Code generation (Parser)

In this example, a configuration parser is generated at compile-time. Let's assume our program has a couple of configuration options, summarized in a settings struct:

struct Config
    int runs, port;
    string name;

While writing a parser for this struct, wouldn't be difficult, we would have to constantly update the parser, whenever we modify the Config object. Hence, we are interested in writing a generic parse function that can read arbitrary configuration options. For simplicity, parse will accept a very simple format of key1=value1,key2=value2 configuration options, but the same technique can be used for any arbitrary configuration format. For many popular configuration format, of course, readers already exist on the DUB registry.

Reading the configuration

Let's assume the user has "name=dlang,port=8080" as a configuration string. We then directly split the configuration options by comma and call parse with each individual configuration setting. After all configuration options have been parsed, the entire configuration object is printed.


parse is where the real magic happens, but first we split the given configuration option (e.g. "name=dlang") by "=" into key ("name") and value ("dlang"). The switch statement is executed with the parsed key, but the interesting bit is that the switch cases have been statically generated. c.tupleof returns a list of all members in the (idx, name) format. The compiler detects that the c.tupleof is known at compile-time and will unroll the foreach loop at compile-time. Hence, Conf.tupleof[idx].stringof will yield the individual members of the struct object and generate a case statement for each member. Equally, while being in the static loop, the individual members can be accessed by their index: c.tupleof[idx] and thus we can assign the respective member the parsed value from the given configuration string. Moreover, dropOne is necessary, because the splitted range still points at the key and thus droOne.front will return the second element. Furthermore, to!T will do the actual parsing of the input string to the respective type of the member of the configuration struct. Finally, as the foreach loop is unrolled at compile-time a break would stop this loop. However, after a configuration option has been successfully parsed, we don't want to jump to the next case in the switch statement and thus a labeled break is used to break out the switch statement.

rdmd playground.d