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phpegjs (PHP PEG.js) Build status npm package

2021 update: this is no longer maintained. Try instead.

A PHP code generation plugin for PEG.js.

Fork of php-pegjs.


  • PEG.js (known compatible with v0.10.0)



Install PEG.js with phpegjs plugin

$ npm install phpegjs


Generating a Parser

In Node.js, require both the PEG.js parser generator and the phpegjs plugin:

var pegjs = require("pegjs");
var phpegjs = require("phpegjs");

To generate a PHP parser, pass both the phpegjs plugin and your grammar to pegjs.generate:

var parser = pegjs.generate("start = ('a' / 'b')+", {
    plugins: [phpegjs]

The method will return source code of generated parser as a string. Unlike original PEG.js, generated PHP parser will be a class, not a function.

Supported options of pegjs.generate:

  • cache — if true, makes the parser cache results, avoiding exponential parsing time in pathological cases but making the parser slower (default: false). In case of PHP, this is strongly recommended for big grammars (like javascript.pegjs or css.pegjs in example folder)
  • allowedStartRules — rules the parser will be allowed to start parsing from (default: the first rule in the grammar)

You can also pass options specific to the PHP PEG.js plugin as follows:

var parser = pegjs.generate("start = ('a' / 'b')+", {
    plugins: [phpegjs],
    phpegjs: { /* phpegjs-specific options */ }

Here are the options available to pass this way:

  • parserNamespace - namespace of generated parser (default: PhpPegJs). If value is '' or null, no namespace will be used (and the generated parser will be compatible with PHP 5.2).
  • parserGlobalNamePrefix - prefix to add to all globally defined names including the parser, its helper functions, and the SyntaxError class. This should only be used if PHP 5.2 compatibility is needed; otherwise the parserNamespace option should be used instead.
  • parserClassName - name of generated class for parser (default: Parser). Note that if a parserGlobalNamePrefix is specified, this prefix will be added to the name specified by parserClassName.
  • mbstringAllowed - whether to allow usage of PHP's mb_* functions which depend on the mbstring extension being installed (default: true). This can be disabled for compatibility with a wider range of PHP configurations, but this will also disable several features of PEG.js (case-insensitive string matching, case-insensitive character classes, and empty character classes). Attempting to use these features with mbstringAllowed: false will cause generate to throw an error.

Using the Parser

  1. Save parser generated by pegjs.generate to a file

  2. In PHP code:

include "your.parser.file.php";

try {
    $parser = new PhpPegJs\Parser;
    $result = $parser->parse($input);
} catch (PhpPegJs\SyntaxError $ex) {
    // Handle parsing error
    // [...]

You can use the following snippet to format parsing errors:

catch (PhpPegJs\SyntaxError $ex) {
    $message = "Syntax error: " . $ex->getMessage() . ' at line ' . $ex->grammarLine . ' column ' . $ex->grammarColumn . ' offset ' . $ex->grammarOffset;

Note that the generated PHP parser will call preg_match_all( '/./us', ... ) on the input string. This may be undesirable for projects that need to maintain compatibility with PCRE versions that are missing Unicode support (WordPress, for example). To avoid this call, split the input string into an array (one array element per UTF-8 character) and pass this array into $parser->parse() instead of the string input.

Grammar Syntax and Semantics

See documentation of PEG.js with one difference: action blocks should be written in PHP.

Original PEG.js rule:

media_list = head:medium tail:("," S* medium)* {
  var result = [head];
  for (var i = 0; i < tail.length; i++) {
  return result;

PHP PEG.js rule:

media_list = head:medium tail:("," S* medium)* {
  $result = array($head);
  for ($i = 0; $i < count($tail); $i++) {
    $result[] = $tail[$i][2];
  return $result;

To target both JavaScript and PHP with a single grammar, you can mix the two languages using a special comment syntax:

media_list = head:medium tail:("," S* medium)* {
  /** <?php
  $result = array($head);
  for ($i = 0; $i < count($tail); $i++) {
    $result[] = $tail[$i][2];
  return $result;
  ?> **/

  var result = [head];
  for (var i = 0; i < tail.length; i++) {
  return result;

You can also use the following utility functions in PHP action blocks:

  • chr_unicode($code) - return character by its UTF-8 code (analogue of JavaScript's String.fromCharCode function).
  • ord_unicode($code) - return the UTF-8 code for a character (analogue of JavaScript's String.prototype.charCodeAt(0) function).

Guide for converting PEG.js action blocks to PHP PEG.js

Javascript code PHP analogue
some_var $some_var
{f1: "val1", f2: "val2"} array("f1" => "val1", "f2" => "val2")
["val1", "val2"] array("val1", "val2")
some_array.push("val") $some_array[] = "val"
some_array.length count($some_array)
some_array.join("") join("", $some_array)
some_array1.concat(some_array2) array_merge($some_array1, $some_array2)
parseInt("23") intval("23")
parseFloat("23.1") floatval("23.1")
some_str.length mb_strlen(some_str, "UTF-8")
some_str.replace("b", "\b") str_replace("b", "\b", $some_str)
String.fromCharCode(2323) chr_unicode(2323)


The MIT License (MIT)


PHP target for PEG.js parser generator







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