Model patterns

The module hy.model-patterns provides a library of parser combinators for parsing complex trees of Hy models. Model patterns exist mostly to help implement the compiler, but they can also be useful for writing macros.

A motivating example

The kind of problem that model patterns are suited for is the following. Suppose you want to validate and extract the components of a form like:

(setv form '(try
  (except [EType1]
  (except [e EType2]
  (except []

You could do this with loops and indexing, but it would take a lot of code and be error-prone. Model patterns concisely express the general form of a model tree to be matched, like what a regular expression does for text. Here's a pattern for a try form of the above kind:

  funcparserlib.parser [maybe many]
  hy.model-patterns *)

(setv parser (whole [
  (sym "try")
  (many (notpexpr "except" "else" "finally"))
  (many (pexpr
    (sym "except")
    (| (brackets) (brackets FORM) (brackets SYM FORM))
    (many FORM)))
  (maybe (dolike "else"))
  (maybe (dolike "finally"))]))

You can run the parser with (.parse parser form). The result is:

  ['(foo1) '(foo2)]
    '([EType1] [(foo3)])
    '([e EType2] [(foo4) (foo5)])
    '([] [(foo6)])]
  '((foo7) (foo8)))

which is conveniently utilized with an assignment such as (setv [body except-clauses else-part finally-part] result). Notice that else-part will be set to None because there is no else clause in the original form.


Model patterns are implemented as funcparserlib parser combinators. We won't reproduce funcparserlib's own documentation, but here are some important built-in parsers:

  • (+ ...) matches its arguments in sequence.

  • (| ...) matches any one of its arguments.

  • (>> parser function) matches parser, then feeds the result through function to change the value that's produced on a successful parse.

  • (skip parser) matches parser, but doesn't add it to the produced value.

  • (maybe parser) matches parser if possible. Otherwise, it produces the value None.

  • (some function) takes a predicate function and matches a form if it satisfies the predicate.

Some of the more important of Hy's own parsers are:

  • FORM matches anything.

  • SYM matches any symbol.

  • sym matches and discards (per skip) the named symbol or keyword.

  • brackets matches the arguments in square brackets.

  • pexpr matches the arguments in parentheses.

Here's how you could write a simple macro using model patterns:

(defmacro pairs [#* args]
    funcparserlib.parser [many]
    hy.model-patterns [whole SYM FORM])
  (setv [args] (.parse
    (whole [(many (+ SYM FORM))])
  `[~@(gfor  [a1 a2] args  #((str a1) a2))])

(print (hy.repr (pairs  a 1  b 2  c 3)))
; => [#("a" 1) #("b" 2) #("c" 3)]

A failed parse will raise funcparserlib.parser.NoParseError.


Parser combinators for pattern-matching Hy model trees.

hy.model_patterns.FORM = <funcparserlib.parser.Parser object>

Match any token.

hy.model_patterns.KEYWORD = <funcparserlib.parser.Parser object>

Match a Keyword.

hy.model_patterns.LITERAL = <funcparserlib.parser.Parser object>

Match any model type denoting a literal.

hy.model_patterns.STR = <funcparserlib.parser.Parser object>

Match a String.

hy.model_patterns.SYM = <funcparserlib.parser.Parser object>

Match a Symbol.

class hy.model_patterns.Tag(tag, value)

A named tuple; see collections.namedtuple() and tag().


Alias for field number 0


Alias for field number 1

hy.model_patterns.braces(*parsers, name=None)

Match the given parsers inside curly braces (a Dict).

hy.model_patterns.brackets(*parsers, name=None)

Match the given parsers inside square brackets (a List).


Parse a do-like expression. head is a string used to construct a symbol for the head.

hy.model_patterns.in_tuple(*parsers, name=None)

Match the given parsers inside a Tuple.


As sym(), but the object is kept instead of skipped.


Parse any object other than an expression headed by a symbol whose name is equal to one of the given strings.

hy.model_patterns.parse_if(pred, parser)

Return a parser that parses a token with parser if it satisfies the predicate pred.

hy.model_patterns.pexpr(*parsers, name=None)

Match the given parsers inside a parenthesized Expression.


Match and skip a symbol with a name equal to the string wanted. You can begin the string with ":" to check for a keyword instead.

hy.model_patterns.tag(tag_name, parser)

Match on parser and produce an instance of Tag with tag set to tag_name and value set to result of matching parser.

hy.model_patterns.times(lo, hi, parser)

Parse parser several times (from lo to hi, inclusive) in a row. hi can be float('inf'). The result is a list no matter the number of instances.

hy.model_patterns.unpack(kind, content_type=None)

Parse an unpacking form, returning it unchanged. kind should be "iterable", "mapping", or "either". If content_type is provided, the parser also checks that the unpacking form has exactly one argument and that argument inherits from content_type.


Match the parsers in the given list one after another, then expect the end of the input.