number | Operator | ' ' ];

This analysis realizes that, due to the relatively complex substructure of Number, it should split '-' and '.' into two separate cases.

When analyzing the case la0 == '-', the set for LA(1) for arm 1 is still {'.','0'..'9'}, but LLLPG further figures out that it should split the analysis of LA(1) into separate subtrees for '.' and '0'..'9'. In the subtree where la0 == '-' and la1 == '.', LLLPG is able to figure out that Number should only be invoked if LA(2) is '0'..'9'. It is able to figure this out now because the information la0 == '-' && la1 == '.' is more specific than the information it had without [FullLLk] (i.e. (la0 == '-' || la0 == '.') && (la1 == '.' || la1 >= '0' && la1 <= '9')).

So after the more detailed analysis of [FullLLk], the output code becomes

void Token()
{
  int la1, la2;
  switch (LA0) {
  case '-':
    {
      la1 = LA(1);
      if (la1 == '.') {
        la2 = LA(2);
        if (la2 >= '0' && la2 <= '9')
          Number();
        else
          Operator();
      } else if (la1 >= '0' && la1 <= '9')
        Number();
      else
        Operator();
    }
    break;
  case '.':
    {
      la1 = LA(1);
      if (la1 >= '0' && la1 <= '9')
        Number();
      else
        Operator();
    }
    break;
  case '0': case '1': case '2': case '3': case '4':
  case '5': case '6': case '7': case '8': case '9':
    Number();
    break;
  case '*': case '+': case '/':
    Operator();
    break;
  default:
    Match(' ');
    break;
  }
}

You still get the ambiguity warning, though. Use a slash to suppress the warning: Number / Operator | ' '.

Full LL(k) mode doesn't always work perfectly, and may make LLLPG run slower, which is why it is not enabled by default. But usually, it works fine and you can safely apply it to your entire grammar.

In certain cases, LLLPG reports an ambiguity that doesn't actually exist in a grammar without the [FullLLk] option. One example is given by this blog post that I wrote while writing the EC# grammar. So if you can't figure out where an ambiguity comes from, try [FullLLk]. If you still get the same ambiguity warning after enabling Full LL(k), check over your grammar carefully, because it is probably genuinely ambiguous.

Ambiguity: introduction

In the context of a parser generator, Ambiguity refers to the situation in which, for a particular grammar, there can exist more than one potential parse tree for an input. Programming languages are designed to be less ambiguous than human languages, but their grammars generally do have ambiguities anyway. Some ambiguities are normal and expected and there is a standard "solution" to the problem, while others may be unique to the language you are parsing.

There are various kinds of ambiguities that I will illustrate by way of actual published newspaper headlines...

"Milk Drinkers are Turning to Powder." "Red tape holds up new bridge." "Kids Make Nutritious Snacks." "Prostitutes Appeal to Pope." "Stolen painting Found by Tree." These sentences are ambiguous because of particular words or phrases that have multiple meanings: "turning", "holds up", "red tape", "make", "appeal" and "by". Ambiguities of this sort are easily avoided by giving words and symbols only one meaning. You can safely define multiple meanings, though, if you define a unique structure or context for each meaning, e.g. in C# there are two using statements, but in one case using is always followed by ( and in the other case it is never followed by (. Plus, one only appears at the beginning of a file and the other never appears at the beginning of a file.

"Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim." "Complaints About NBA Referees Growing Ugly" "Quarter of a Million Chinese Live on Water" A lot of ambiguities in newspaper headlines are caused by the omission of "is" or "are" or a definite or indefinite article (the, a, an), or by the reader's expectation of an omitted word. The problem exists only in certain languages such as English, and is easily avoided in programming languages by including sufficient redundancy to prevent ambiguity; for example, if the semicolons between the clauses of a "for" loop were not required, a loop like for (i = j + 1; -i > k; ++i) would become ambiguous because for (i = j + 1 -i > k ++i) could be parsed in several ways.

"Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors." "Hershey Bars Protest." In these cases, the sentences permit different parts of speech for certain words, which allows different sentences structures to emerge, causing ambiguity. In programming languages, an example of a similar ambiguity arises if you define

  1. An operator that can be prefix or infix, e.g. -: -x or x-y
  2. A different operator that can be suffix or infix, e.g. *: x* or x*y

These operators are perfectly unambiguous by themselves; a problem arises only when you combine them in a certain way. Specifically, the expression x * - y is ambiguous, as it could be parsed x * (- y) or (x *) - y. For this reason, if a real-life programming language contains a suffix operator, that operator is usually not an infix operator also. C++, somewhat famously, violates this rule with the pointer/multiplication operator *: X * Y; could be interpreted in two ways: it may define a variable of type X* named Y, or it may invoke an overloaded operator* function (just as cout >> Y; is a valid statement that calls operator>>). C# doesn't have exactly the same problem because, for example, cout >> Y; is always illegal in C#; however, you can tell that the C# parser understands the expression because it reports the following error:

error CS0201: Only assignment, call, increment, decrement, await, and new object expressions can be used as a statement

In order to report this error and only this error, the C# parser still detects that cout >> Y is a valid expression. You can see this because the error messages change for other invalid input like x */ Y; or << hello there >>;. Thus, in C# the same ambiguity exists at the parser level and is solved in a similar manner as in C++, by giving higher priority to the "variable declaration" interpretation than the "expression" interpretation. 

"Include your Children When Baking Cookies." Here, the sentence is unambiguous from a parsing perspective, but has incomplete information: there are two different ways the children could be "included" in the process and I'm not sure I would trust a computer to choose an interpretation! This is not a parsing issue; the sentence can be parsed unambiguously, yet its meaning is ambiguous. I suppose an analogy in computer languages would be this C# code:

class A { public virtual void F(Foo x) {...} }
class B : A {
    public override void F(Foo x) {...} // first
    public          void F(Bar x) {...} // second
}

If I write new B().F(new Foo()), will the compiler call the first or second method? In fact, under certain circumstances, a C# compiler will call the second method (brownie points go to the first person to explain why).

"Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With an Axe." Here, the issue is that the "With" clause can attach to either "Farmer" or "Injures" (or is it "Cow"?) In computer languages, this type of problem is generally solved precedence rules and parenthesis. In LL(k) parsers, precedence rules are typically expressed by creating a rule for every precedence level, plus an innermost rule for parenthesis, identifiers and literals, which I like to call Atom. So if you want these four precedence levels:

  1. Primary: a.b, f(x)
  2. Prefix: -a
  3. multiply/divide: a*b, a/b
  4. add/subtract: a+b, a-b

Then you will need five rules that typically have the following form (plus a bunch of {actions} that I left out):

// (before this you'll need to define some aliases for '.', '+', '-', etc.)
rule Atom()        @[ TT.Id | TT.Num | '(' Expr ')'        ];
rule PrimaryExpr() @[ Atom [ '.' Atom | '(' Expr ')' ]*    ];
rule PrefixExpr()  @[ '-' Atom | Atom                      ];
rule MulExpr()     @[ PrefixExpr [ ('*'|'/') PrefixExpr ]* ];
rule Expr()        @[ MulExpr    [ ('+'|'-') MulExpr ]*    ];

If you write the grammar in a single rule like this:

rule Expr() @
    [ Expr ('*'|'/') Expr
    | Expr ('+'|'-') Expr
    | '-' Expr
    | TT.Id | TT.Num | '(' Expr ')'
    ];

The grammar is not only ambiguous, but also left-recursive (an Expr can start with an Expr), which LLLPG is completely unable to handle. If you use two rules, like this:

rule Atom() @[ TT.Id | TT.Num | '(' Expr ')' ];
rule Expr() @[
    ( Atom | '-' Atom ) 
    [ ('*'|'/') Atom
    | ('+'|'-') Atom
    ]*
];

The grammar is not ambiguous, but will parse expressions like a cheap calculator (so that 2+3*4 = 20) instead of a scientific calculator (2+3*4 = 14). Also, - - x cannot be parsed since - is to be followed by Atom (if you write '-' Expr, the grammar is ambiguous and the parser will have strange behavior, parsing 2 * -3 + 4 like 2 * -(3 + 4) because LLLPG parses greedily by default).

In traditional LL(k) parsers, you must define a separate rule for every precedence level, and in EC# there are 22 levels. It is possible to collapse many levels into a single rule, though, and in the next article I will describe how.

Tip: when writing your first parser, write it without any important {actions}, i.e. don't create a syntax tree at first. Just focus on making a recognizer, like the examples above, that simply scans through the input without interpreting it.

Managing ambiguity, part 1: token rules

By declaring a token using token instead of rule, you're asking LLLPG to simplify its analysis while avoiding warnings about a certain type of ambiguity.

A lexer separates a text document into a sequence of tokens, so it could be written like this:

public struct Tok { ... }

LLLPG(lexer)
{
    public rule List<Tok> Start @[
        {List<Token> ts;} ts+=Token* EOF {return ts;}
    ];
    token Tok Token() {
        // BTW: Instead of writing a @[...] block with {...} actions inside,
        // LLLPG lets you write a {...} block with @[...] blocks inside. But 
        // currently the @[...] blocks must be at the top level of the method,
        // not nested inside anything else such as a try {...} region.
        Token t;
        @[ t=Spaces | t=Id | t=Int | t=Op ];
        return t;
    }
    token Tok Spaces @[ (' '|'\t')+      {return new Token(...);} ];
    token Tok Id     @[ ('a'..'z'|'A'..'Z') ('a'..'z'|'A'..'Z'|'0'..'9')+
                                         {return new Token(...);} ];
    token Tok Int    @[ ('0'..'9')+      {return new Token(...);} ];
    token Tok Op     @[ op:=('+'|'-'|'*'|'/'|'=')+  
                                         {return new Token(...);} ];
}

The thing is, any lexer grammar that follows this pattern is ambiguous! Because of the loop in Start, an identifier like "ab3" could theoretically be parsed in four different ways: as a single Id "ab3", as two Ids "a" "b3", as two tokens "ab" "3", or as three tokens "a" "b" "3".

So if all the rules are written using rule rather than token, LLLPG will report three ambiguities, one each for Id or Num and Spaces:

  • Warning: (12,23): Loyc.LLParserGenerator.Macros.run_LLLPG: Alternatives (1, exit) are ambiguous for input such as « *» ([\t ], [\$\t *+-/-9=A-Za-z])
  • Warning: (13,43): Loyc.LLParserGenerator.Macros.run_LLLPG: Alternatives (1, exit) are ambiguous for input such as «0*» ([0-9A-Za-z], [\$\t *+-/-9=A-Za-z])
  • Warning: (15,23): Loyc.LLParserGenerator.Macros.run_LLLPG: Alternatives (1, exit) are ambiguous for input such as «0*» ([0-9], [\$\t *+-/-9=A-Za-z])

LLLPG detects the ambiguity while looking at the follow set of each rule, which it does while analyzing the loops. Since Token appears in a loop, Id can theoretically be followed by another Id, or by Num, so the location where an Id or Num or Spaces loop should stop is ambiguous.

I created token mode to avoid warnings like this and the potentially complex analysis that produces them. token replaces the follow set of a rule with _* (i.e. anything), and then suppresses the inevitable ambiguity warning (because a decision between _* and anything else always ambiguous.) The mode is called token since it is useful in the context of a lexer, but occasionally it is useful in parsers too.

By convention, when I write a lexer, I mark the top-level token rules with token, and I use rule for the sub-rules that are called by tokens.

Managing ambiguity, part 2: LLLPG's missing feature

In certain ambiguous cases, notably those in which some alternatives are prefixes of others, some parser generators (including ANTLR) have the ability to select the longest match automatically. LLLPG does not have this ability, and you'll notice this problem when writing rules for operators:

token CompareOp() @[ '>' | '<' | '=' | ">=" | "<=" ];

The output is:

  • Warning: (4,23): Loyc.LLParserGenerator.Macros.run_LLLPG: Alternatives (1, 2) are ambiguous for input such as «>=» ([>], [=])
  • Warning: (4,23): Loyc.LLParserGenerator.Macros.run_LLLPG: Alternatives (1, 3) are ambiguous for input such as «<=» ([<], [=])
  • Warning: (4,23): Loyc.LLParserGenerator.Macros.run_LLLPG: Branches 2, 3 are unreachable.

    void CompareOp()
    {
      MatchRange('<', '>');
    }
    

Please excuse the strange numbering scheme in the error message: LLLPG actually interprets '>' | '<' | '=' | ">=" | "<=" as ('>' | '<' | '=') | ">=" | "<=", with the three single characters unified into a set, and it turns out that ('>' | '<' | '=') is equivalent to '<'..'>', which explains where MatchRange('<', '>') comes from.

What's going on here? Well, if the input is '<=', '<' matches just as well as '<=', and because it is listed first, LLLPG gives it higher priority. So '<=' is unreachable because '<' takes priority, and '>=' is unreachable because '>' takes priority. This is easily fixed by always listing longer operators first:

token CompareOp() @[ ">=" | "<=" | '>' | '<' | '=' ];

Keywords are even more tricky. Let's say you have the keywords fn, for, if and while:

rule IdStartChar  @[ 'a'..'z'|'A'..'Z'|'_' ];
rule Id           @[ IdStartChar (IdStartChar|'0'..'9')* ];

[LL(6)] // Longest keyword plus one
token IdOrKeyword @[ "fn" | "for" | "if" | "while" | Id ];

Here I've given Id lower priority than the keywords, which will usually work correctly. However, it won't work correctly for an Id prefixed by a keyword, such as form, which of course will parse as for followed by 'm' as a separate identifier. There is a solution, which I'll show you in the next article, but LLLPG does not solve the problem automatically.

Managing ambiguity, part 3: the slash operator

The slash operator suppresses the ambiguity warning between two or more alternatives. The warnings you saw for

token CompareOp() @[ ">=" | "<=" | '>' | '<' | '=' ];

can be suppressed by switching '|'s to '/'s:

token CompareOp() @[ ">=" / "<=" / '>' / '<' | '=' ];

'/' is transitive, so in this example, the ambiguity between ">=" and '>' is suppressed and likewise between "<=" and '<'. Note that the following will not suppress the warnings:

token CompareOp() @[ ">=" / "<=" | '>' / '<' | '=' ];

(Footnote: in fact this would have suppressed the warnings in earlier versions of LLLPG, but the logic has changed. I will describe only the new rules.)

Earlier I said that LLLPG "doesn't care much about parenthesis", so that, for instance,

rule Foo @[ ["AB" | "A" | "CD" | "C"]*     ];

is equivalent to

rule Foo @[ [("AB" | "A") | ("CD" | "C")]* ];

That's true, but as of version 1.1.0 it will now pay attention to the relationship between the slash operator and parenthesis. In

token CompareOp() @[ ">=" / "<=" | '>' / '<' | '=' ];

LLLPG is instructed to suppress warnings between ">=" / "<=" and '>' / '<', but that's all. '/' has higher precedence than '|', so this is equivalent to

token CompareOp() @[ (">=" / "<=") | ('>' / '<') | '=' ];

And the '|' operator causes warnings between the two groups (">=" / "<=" and '>' / '<') to be permitted. If you write

token CompareOp() @[ ">=" | "<=" / '>' | '<' | '=' ];

no warnings are suppressed either, but if you now add parenthesis:

token CompareOp() @[ (">=" | "<=") / ('>' | '<') | '=' ];

then the warnings are suppressed, because there is now a slash separating ">=" / '>' and "<=" / '<'.

You may remember from Part 2 that slash is the alt-separator in PEGs. In LLLPG, the slash operator works similarly, but quite the same (in fact, / always yields the same code as |.) Here's an example where a PEG would parse differently from LLLPG:

rule abc @[ ('a' / 'a' 'b') 'c' ];

In a PEG (correct me if I'm wrong), the first branch always takes priority and the second branch is unreachable. If the input is ac, a PEG will not backtrack and try the 'a' 'b' branch because the first branch was matched successfully. An LL(k) parser generator, however, performs prediction on the first k characters, even if those characters are beyond the list of alternatives under consideration, and that means the 'c' influences code generation, producing the following code (by default):

void abc()
{
  int la1;
  la1 = LA(1);
  if (la1 == 'c')
    Match('a');
  else {
    Match('a');
    Match('b');
  }
  Match('c');
}

Managing ambiguity, part 4: greedy and nongreedy

LLLPG supports 'greedy' and 'nongreedy' loops and optional items. The 'greedy' and 'nongreedy' modes refer to the action you prefer to take in case of ambiguity between an exit branch and another branch. Greedy is the default: it means that if the input matches both a non-exit branch and an exit branch, the non-exit branch should be taken. A typical greedy example is this rule for an "if" statement:

private rule IfStmt @[
  "if" "(" Expr ")" Stmt greedy("else" Stmt)?
];
private rule Stmt @[
  IfStmt | OtherStmt | Expr ";" | ...
];

In this case, it is possible that the "if" statement is nested inside another "if" statement. Given that the input could be something like

if (expr) if (expr)
  Stmt();
else
  Stmt();

It is, in general, ambiguous whether to consume TT.Else Stmt or to exit, because the else clause could be paired with the first "if" or the second one. The "greedy" modifier, which must always be paired with a loop or option operator (* + ?) means "in case of ambiguity with the exit branch, do not exit and do not print a warning." Since greedy behavior is the default, the greedy modifier's only purpose is to suppress the warning.

Now, you might logically think that changing 'greedy' to 'nongreedy' would cause the 'else' to match with the outer 'if' statement rather than the inner one. Unfortunately, that's not what happens! It does not work because the code generated for IfStmt is not aware of the run-time call stack leading up to it: it does not know whether it is nested inside another IfStmt or not. LLLPG only knows that it could be nested inside another 'if' statement; the technical jargon for this is that the follow set of the IfStmt rule includes TT.Else Stmt.

What actually happens is that nongreedy(TT.Else Stmt)? will never match TT.Else, and LLLPG will give you a warning that "branch 1 is unreachable". Not knowing the actual context in which IfStmt was called, LLLPG is programmed to assume that all possible follow sets of IfStmt apply simultaneously, even though in reality IfStmt is called in one specific context. The statically computed follow set of IfStmt, which is based on all possible contexts where IfStmt might appear, includes TT.Else Stmt, and nongreedy uses this information to decide, unconditionally, to let the exit branch win. To put it another way, LLLPG behaves as if IfStmt is always called from inside another IfStmt, when in reality it merely might be. It would be fairly difficult for LLLPG to behave any other way; how is the IfStmt() method supposed to know call stack of other rules that called it?

By the way, I have the impression that the formal way of describing this limitation of LLLPG's behavior is to say that LLLPG supports only "strong" LL(k) grammars, not "general" LL(k) grammars (this is true even when you use FullLLk(true)).

So at the end of a rule, LLLPG makes decisions based on all possible contexts of that rule, rather than the actual context. Consequently, nongreedy is not as useful as it could be. However, nongreedy still has its uses. Good examples include strings and comments:

token TQString @[ "'''" (nongreedy(_))* "'''" ];
token MLComment @[ "/*" (nongreedy(MLComment / _))* "*/" ];

This introduces the single underscore _, which matches any single terminal (not including EOF).

The first example defines the syntax of triple-quoted strings '''like this one'''. The contents of the string are any sequence of characters except "'''", which ends the string. The nongreedy modifier is important; without it, the loop (_)* will simply consume all characters until end of file, and then produce errors because the expected "'''" was not found at EOF.

The second example for /* multi-line comments */ is similar, except that (just for fun) I decided to support nested multi-line comments by calling the MLComment rule recursively.

There's actually a bug in TQString, assuming that LLLPG is left in its default configuration. Moreover, LLLPG will not print a warning about it. Got any idea what the bug is? I'm about to spoil the answer, so if you want to give it some thought, do so now before you start glancing at the lower half of this paragraph. Well, if you actually tested this code you might notice that a string like '''one''two''' will be parsed incorrectly, because two quotes, not three, will cause the loop to exit. The reason is that the default maximum lookahead is 2, so two quotes are enough to make LLLPG decide to exit the loop (and then the third Match('\'') in the generated code will fail). To fix this, simply add a [k(3)] attribute to the rule. No warning was printed because half the purpose of nongreedy is to suppress warnings; after all, mixing (_)* with anything else is inherently ambiguous and will frequently cause a warning that you must suppress.

Earlier I ran into an unfortunate situation in which neither greedy nor nongreedy was appropriate. I was writing a Visual Studio "classifier" for syntax-highlighting of LES, and I decided to use a line-based design where lexing would always start at the beginning of a line. Therefore, I needed to keep track of which lines started inside multi-line comments and triple-quoted strings. Now, if a line starts inside a comment or string, I invoke a special rule that is designed to parse the rest of the comment or string, or stop at the end of the line. Since LES supports nested multi-line comments, I wrote the following rule:

  // (LES code, so "nested::int" instead of "int nested")
public token MLCommentLine(ref nested::int)::bool @[
  (nongreedy
    ( &{nested>0} "*/" {nested--;}
    / "/*" {nested++;}
    / ~('\r'|'\n')
    ))*
  (Newline {return false;} | "*/" {return true;})
];

This rule takes the current comment nesting level as an argument (0 = comment is not nested) and updates the nesting level if it changes during the current line of code. The loop has three arms:

  1. For input of "*/" when comments are nested, reduce the nesting level
  2. For input of "/*", increase the nesting level
  3. For input of anything else (not including a newline), consume one character.

I chose 'nongreedy' because otherwise the third branch ~('\r'|'\n') will match the first character of "*/", so the loop would never exit. But this didn't work; LLLPG gave the warning "branch 1 is unreachable". Why is it unreachable? I have to admit, I couldn't figure it out at first. If you feel like you're stumped by LLLPG warnings sometimes, you're not alone, they sometimes confuse me too. In this case I was confused because I thought the predicate &{nested>0} would choose whether to stay in the loop or exit. But in fact nongreedy gives the exit branch a higher priority than the first branch, so regardless of whether &{nested>0}, LLLPG would always choose the exit branch when the input is '*/'.

At that point I realized that what I wanted was a loop that was neither greedy nor nongreedy, in which the priority of the exit branch is somewhere in the middle. I wanted to be able to write something like this, where 'exit' is higher priority than ~('\r'|'\n') but lower priority than &{nested>0} "*/":

public token MLCommentLine(ref nested::int)::bool @[
  ( &{nested>0} "*/" {nested--;}
  / "/*" {nested++;}
  / exit
  / ~('\r'|'\n')
  )*
  (Newline {return false;} | "*/" {return true;})
];

Unfortunately, LLLPG does not support this notation. Maybe in a future version. Here's what I did instead:

public token MLCommentLine(ref nested::int)::bool @[
  (greedy
    ( &{nested>0} "*/" {nested--;}
    / "/*" {nested++;}
    / ~('\r'|'\n'|'*')
    / '*' (&!'/')
    ))*
  (Newline {return false;} | "*/" {return true;})
 ];

Here, I switched back to a greedy loop and added '' as its own branch with an extra check to make sure '' is not followed by '/'. If the test &!'/' succeeds, the new fourth branch matches the '*' character (but not the character afterward); otherwise the loop exits. I could have also written it like this, with only three branches:

public token MLCommentLine(ref nested::int)::bool @[
  (greedy
    ( &{nested>0} "*/" {nested--;}
    / "/*" {nested++;}
    / (&!"*/") ~('\r'|'\n')
    ))*
  (Newline {return false;} | "*/" {return true;})
];

However, this version is slower, because LLLPG will actually run the &!"*/" test on every character within the comment.

Here's one more example using nongreedy:

// Parsing a comma-separated value file (.csv)
public rule CSVFile @[ Line* ];
rule Line           @[ Field greedy(',' Field)* (Newline | EOF) ];
rule Newline        @[ ('\r' '\n'?) | '\n' ];
rule Field          @[ nongreedy(_)*
                     | '"' ('"' '"' | nongreedy(~('\n'|'\r'))* '"' ];

This grammar describes a file filled with fields separated by commas (plus I introduced the EOF symbol, so that no Newline is required at the end of the last line). Notice that Field has the loop nongreedy(_)*. How does LLLPG know to when to break out of the loop? Because it computes the "follow set" or "return address" of each rule. In this case, 'Field' can be followed by ','|'\n'|'\r'|EOF, so the loop will break as soon as one of these characters is encountered. This is different than the IfStmt example above in an important respect: Field always has the same follow set. Even though Field is called from two different places, the follow set is the same in both locations: ','|'\n'|'\r'|EOF. So nongreedy works reliably in this example because it makes no difference which context Field was called from.

Reference: APIs called by LLLPG

Here's the list of methods that LLLPG expects to exist. The MatchRange/MatchExceptRange methods are only used in lexers though, and EOF is only used in parsers (lexers refer to EOF as -1):

// Note: the set type is expected to contain a Contains(MatchType) method.
static HashSet<MatchType> NewSet(params MatchType[] items);
static HashSet<MatchType> NewSetOfRanges(params MatchType[] ranges);

LaType LA0 { get; }
LaType LA(int i);
static const LaType EOF;

void Error(int lookaheadIndex, string message);

// Normal matching methods
void Skip();
Token MatchAny();
Token Match(MatchType a);
Token Match(MatchType a, MatchType b);
Token Match(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
Token Match(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
Token Match(HashSet<MatchType> set);
Token MatchRange(int aLo, int aHi);
Token MatchRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);
Token MatchExcept();
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a);
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b);
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
Token MatchExcept(HashSet<MatchType> set);
Token MatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi);
Token MatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);

// Used to verify and-predicates in the matching stage
void Check(bool expectation, string expectedDescr);

// For backtracking (used by generated Try_Xyz() methods)
struct SavePosition : IDisposable
{
    public SavePosition(Lexer lexer, int lookaheadAmt);
    public void Dispose();
}

// For recognizers (used by generated Scan_Xyz() methods)
bool TryMatch(MatchType a);
bool TryMatch(MatchType a, MatchType b);
bool TryMatch(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
bool TryMatch(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
bool TryMatch(HashSet<MatchType> set);
bool TryMatchRange(int aLo, int aHi);
bool TryMatchRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);
bool TryMatchExcept();
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a);
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b);
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
bool TryMatchExcept(HashSet<MatchType> set);
bool TryMatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi);
bool TryMatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);

The following data types are parameters that you can change:

  • LaType: the data type of LA0 and LA(i). This is always int in lexers, but in parsers you can use the laType(...) option (documented in the previous article) to change this type.
  • MatchType: the data type of arguments to Match, MatchExcept, TryMatch and TryMatchExcept. In lexers, MatchType is always int. In parsers, by default, LLLPG generates code as though MatchType is same as LaType, but BaseParser uses int instead for performance reasons. Consequently, when using BaseParser you need to use the matchType(int) option to change MatchType to int.
  • HashSet<MatchType> is the declared data type of large sets. By default this is HashSet<int> but you can change it using the setType(...) option.
  • Token is the return value of the Match methods. LLLPG does not care and does not need to know what this type is. In lexers, these methods should return the character that was matched, and in parsers they should return the token that was matched (if the match fails, BaseLexer and BaseParser still return the character or token, whatever it was.)

And now, here's a brief description of the APIs, with examples.

NewSet, NewSetOfRanges

static HashSet<MatchType> NewSet(params MatchType[] items);
static HashSet<MatchType> NewSetOfRanges(params MatchType[] ranges);

These are used for large sets, when it would be inappropriate to generate an expression or Match call.

// Example:
LLLPG(lexer) {
  rule Vowel @[ 'a'|'e'|'i'|'o'|'u'|'A'|'E'|'I'|'O'|'U' ];
  rule MaybeHexDigit @[ ['0'..'9'|'a'..'f'|'A'..'F']? ];
};

// Generated code:
static readonly HashSet<int> Vowel_set0 = NewSet(
    'A', 'E', 'I', 'O', 'U', 'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u');
void Vowel()
{
  Match(Vowel_set0);
}
static readonly HashSet<int> MaybeHexDigit_set0 = 
    NewSetOfRanges('0', '9', 'A', 'F', 'a', 'f');
void MaybeHexDigit()
{
  int la0;
  la0 = LA0;
  if (MaybeHexDigit_set0.Contains(la0))
     Skip();
}

LA0, LA(i)

LaType LA0 { get; }
LaType LA(int i);

LLLPG assumes that there is a state variable somewhere that tracks the "current input position"; the current position is usually called InputPosition but LLLPG never refers to it directly. LA0 returns the character or token at the current position, and LA(i) returns the character or token at InputPosition + i.

Obviously, a single function LA(i) would have been enough, but LA(0) is used much more often than LA(i) so I decided to define an extra API which gives implementations an opportunity to optimize access to LA0. But in case LA0 and LA(i) are nontrivial, LLLPG also caches the value of LA0 or LA(i) in a local variable.

// Example:
LLLPG(parser) {
  token OptionalIndefiniteArticle @[ ('a' 'n' / 'a')? ];
};

// Generated code:
void OptionalIndefiniteArticle()
{
  int la0, la1;
  la0 = LA0;
  if (la0 == 'a') {
     la1 = LA(1);
     if (la1 == 'n') {
        Skip();
        Skip();
     } else
        Skip();
  }
}

EOF (parsers only)

static const LaType EOF;

Occasionally LLLPG needs to check for EOF. For example, the default follow set of a rule is EOF, and when using NoDefaultArm, LLLPG may check whether LA0==EOF to see if an error occurred.

[NoDefaultArm] LLLPG(parser) {
  rule AllBs @[ 'B'* ];
};

void AllBs()
{
  int la0;
  for (;;) {
     la0 = LA0;
     if (la0 == 'B')
        Skip();
     else if (la0 == EOF)
        break;
     else
        Error(0, "In rule 'MaybeB', expected one of: ('B'|EOF)");
  }
}

In lexers, LLLPG uses -1 instead of EOF.

Error(i, msg)

void Error(int lookaheadIndex, string message);

This method is called by the default error branch with an auto-generated message, as shown in the example above. lookaheadIndex is the offset (LA(lookaheadIndex)) where the unexpected character or token was encountered (usually 0). Currently, the error message cannot be customized.

Skip(), MatchAny()

void Skip();
Token MatchAny();

Both of these methods advance the current position by one character or token. Skip() is called when the return value will not be used, while MatchAny() is called if the return value is saved.

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
  rule WhateverB @[ (_|EOF) [b='B']? ];
}

// Generated code
void WhateverB()
{
  int la0;
  Skip();
  la0 = LA0;
  if (la0 == 'B')
     b = MatchAny();
}

Match

Token Match(MatchType a);
Token Match(MatchType a, MatchType b);
Token Match(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
Token Match(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
Token Match(HashSet<MatchType> set);

Ensures that LA0 matches the argument(s) given to Match, taking any appropriate action (printing an error message or throwing an exception) if LA0 does not match the argument(s). Then LA0 is "consumed", meaning that the input position is increased by one. LLLPG does not care about the return type, but the return value is used in expressions like zero:='0' (see example).

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
  rule FiveEvenDigits @[ 
    zero:='0' ('0'|'2') ('0'|'2'|'4') ('0'|'2'|'4'|'6') ('0'|'2'|'4'|'6'|'8')
  ];
}

// Generated code
static readonly HashSet<int> FiveEvenDigits_set0 = NewSet('0', '2', '4', '6', '8');
void FiveEvenDigits()
{
  var zero = Match('0');
  Match('0', '2');
  Match('0', '2', '4');
  Match('0', '2', '4', '6');
  Match(FiveEvenDigits_set0);
}

MatchRange (lexers only)

Token MatchRange(int aLo, int aHi);
Token MatchRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);

Matches LA0 against a range of characters, then increases the input position by one.

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
  rule LetterDigit @[ ('a'..'z'|'A'..'Z') '0'..'9' ]; 
}

// Generated code
void LetterDigit()
{
  MatchRange('A', 'Z', 'a', 'z');
  MatchRange('0', '9');
}

MatchExcept

Token MatchExcept();
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a);
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b);
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
Token MatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
Token MatchExcept(HashSet<MatchType> set);

Ensures that LA0 does not match the argument(s) given to MatchExcept, taking any appropriate action (printing an error message or throwing an exception) if LA0 matches the argument(s). Then LA0 is "consumed", meaning that the input position is increased by one.

In addition, all overloads except the last one must test that LA0 is not EOF. This rule makes MatchExcept() (with no arguments) different from MatchAny() which does allow EOF.

When a set is passed to MatchExcept, that set will explicitly contain EOF when EOF is not allowed.

// Example (remember that _ does NOT match EOF)
LLLPG(parser) {
  rule MatchExcept @[ _ ~A ~(A|B) ~(A|B|C) ~(A|B|C|D)
                      ~(A|B|C|D|E) (~E | EOF) ]; 
}

// Generated code
static readonly HashSet<int> NotA_set0 = NewSet(A, B, C, D, E, EOF);
static readonly HashSet<int> NotA_set1 = NewSet(E);
void MatchExcept()
{
  MatchExcept();
  MatchExcept(A);
  MatchExcept(A, B);
  MatchExcept(A, B, C);
  MatchExcept(A, B, C, D);
  MatchExcept(NotA_set0);
  MatchExcept(NotA_set1);
}

MatchExceptRange (lexers only)

Token MatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi);
Token MatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);

Verifies that LA0 is not within the specified range(s) of characters, then increases the input position by one.

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
  rule NotInRanges @[ ~('0'..'9') ~('a'..'z'|'A'..'Z') ]; 
}

// Generated code
void NotInRanges()
{
  MatchExceptRange('0', '9');
  MatchExceptRange('A', 'Z', 'a', 'z');
}

Check

void Check(bool expectation, string expectedDescr);

As explained in the section §"Error handling mechanisms in LLLPG" (part 3), this is called to check and-predicate conditions during matching if they were not verified during prediction.

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
    token DosEquis @[ &!{condition} 'X' 'X' ]; 
}

// Generated code   
void DosEquis()
{
  Check(!condition, "!(condition)");
  Match('X');
  Match('X');
}

SavePosition

struct SavePosition : IDisposable
{
    public SavePosition(Lexer lexer, int lookaheadAmt);
    public void Dispose();
}

This is used for backtracking. SavePosition must save the current input position in its constructor, then restore it in Dispose().

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
    token JustOneCapital @[ 'A'..'Z' &!('A'..'Z') ]; 
}

// Generated code
void JustOneCapital()
{
  MatchRange('A', 'Z');
  Check(!Try_JustOneCapital_Test0(0), "!([A-Z])");
}
private bool Try_JustOneCapital_Test0(int lookaheadAmt)
{
  using (new SavePosition(this, lookaheadAmt))
     return JustOneCapital_Test0();
}
private bool JustOneCapital_Test0()
{
  if (!TryMatchRange('A', 'Z'))
     return false;
  return true;
}

TryMatch

bool TryMatch(MatchType a);
bool TryMatch(MatchType a, MatchType b);
bool TryMatch(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
bool TryMatch(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
bool TryMatch(HashSet<MatchType> set);

Tests whether LA0 matches the argument(s) given to TryMatch. Returns true if LA0 is a match and false if not. The input position is increased by one.

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
    [recognizer { bool ScanFiveEvenDigits(); }]
    rule FiveEvenDigits @[ 
        zero:='0' ('0'|'2') ('0'|'2'|'4') ('0'|'2'|'4'|'6') ('0'|'2'|'4'|'6'|'8')
    ];
}

// Generated code
static readonly HashSet<int> FiveEvenDigits_set0 = NewSet('0', '2', '4', '6', '8');
void FiveEvenDigits()
{
  var zero = Match('0');
  Match('0', '2');
  Match('0', '2', '4');
  Match('0', '2', '4', '6');
  Match(FiveEvenDigits_set0);
}
bool Try_ScanFiveEvenDigits(int lookaheadAmt)
{
  using (new SavePosition(this, lookaheadAmt))
     return ScanFiveEvenDigits();
}
bool ScanFiveEvenDigits()
{
  if (!TryMatch('0'))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatch('0', '2'))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatch('0', '2', '4'))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatch('0', '2', '4', '6'))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatch(FiveEvenDigits_set0))
     return false;
  return true;
}

TryMatchRange (lexers only)

bool TryMatchRange(int aLo, int aHi);
bool TryMatchRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);

Tests whether LA0 matches one or two ranges of characters. Returns true if LA0 is a match and false if not. The input position is increased by one.

// Example
LLLPG(lexer) {
    [recognizer { bool ScanLetterDigit(); }]
    rule LetterDigit @[ ('a'..'z'|'A'..'Z') '0'..'9' ]; 
}

// Generated code
void LetterDigit()
{
  MatchRange('A', 'Z', 'a', 'z');
  MatchRange('0', '9');
}
bool Try_ScanLetterDigit(int lookaheadAmt)
{
  using (new SavePosition(this, lookaheadAmt))
     return ScanLetterDigit();
}
bool ScanLetterDigit()
{
  if (!TryMatchRange('A', 'Z', 'a', 'z'))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatchRange('0', '9'))
     return false;
  return true;
}

TryMatchExcept

bool TryMatchExcept();
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a);
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b);
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c);
bool TryMatchExcept(MatchType a, MatchType b, MatchType c, MatchType d);
bool TryMatchExcept(HashSet<MatchType> set);

Tests whether LA0 matches the argument(s) given to TryMatch. Returns false if LA0 is a match and true if not. The input position is increased by one.

In addition, all overloads except the last one must test that LA0 is not EOF. This rule makes TryMatchExcept() (with no arguments) different from Skip() which does allow EOF.

Note: as I write this, it occurs to me that these APIs are redundant. LLLPG could have called TryMatch(...) instead and inverted the return value. Should this API be removed in a future version?

// Example (remember that _ does NOT match EOF)
LLLPG(parser) {
  [recognizer { bool TryMatchExcept(); }]
  rule MatchExcept @[ _ ~A ~(A|B) ~(A|B|C) ~(A|B|C|D)
                      ~(A|B|C|D|E) (~E | EOF) ]; 
}

// Generated code
static readonly HashSet<int> MatchExcept_set0 = NewSet(A, B, C, D, E, EOF);
static readonly HashSet<int> MatchExcept_set1 = NewSet(E);
void MatchExcept()
    { /* Omitted for brevity */ }
bool Try_TryMatchExcept(int lookaheadAmt)
{
  using (new SavePosition(this, lookaheadAmt))
     return TryMatchExcept();
}
bool TryMatchExcept()
{
  if (!TryMatchExcept())
     return false;
  if (!TryMatchExcept(A))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatchExcept(A, B))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatchExcept(A, B, C))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatchExcept(A, B, C, D))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatchExcept(MatchExcept_set0))
     return false;
  if (!TryMatchExcept(MatchExcept_set1))
     return false;
  return true;
}

TryMatchExceptRange (lexers only)

bool TryMatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi);
bool TryMatchExceptRange(int aLo, int aHi, int bLo, int bHi);

Tests whether LA0 matches one or two ranges of characters. Returns false if LA0 is a match and true if not. The input position is increased by one.

I'll skip the example this time: I think by now you get the idea.

Reference: APIs you must write in classes derived from BaseLexer and BaseParser

This is a summary of information presented in §"Boilerplate" in Part 3.

When writing a lexer, BaseLexer (whether in Loyc.Syntax.dll or the standalone example) implements almost all of the APIs required by LLLPG. There's just one that you must write yourself:

protected override void Error(int index, string message) {...}

Also, you must call AfterNewline() whenever you encounter a newline ('\n' | '\r' '\n'?) so that the LineNumber property is increased by one. BaseLexer also contains its own Newline rule, which you can incorporate into your lexer with

// 'extern' suppresses code generation, so the code is inherited 
// from BaseLexer, and ('\r' '\n'? | '\n') tells LLLPG what it does.
extern token Newline @[ '\r' '\n'? | '\n' ];

The Loyc version of BaseLexer additionally records the locations of all line breaks in its SourceFile property (which is protected) so you can call SourceFile.IndexToLine(i).Line to get the line number of any character that has been tokenized so far.

BaseParser requires you to override the following methods:

/// Returns the value used for EOF (typically 0)
protected abstract Int32 EofInt();
/// Returns the token type of _lt0 (normally _lt0.TypeInt)
protected abstract Int32 LA0Int { get; }
/// Returns the token at lookahead i (e.g. Source[InputPosition + i]
/// if the tokens come from a list called Source)
protected abstract Token LT(int i);
/// Records an error or throws an exception. When called by 
/// BaseParser, li is always equal to 0.
protected abstract void Error(int li, string message);
/// Returns a string representation of the specified token type.
/// These strings are used in error messages.
protected abstract string ToString(Int32 tokenType);

Only one of the above APIs are required by LLLPG itself; the others help BaseParser implement the other APIs. In addition to the above, the following three APIs are required by LLLPG and not provided by BaseParser:

// (typical implementation shown)
const TokenType EOF = TokenType.EOF;
TokenType LA0 { get { return LT0.Type(); } }
TokenType LA(int offset) { return LT(offset).Type(); }

Both BaseParser and BaseLexer have an InputPosition property. BaseLexer caches the current character in LA0 when InputPosition changes, while BaseParser caches the current token in LT0 when InputPosition changes. When using BaseParser I'm afraid you have to manually write InputPosition = 0 at the end of your constructor in order to initialize LT0 (at the moment I'm thinking this is a design mistake and that LT0 should not be cached.)

End of Part 4 

With part four, I've almost finished writing the documentation of LLLPG. So that just leaves...

  • Advanced techniques: tree parsing, keyword parsing, collapsing many precedence levels into a single rule, and other tricks used by the EC# parser
  • Things you can do with LeMP: other source code manipulators besides LLLPG. 
  • A call for volunteers to help me build Enhanced C#.

Stay tuned.

Go head and leave me... I think I prefer to stay inside.
Maybe you'll find someone else to help you.
Maybe Black Mesa....
That was a joke, haha, fat chance.
Anyway this cake is great, it's so delicious and moist...

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv3)

Share

About the Author

Qwertie
Software Developer None
Canada Canada
Since I started programming when I was 11, I wrote the SNES emulator "SNEqr", the FastNav mapping component, LLLPG, and LES: XML for code, among other things. Now I'm old.

In my spare time I work on the Language of your choice (Loyc) initiative, which is about investigating ways to improve interoperability between programming languages, and includes Enhanced C# and LeMP, its Lexical Macro Processor.

You may also be interested in...

Comments and Discussions

 
Question5+! Pin
Volynsky Alex26-Feb-14 9:07
professionalVolynsky Alex26-Feb-14 9:07 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web03 | 2.8.150901.1 | Last Updated 25 Feb 2014
Article Copyright 2014 by Qwertie
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2015
Layout: fixed | fluid