Action code and return types

Action code

Action code is normal Rust code with the addition of the following special variables:

  • $1 ... $n refer to the respective symbol in the production, numbered from 1 (i.e. $1 refers to the first symbol in the production). If the symbol references a rule R then an instance of R's type will be stored in the $i variable. If the symbol references a lexeme then a Result<Lexeme<StorageT>, Lexeme<StorageT>> instance is returned where the Ok variant is used for lexemes that are directly derived from the user's input and the Err variant is used for lexemes that have been inserted by error recovery.

  • $lexer allows access to the lexer and its various functions. The most commonly used of these is the span_str function, which allows us to extract &'input strs from a Span (e.g. to extract the string represented by a Lexeme, we would use $lexer.span_str(lexeme.span())). As this may suggest, actions may also reference the special lifetime 'input (without any $ prefix), which allows strings to be returned / stored by the grammar without copying memory.

  • $span is a cfgrammar::Span tuple (with both elements of type usize) which captures how much of the user's input the current production matched.

  • $$ is equivalent to $ in normal Rust code.

Any other variables beginning with $ are treated as errors.

Return types

Productions' return types can be any arbitrary Rust type. You may in addition make use of the following:

  • The generic parameter StorageT references the type of lexemes and is typically used with the Lexeme type i.e. Lexeme<StorageT>. This allows you to return lexemes from rules.

  • The lifetime 'input allows you to extract strings whose lifetime is tied to the lexer and return them from rules / store them in structs without copying. Lexer::span_str returns such strings and the typical idiom of use is &'input str.

Additional parse parameter

A single extra parameter can be passed to action functions if the %parse-param <var>: <type> declaration is used. The variable <var> is then visible in all action code. <type> must implement the Copy trait (note that & references implement Copy).

For example if a grammar has a declaration:

%parse-param p: u64

then the statically generated parse function will take two paramaters (lexer: &..., p: u64) and the variable p can be used in action code e.g.:

R -> ...:
  'ID' { format!("{}{}", p, ...) }
  ;