Parsing with First-Class Derivatives

by Jonathan Brachthäuser, Tillmann Rendel, and Klaus Ostermann

In Proceedings of the International Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA). ACM Press, 2016.


Brzozowski derivatives, well known in the context of regular expressions, have recently been rediscovered to give a simplified explanation to parsers of context-free languages. We add derivatives as a novel first-class feature to a standard parser combinator language. First- class derivatives enable an inversion of the control flow, allowing to implement modular parsers for languages that previously required separate pre-processing steps or cross- cutting modifications of the parsers. We show that our framework offers new opportunities for reuse and supports a modular definition of interesting use cases of layout-sensitive parsing.