Javacc grammar for parsing clojure
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Javacc grammar for parsing clojure

Goals of the project

To write LL(2)-grammar of clojure programming language for javacc to gather some metrics from the code to assess its quality or just understand something about the project.


JavaCC is a parser generator, which accepts .jj file and produce java classes. Additional information about javacc can be found on official site.

Clojure is a LISP dialect with extended syntax.


Metrics from OO world doesn’t conform our needs. That is why I choose few pretty random metrics, which can show something interesting about source code. Explanation what can be gathered and how it can be interpreted provided in Usage section.


To generate report build parser, get all source code to one file and run parser on it.

find /path/to/project -name 'filename.clj' | xargs cat > combined.clj
cat combined.clj | java -cp target/ ClojureParser

Results for yada project looks like:

|forms: 37693
|symbols: 18778
|literals: 9720
|keywords: 6092
|maximum form nestiness: 15
|lists: 9411
|vectors: 3677
|maps: 1973
|sets: 144
|public function defenitions: 267
|private function defenitions: 40
|macro definitions: 7
|multimethods defs: 11
|multimethods implementations: 63
  • Nestiness a little bit high, but still ok for such a big project.
  • Pretty high number(1/7 of all functions) of private function definitions shows that code

maybe clean and nses doesn’t provide redundant API for external developers, who uses this library.

  • Very low number of macros usage shows that code probably straightforward and doesn’t provide unnecessary complexity
  • Information of multimethods tell us that developers at least using polymorphism features, for each dispatching we have around 6 variants of functions and that probably mean that multimethods used accurately. Not so much and not so few cases covered each multimethod.


It is very pet project and probably shouldn’t be used as a source of trust, but I tried to implement grammar for javacc as close as possible to Clojure reader reference. Fill free to ask questions, make pull request or submit issues.