Tagged: ast

Extracting scala method names from objects with macros

I have a soft spot in me for AST’s ever since I went through the exercise of building my own language. Working in Java I missed the dynamic ability to get compile time information, though I knew it was available as part of the annotation processing pipleine during compilation (which is how lombok works). Scala has something similiar in the concept of macros: a way to hook into the compiler, manipulate or inspect the syntax tree, and rewrite or inject whatever you want. It’s a wonderfully elegant system that reminds me of Lisp/Clojure macros.

I ran into a situation (as always) where I really wanted to get the name of a function dynamically. i.e.

class Foo {
   val field: String = "" 
   def method(): Unit = {}

val name: String = ??.field // = "field"

In .NET this is pretty easy since at runtime you can create an … Read more

Avoiding nulls with expression trees

I’ve blogged about this subject before, but I REALLY hate null refs. This is one of the reasons I love F# and other functional languages, null ref’s almost never happen. But, in the real world I work as a C# dev and have to live with C#’s… nuisances.

In the other post, a big problem with the dynamic proxy was that it only worked with virtual methods, so it wasn’t really all that practical. This time around I decided to try a different route and leverage expression tree’s to actually build out the if checks automatically.

For the impatient, full source available at my github and the library is available on nuget


Let me demonstrate the final usage first. If all of users properties and methods return null, executing this whole chain would fail starting at the null result of GetSchool(). But, by using the Option static … Read more

Implementing the game “Arithmetic”

There is a subreddit on reddit called /r/dailyprogrammer and while they don’t actually post exercises daily, they do sometimes post neat questions that are fun to solve. About a week ago, they posted a problem that I solved with F# that I wanted to share. For the impatient, my full source is available at this fssnip.

The description is as follows:

Unix[2] , the famous multitasking and multi-user operating system, has several standards that defines Unix commands, system calls, subroutines, files, etc. Specifically within Version 7[3] (though this is included in many other Unix standards), there is a game called “arithmetic”. To quote the Man Page[4] :

Arithmetic types out simple arithmetic problems, and waits for an answer to be typed in. If the answer
is correct, it types back “Right!”, and a new problem. If the answer is wrong, it replies “What?”, and
waits for another answer. Every

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Parse whatever with your own parser combinator

In a few recent posts I talked about playing with fparsec to parse data into usable syntax trees. But, even after all the time spent fiddling with it, I really didn’t fully understand how combinators actually worked. With that in mind, I decided to build a version of fparsec from scratch. What better way to understand something than to build it yourself? I had one personal stipulation, and that was to not look at the fparsec source. To be fair, I cheated with one function (the very first one) so I kind of cheated a lot, but I didn’t peek at anything else, promise.


The principle behind combinators is that they are a way to take two functions and combine them into another function. Functional programming is chock full of this pattern. In general, you can combine any function to get any other function, but what makes a combinator … Read more