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First slide of the talk

Tutorial on Boost.Spirit at C++ User Group Karlsruhe

Posted on 2018-09-12 19:30 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: talk c++ parsing

On September 12th, 2018, I gave another 90min talk with live-coding examples in German at the C++ User Group Karlsruhe in rooms of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

This time I was asked to present a more advanced topic around C++ and libraries and I chose to present a tutorial on Boost.Spirit.

Boost.Spirit is a parser and generator template meta-programming framework and maybe one of the most crazy and advanced uses of C++. It enables one to write context-free grammars inline as C++ code, which are translated into recursive descent parsers and fully optimized by the compiler.

This powerful framework is however not easy to get started with. I hope my tutorial helps more people to skip the steep learning curve and use Boost.Spirit for securely parsing user input and other structure data.

The tutorial consisted of a set of introduction slides: slides-2018-09-12-Cpp-Meetup.pdf slides-2018-09-12-Cpp-Meetup.pdf. Followed by a live-coding session in German which was recorded by the KIT (see below for the youtube video).

Download slides-2018-09-12-Cpp-Meetup.pdf

The extensive code examples presented in the live coding session are available on this webpage
or on github: https://github.com/bingmann/2018-cpp-spirit-parsing.

The examples can be seen as instructive templates and copy & paste sources for new development. The examples are:

  1. Learn to walk and parse simple integers and lists.
    Parse 5, [5, 42, 69, 256].
  2. Create a parser for a simple arithmetic grammar (and part two).
    Parse 5 + 6 * 9 + 42 and evaluate correctly.
  3. Parse CSV data directly into a C++ struct.
    Parse AAPL;Apple;252.50; into a struct.
  4. Create an abstract syntax tree (AST) from arithmetic (and part two).
    Parse y = 6 * 9 + 42 * x and evaluate with variables.
  5. Ogle some more crazy examples, e.g. how to parse.
    <h1>Example for <b>C++ HTML Parser<b></h1>
    This HTML <b>snippet</b> parser can also interpret
    *Markdown* style and enables additional tags
    to <% invoke(C++", 42) %> functions.
Furthermore, a recording of the live-coding in German is available on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYAheppw73U

Funny Drawing with 'C++' 'FLEX' and a Bison

Published Flex Bison C++ Example 0.1.4

Posted on 2009-09-05 10:40 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: flex-bison-cpp-example parsing c++ code-example

Released a minor updated source code version for Flex Bison C++ Example. The example source code is released into the public domain or, at your option, under the Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License (WTFPL).

This minor bugfix release fixes up two simple compilation issues with the newest bison version 2.4.1.

For more information and the download package see the Flex Bison C++ Example web page.


Funny Drawing with 'C++' 'FLEX' and a Bison

Published Flex Bison C++ Example 0.1.3

Posted on 2008-10-23 11:25 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: flex-bison-cpp-example c++ code-example parsing

Released yet another updated source code package for Flex Bison C++ Example. The example source code is released into the public domain or, at your option, under the Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License (WTFPL).

This bugfix release solves a subtle, severe bug, which rendered the template code useless. Even the example exprtext program segfaulted with any expression.

Corrected a very subtle bug with the newly introduced virtual yywrap() function in the FlexLexer class. Depending on how the header was included, the class contained the virtual yywrap() function or not. These differing class declarations lead to very strange NULL pointer exceptions, because the different compiled objects assume different class memory layouts. Ultimately the exprtest program always segfaulted.

For more information and the download package see the Flex Bison C++ Example web page.


Funny Drawing with 'C++' 'FLEX' and a Bison

Published Flex Bison C++ Example 0.1.2

Posted on 2008-08-03 14:26 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: flex-bison-cpp-example c++ code-example parsing

Released an updated source code package for Flex Bison C++ Example. The example source code is released into the public domain or, at your option, under the Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License (WTFPL).

This bugfix release solves two problems there were reported to me via e-mail:

The first problem were compilation errors that occured when no %union directive is used in the grammar: in this case the include headers order is changed around by bison and thereby breaks compilation. This was fixed by never including parser.h directly, but always using scanner.h.

And the second issue was raised because new versions of flex were released after years of stagnation. The new flex version 2.5.35 adds a virtual function yywrap() to the yyFlexLexer class. This function is automatically defined in any lexer source file generated by flex. However because I copied FlexLexer.h from an older flex distribution, the function definition throughs a "no yywrap() member function" compiler error. Updating the FlexLexer.h with a conditional declaration of yywrap() hopefully did the trick and now works on all versions. Usually this file should be taken from /usr/include and not from the package. However that will break compilation if flex is not installed, and a self-sufficient compilation package was a primary goal of the example.

For more information and the download package see the Flex Bison C++ Example web page.


Funny Drawing with 'C++' 'FLEX' and a Bison

Published Flex Bison C++ Example 0.1

Posted on 2007-08-20 11:53 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 2 Comments. Tags: flex-bison-cpp-example c++ code-example parsing

Released example source code package Flex Bison C++ Example. The example source code is released into the public domain or, at your option, under the Do What The Fuck You Want To Public License (WTFPL).

This example shows how to use both Flex and Bison in C++ mode. This way both lexer and parser code and data is encapsulated into classes. Thus the lexer and parser are fully re-entrant, because all state variables are contained in the class objects. Furthermore multiple different lexer-parser pairs can easily be linked into one binary, because they have different class names and/or are located in a different namespace.

Why Use These Old Tools? Well, they are here to stay and they work well. But most important, the code generated by Flex and Bison requires no compile-time dependencies, because they generate fully autonomous source code. So far I have not found any modern parser generator which outputs independent code. It is even possible to compile the generated source on Windows with Visual C++ 2005.

For more information and the download package see the Flex Bison C++ Example web page.


Small drawing of a parse tree

Published STX Expression Parser Framework Version 0.7

Posted on 2007-07-17 17:10 by Timo Bingmann at Permlink with 0 Comments. Tags: c++ parsing

Released the first version 0.7 of the STX Expression Parser C++ Framework package. The library is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) (2.1 or later).

The STX Expression Parser provides a C++ framework, which can process user-specified expression strings containing program-specific variables. It can be integrated into applications to allow user-customized data selection and filtering. The expresssion strings are intuitive SQL-like WHERE-clauses and can contain arbitrarily complex arithmetic. At the same time the expression processing time is guaranteed to be fast enough to safely iterate over larger data sets.

The expression parser can process arbitrarily complex arithmetic expressions like those seen below. To access application-defined data, functions and variables may be included in the expression. An expression can be used as a boolean filter by using comparison and logic operators.

For more information see the STX Expression Parser web page.

Most impressive are the interactive online CGI parser demo and the online CSV file filter.


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