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A Parsing Expression Grammar (PEG) module, using the D programming language.

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Pegged is a parsing expression grammar (PEG) generator implemented in the D programming language.

The idea is to give the generator a PEG, with the syntax presented in the reference article . From this grammar definition a set of related parsers will be created, to be used at runtime or compile time.


To use Pegged, just call the

function with a PEG and mix it in. For example:
import pegged.grammar;

mixin(grammar(` Arithmetic: Term < Factor (Add / Sub)* Add < "+" Factor Sub < "-" Factor Factor < Primary (Mul / Div)* Mul < "*" Primary Div < "/" Primary Primary < Parens / Neg / Pos / Number / Variable Parens < "(" Term ")" Neg < "-" Primary Pos < "+" Primary Number < ~([0-9]+)


Open on

This creates the

grammar, with the
(and so on) rules for basic arithmetic expressions with operator precedence ('*' and '/' bind stronger than '+' or '-').
is a pre-defined parser recognizing your basic C-style identifier (first a letter or underscore, then digits, letters or underscores). In the rest of this document, I'll call 'rule' a
Parser  expression and I'll use 'grammar' to designate the entire group of rules given to 

To use a grammar, call it with a string. It will return a parse tree containing the calls to the different rules:

// Parsing at compile-time:
enum parseTree1 = Arithmetic("1 + 2 - (3*x-5)*6");

pragma(msg, parseTree1.matches); assert(parseTree1.matches == ["1", "+", "2", "-", "(", "3", "", "x", "-", "5", ")", "", "6"]); writeln(parseTree1);

// And at runtime too: auto parseTree2 = Arithmetic(" 0 + 123 - 456 "); assert(parseTree2.matches == ["0", "+", "123", "-", "456"]);

Even for such a simple grammar and such a simple expression, the resulting parse tree is a bit long to be shown here. See the result here

By default, the grammars do not silently consume spaces, as this is the standard behaviour for PEGs. There is an opt-out though, with the simple

arrow instead of
 (you can see it in the previous example).

How to get Pegged

Pegged is a github project, hosted at

To get it:

$ git clone


directory contains an empty
directory, linked to the github wiki as a git submodule. Here is how to get it:
$ cd 
$ git submodule init
$ git submodule update

This should give you a

directory full of markdown files, right from the online wiki.

Tutorial and docs

The Pegged wiki is here. It contains a growing tutorial. All the wiki pages are also present (as Markdown files) in the



  • The complete set of operators described here are implemented, with the 'traditional' PEG syntax. See Peg Basics.
  • Pegged can parse its input at compile time and generate a complete parse tree at compile time. In a word: compile-time string (read: D code) transformation and generation. See Generating Code for example.
  • You can parse at runtime also, you lucky you. (Using the Parse Tree)
  • Use a standard and readable PEG syntax as a DSL, not a bunch of templates that hide the parser in noise.
  • But you can use expression templates if you want, as parsers are all available as such. Pegged is implemented as an expression template, and what's good for the library writer is sure OK for the user too. (Behind the Curtain: How Pegged Works
  • Some useful additional operators are there too: a way to discard matches (thus dumping them from the parse tree), to push captures on a stack, to accept matches that are equal to another match: see PEG Additions.
  • Adding new parsers is easy. See User-Defined Parsers to see how to do that.
  • Grammars are composable: you can put different
    in a module and then grammars and rules can refer to one another. That way, you can have utility grammars providing their functionalities to other grammars. Grammar Composition
  • That's why Pegged comes with some pre-defined grammars (JSON, C, XML, CSV, D, the PEG grammar itself, etc). See Grammar Examples.
  • Grammars can be dumped in a file to create a module. Use the
    asModule(string moduleName, string gram)
    function in
    to do that. See Grammars as Modules.

More advanced features, outside the standard PEG perimeter are there to bring more power in the mix:

  • Parametrized rules:
    "List(E, Sep)  is possible. The previous rule defines a parametrized parser taking two other parsers (namely, 
    ) to match a
    -separated list of
    's. Entire grammars can be parametrized, too. See Parametrized Rules to see what's possible.
  • Semantic actions can be added to any rule in a grammar. Once a rule has matched, its associated action is called on the rule output and passed as final result to other parsers further up the grammar. Do what you want to the parse tree. If the passed actions are delegates, they can access external variables. See Semantic Actions.



D Code:

  • Hisayuki Mima's CTPG, very similar, also done in D. Have a look!
  • Nick Sabalausky's Goldie.
  • Benjamin Shropshire's dparser.
  • Martin Nowak put these gists on the D newsgroup:
    • - lexer generator
    • - complete and fast D lexer

Other languages:


Pegged is released with the Boost license (like most D projects). See here for more details.

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