Paola's Prestigious Pizza
Paola's Prestigious Pizza

Paola's Prestigious Pizza

Learning Exercise

While completing Paola's Prestigious Pizza, you'll learn 1 concept



Parsing is the process of transforming text into meaningful data. Functions from the String package are limiting in that regard and regular expressions are difficult to use, so the idiomatic way in Elm to parse is with the elm/parser package.

Let's walk through an example of writing a parser for (a subset of) the programming language LOLCODE. Let's consider the following commented program:

HAI 1                 # program version 1
CAN HAS STDIO?        # import stdio
KTHXBYE               # end of program

First, let's write an Elm type to represent the possible commands:

type Command
    = Version Int
    | Import String
    | Print String

Our LOLCODE program can then be modeled as a List Command. Let's start with a parser for the HAI 1 line:

versionP : Parser Command
versionP =
    Parser.succeed Version
        |. Parser.keyword "HAI"
        |. Parser.spaces

versionP is built using a parser pipeline. The (|.) operator means "parse the string but throw away the result" and (|=) means "parse the string and keep the result". In this example, Parser.keyword "HAI" will consume a "HAI", but that result is ignored. Parser.spaces will consume any number of ' ', '\n', and '\r' characters, but that will also be ignored. will parse an integer, and the value of that integer (say 1) will be passed to the topmost Parser.succeed Version and the parser will succeed in returning the value Version 1.

If any one of the parser in the pipeline fails, it will return a Parser.DeadEnd and the whole parser will fail. A parser can be ran with versionP "HAI 1"
    --> Ok (Version 1) versionP "HAI 2"
    --> Ok (Version 2) versionP "BYE 2"
    --> Err [{ problem = ExpectingKeyword "HAI", col = 1, row = 1 }] versionP "HAI MOM"
    --> Err [{ problem = ExpectingInt, col = 5, row = 1 }]

Let's attack the "CAN HAS STDIO?" line with

importP : Parser Command
importP =
    Parser.succeed Import
        |. Parser.keyword "CAN HAS"
        |. Parser.spaces
        |= packageP
        |. Parser.symbol "?"

importP is also a parser pipeline, but this time ends with Parser.symbol that is suitable for parsing symbols such as "?". The value that we want to keep (the name of the package to import) is parsed by

packageP : Parser String
packageP =
    Parser.chompWhile Char.isAlphaNum
        |> Parser.getChompedString
        |> String.toLower

Since we don't know what the package name will be, we cannot use Parser.keyword, so instead we use Parser.chompWhile that will consume single characters as long as they satisfy a condition (here, being an alphanumeric character). These chomped characters are then collected by Parser.getChompedString that returns a Parser String. In this case, we would like to normalize the package names, so we use to modify the string contained in the parser and make it lowercase. importP "CAN HAS STDIO?"
    --> Ok (Import "stdio") importP "CAN HAS StDiO?"
    --> Ok (Import "stdio") importP "CAN HAS STDIO"
    -->  Err [{ problem = ExpectingSymbol "?", col = 14, row = 1 }]

Next up, VISIBLE "HAI WORLD!" is parsed by

printP : Parser Command
printP =
    Parser.succeed Print
        |. Parser.keyword "VISIBLE"
        |. Parser.spaces
        |. Parser.symbol "\""
        |= stringP
        |. Parser.symbol "\""

stringP : Parser String
stringP =
    Parser.chompWhile (\c -> c /= '"')
        |> Parser.getChompedString printP "VISIBLE \"HAI WORLD!\""
    --> Ok (Print "HAI WORLD!")

We now have a parser for each command. Of course, in a general program, the order of these commands cannot be predicted, so we build a generic command parser

commandP : Parser Command
commandP =
        [ versionP
        , importP
        , printP

Parser.oneOf will try one parser, in the given order. If a parser fails, the next one is tried, but if it succeeds, its result is returned without trying the remaining parsers. If all parsers fail, Parser.oneOf fails. commandP "HAI 2"
    --> Ok (Version 2) commandP "CAN HAS STDIO?"
    --> Ok (Import "stdio") commandP "VISIBLE \"HAI WORLD!\""
    --> Ok (Print "HAI WORLD!") commandP "O NOES"
    --> Err [ { problem = ExpectingKeyword "HAI", col = 1, row = 1 }
    --      , { problem = ExpectingKeyword "CAN HAS", col = 1, row = 1 }
    --      , { problem = ExpectingKeyword "VISIBLE", col = 1, row = 1 }
    --      ]

Note how each failed attempt produces a Parser.DeadEnd that is collected by Parser.oneOf.

To parse a full program, we need to parse several commands sequentially with

programP : Parser (List Command)
programP =
        { start = ""
        , separator = "\n"
        , end = "KTHXBYE"
        , spaces = Parser.succeed ()
        , item = commandP
        , trailing = Parser.Optional

Parser.sequence is a very customizable parser with a number of options. start, separator and end take strings that separate the items of the sequence, for parsing an Elm list we would use "[", "," and "]". spaces provides flexibility by taking a parser that will handle potential spaces between items and separators, for parsing an Elm list we would use Parser.spaces, but in this case we don't accept any spaces so we use Parser.succeed () that succeeds immediately without actually consuming anything. item takes the item parser, and finally, trailing lets us decide if trailing separators are Parser.Forbidden, Parser.Mandatory or Parser.Optional. programP "HAI 2\nCAN HAS STDIO?\nKTHXBYE"
    --> Ok [Version 2, Import "stdio"] programP "KTHXBYE"
    --> Ok [] programP "HAI 2\nCAN HAS STDIO?\n"
    --> Err [ { problem = ExpectingKeyword "HAI", col = 1, row = 3 }
    --      , { problem = ExpectingKeyword "CAN HAS", col = 1, row = 3 }
    --      , { problem = ExpectingKeyword "VISIBLE", col = 1, row = 3 }
    --      , { problem = Expecting "KTHXBYE", col = 1, row = 3 }
    --      ]

When parsers succeed, they stop consuming the string "1"
    --> Ok 1 "1 BTW VISIBLE \"U SEE NOTHING\""
    --> Ok 1

So if we need to make sure we parsed everything in the string, we may use Parser.end

fullProgramP : Parser (List Command)
fullProgramP =
        |. Parser.spaces
        |. Parser.end fullProgramP "HAI 2\nCAN HAS STDIO?\nKTHXBYE"
    --> Ok [Version 2, Import "stdio"] fullProgramP "HAI 2\nCAN HAS STDIO?\nKTHXBYE\nBTW VISIBLE \"U SEE NOTHING\""
    --> Err [{ problem = ExpectingEnd, col = 1, row = 4 }]

Finally, we sometimes need to make a decision to fail a parser depending on its parsed content. For example, if we needed a parser that failed programs that start with two "HAI" commands in a row, we could use

singleVersionProgramP : Parser (List Command)
singleVersionProgramP =
        |> Parser.andThen
            (\commands ->
                case commands of
                    (Version _) :: (Version _) :: _ ->
                        Parser.problem "Multiple versions defined"

                    _ ->
                        Parser.succeed commands

Parser.andThen can inspect the content of a parser and returns a new parser depending on its value. Here, we failed the parser with a custom message using Parser.problem in one case, and returned the original value in the other. singleVersionProgramP "HAI 2\nCAN HAS STDIO?\nKTHXBYE"
    --> Ok [Version 2, Import "stdio"] singleVersionProgramP "HAI 1\nHAI 2\nCAN HAS STDIO?\nKTHXBYE"
    --> Err [{ problem = Problem "Multiple versions defined", col = 8, row = 4 }]


You are excited to join Paola's Prestigious Pizza as the new restaurant manager. You have many plans about how to run the place efficiently, and in order to do so, you need some data. First things first, you need to analyze the menu.

There are many types of pizza on the menu, Paola gave you a list in a text file, with one pizza per line. Each pizza entry has three components: its name, an optional vegetarian indicator, and a price.

1. Parse pizza price

You look at the first couple of lines on the menu:

Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€
Formaggio (v): tomato, emmental - 8€

The price seems like a good place to start. All prices are whole numbers in the Euro currency.

Implement priceParser to parse the prices. Since all prices are in Euro, you don't need to keep track of the currency, although you still need to parse it. priceParser "8€"
    --> Ok 8 priceParser "8"
    --> Err [{ problem = ExpectingSymbol "€", col = 2, row = 1 }]

2. Parse vegetarian indicator

You look at the menu again:

Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€
Formaggio (v): tomato, emmental - 8€

The vegetarian indicator "(v)" is pretty simple too, you decide to do that next!

Implement vegetarianParser to parse the indicator. The parser should return a Bool, True if the indicator is there and False otherwise. vegetarianParser "(v)"
    --> Ok True vegetarianParser ""
    --> Ok False

3. Parse pizza and ingredient names

Alright, what's next?

Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€
Formaggio (v): tomato, emmental - 8€

The ingredients and pizza names seem fairly straightforward: they are all single words made out of upper case and lower case ASCII characters.

Implement wordParser to parse the names. While you are at it, make all the words lowercase for uniformity. wordParser "REGINA"
    --> Ok "regina" wordParser "tomato"
    --> Ok "tomato" wordParser "(v)"
    --> Ok "" wordParser ""
    --> Ok ""

4. Parse a list of ingredients

Ingredients, however, come in group:

Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€
Formaggio (v): tomato, emmental - 8€

They are single words separated by commas and possibly spaces.

Implement ingredientsParser to parse the ingredients. ingredientsParser "tomato, emmental"
    --> Ok ["tomato", "emmental"] ingredientsParser "tomato"
    --> Ok ["tomato"]

5. Parse full pizza

Now that you have all the ingredients, time to make some Pizza!

Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€
Formaggio (v): tomato, emmental - 8€

First you have the pizza name, the optional vegetarian indicator, a colon ':', the ingredient list, a dash '-' and the price, with possible spaces interspersed.

Implement pizzaParser to parse the full pizza. pizzaParser "Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€"
    --> Ok (Pizza "regina" False ["tomato", "ham", "mushrooms", "cantal"] 11)

6. Parse full menu

Party time!

Implement menuParser to parse a list of all pizzas separated by newline characters '\n' in the text file. Make sure that you got all the pizzas by running the parser until it reaches the end of the file. menuParser "Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€\nFormaggio (v): tomato, emmental - 8€"
    --> Ok [Pizza "regina" False ["tomato", "ham", "mushrooms", "cantal"] 11,
    --      Pizza "formaggio" True ["tomato", "emmental"] 8] menuParser "Regina: tomato, ham, mushrooms, cantal - 11€\[END]"
    --> Err [{ problem = ExpectingEnd, col = 1, row = 2 }]

7. Parse multi-word ingredient names

Oh no, it seems you missed something. Somewhere further down the menu, some ingredients are not single words:

Tonno: tomato sauce, tuna - 10€
Hawaii: tomato sauce, fresh pineapple, ham - 9€

Implement oneIngredientParser that will accept upper case and lower case ASCII characters or spaces ' '. Also take the chance to avoid a small flaw that wordParser had by making sure that empty strings are not recognized as valid ingredients and instead emit Problem "empty string". While you are at it, make sure to make the strings lowercase and also trim whitespace characters on both sides. oneIngredientParser "Tomato Sauce"
    --> Ok "tomato sauce" oneIngredientParser "   tomato sauce     "
    --> Ok "tomato sauce" oneIngredientParser ""
    --> Err [{ problem = Problem "empty string", col = 1, row = 1 }]

Once the parser is defined, use it in ingredientsParser.

Last updated 11 May 2023
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