3aa267d Jan 24, 2017
@jlongster @amksd
121 lines (88 sloc) 3.11 KB

This is very rough documentation of the formatting commands you can use to build a printed version of something. This will be improved over time.

The core of the algorithm is implemented in doc-{printer,builders,utils}.js. The printer should use the basic formatting abstractions provided to construct a format when printing a node. Parts of the API only exist to be compatible with recast's previous API to ease migration, but over time we can clean it up.

The following commands are available:


Combine an array into a single string.


Mark a group of items which the printer should try to fit on one line. This is the basic command to tell the printer when to break. Groups are usually nested, and the printer will try to fit everything on one line, but if it doesn't fit it will break the outermost group first and try again. It will continue breaking groups until everything fits (or there are no more groups to break).

A document can force parent groups to break by including breakParent (see below). A hard and literal line automatically include this so they always break parent groups. Breaks are propagated to all parent groups, so if a deeply nested expression has a hard break, everything with break. This only matters for "hard" breaks, i.e. newlines that are printed no matter what and can be statically analyzed.

For example, an array will try to fit on one line:

[1, "foo", { bar: 2 }]

However, if any of the items inside the array have a hard break, the array will always break as well:

  function() {
    return 2

Functions always break after the opening curly brace no matter what, so the array breaks as well for consistent formatting. See the implementation of ArrayExpression for an example.


Include this anywhere to force all parent groups to break. See group for more info. Example:

  " ",
  " ",


Join an array of items with a separator.


Specify a line break. If an expression fits on one line, the line break will be replaced with a space. Line breaks always indent the next line with the current level of indentation.


Specify a line break. The difference from line is that if the expression fits on one line, it will be replaced with nothing.


Specify a line break that is always included in the output, no matter if the expression fits on one line or not.


Specify a line break that is always included in the output, and don't indent the next line. This is used for template literals.


Increase the level of indentation.


For an example, here's the implementation of the ArrayExpression node type:

return multilineGroup(concat([
           join(concat([",", line]),
      , "elements"))

This is a group with opening and closing brackets, and possibly indented contents. Because it's a multilineGroup it will always be broken up if any of the sub-expressions are broken.