{parsing} is the process of analysing a string of symbols, either in natural or computer language.

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62
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4answers
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Is there a BNF grammar of the TeX language?

I'm looking for a BNF grammar of the TeX language, does it exist? EDIT For those of us who are not computer scientists, a BNF grammar is one kind of formal description of a CFG: Backus Naur Form. ...
21
votes
5answers
427 views

How to define a command that surronds an argument with parenthesis if it contains a comma?

I have a very simple command in which one of the arguments can contain commas, in which case the output may not be easily readable since the text in which it is used may contain other commas, making ...
20
votes
3answers
427 views

What are the effects of an empty group, {}?

In order to have a syntactic space after a no-argument command, one is taught to delimit the command token with an empty group ({}), like this: \somecommand{} more LaTeX material. However an empty ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Bash lstlistings treats “$#” as a comment

Background: In Bash, $# represents the number of arguments, and # starts a comment. Consider the following Bash script: # This is a comment while [[ $# -gt 0 ]]; do echo $1 shift done Note ...
17
votes
5answers
656 views

Basics of parsing

I'm trying to master the art of parsing text one character at a time. The following is what I've discovered so far. Is this as good as it gets? I would really prefer not to do all those \edefs as ...
16
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5answers
491 views

Applying an operation only to capitals

I'd like to apply a function to capitals only so that: \emphcaps{YaWeH} Outputs like: \emph{Y}a\emph{W}e\emph{H} Preferably without using too many packages (I already use memoir). NOTES: I use ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Syntax of TeX/LaTeX

{} and [] do some kind of grouping, and comma seems to be special as well. Being a programmer I find it frustrating to use Latex on incantation-only basis. I would like to know how does it exactly ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between square brackets and curly brackets in a command invocation?

Pardon the naive beginner question. In a command like: \textcolor[HTML]{4C7045}{dark green text}, or \documentclass[12pt]{article}, or \begin{figure}[htb], why are some arguments surrounded by [] and ...
15
votes
3answers
553 views

How could LaTeX replace the tokens <= by the command \leq?

How could LaTeX replace the tokens <= by the command \leq efficiently? Example 1: I have this code: \[ 2x <= 4x - 2 \] And I want to get after the compilation this: Example 2: \[ ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Ways to parse JSON in LaTeX?

I'm writing my recipes (food) in a small textfile in JSON. Are there any ways to parse this in LaTeX? I know, that are lots of templates dealing with recipes, but I want to have my own style, which ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Drawing Young tabloids

I would like LaTeX to produce output like the following (without the 2 a so called Young tabloid), ideally by writing \ytabloidshort{123,56} (using one character per cell, ideally allowing ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Parse comma-separated list of command names with spaces

Problem This question is related to How can I specify a long list of math operators? – but with a twist: I want to allow spaces in in the comma-separated list, like so: \newacronyms{acm, ams, cpu, ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How do I write a macro having comma-separated and variable number of arguments?

I want to write a macro in LaTeX2e that can pass \textcolor, which is embedded in another macro, the values of the colour model gray, rgb, or cmyk. The number of arguments specified implies the colour ...
13
votes
1answer
271 views

Parsing question: Do curly braces affect LaTeX compilation time?

I have an old and slow computer and long LaTeX files. When typing I prefer to use \frac 1{x} instead of \frac{1}{x} or x_i instead of x_{i}. Does the presence or omission of curly braces in these ...
13
votes
1answer
153 views

What is considered a token for non-standard input encodings?

When I use an input encoding to (La)TeX that allows me to directly input characters such as é and ä (such as by declaring \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}), how is a token defined? Specifically, is it ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Parsing files through LuaTeX

This question has two parts: How would one generally parse a file with LuaTeX, assuming the file only holds data that is delimited either by spaces, commas or semicolons. How would you parse the ...
12
votes
5answers
647 views

Parsing hexadecimal numbers to binary and iterating over bits

I'm currently working on a software for an graphic display, so I recreated it in TikZ for documentation purposes: I currently use this to set individual pixels on the display: \setpixel{x}{y} ...
11
votes
3answers
460 views

Parser for decimal numbers in (plain) TeX

I need help writing a parser for decimal numbers using only TeX and plain TeX. The set of accepted inputs is given by the regular expression: (+-)?(0-9)*(.,)?(0-9)+ The parser need not do anything ...
11
votes
1answer
7k views

pgfplot: Datafile format for datetime field

I have a datafile (which I may manipulate to any format), it contains a date-time stamp currently in the form "year-month-day hour:min" and a single variable for each recorded time. When I attempt to ...
11
votes
1answer
280 views

Parsing commands with multiple optional arguments

Some LaTeX commands accept multiple optional arguments. Here are some examples: \makebox[<width>][<pos>]{<text>} \framebox[<width>][<pos>]{<text>} ...
10
votes
2answers
566 views

The different meanings of LaTeX's \stop command

we know that \stop will cause LaTeX to stop parsing and output what it has processed up to this command. But then I discovered another way to use it, as demonstrated in this minimum working ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

What parsers for (La)TeX mathematics exist outside of the TeX engines?

Inspired by the author's motivation for asking Is there a BNF grammar of tex language. Are there any well done libraries that can parse some subset of TeX mathematics independently of the TeX engine? ...
10
votes
2answers
752 views

\def taking next word as argument?

This question is a variant of my previous question requesting a macro that takes the rest of the line as argument. I would like to write a macro that would take the next word as argument, where word ...
10
votes
1answer
93 views

Scan argument for parentheses

I'd like to define a macro which expands to (#1) if #1 does not contain any parentheses, but expands to \big(#1\big) if it does. I'd choose simplicity over generality: if a solution works in the most ...
10
votes
1answer
541 views

Extract the logically first slide in a Beamer overlay specification?

When writing Beamer slides for a talk, I find that I often want to have some text (usually math) visible on a group of slides and be alerted on only the first slide in the group. For example, I can ...
9
votes
5answers
424 views

Parse dotted string, extracting last part

I want a macro that will separate a string like "1.2.3" into two parts: the part until the last dot (call that the context) and the last number. This seems a pretty basic application of a helper ...
9
votes
4answers
413 views

Read command with varying input arguments

Out of curiosity I'd like to define a LaTeX command that looks like: \newcommand{\trigger}{out1,out2,...,outn} with a rather strange function (at least, I couldn't find anything like this ...
9
votes
3answers
260 views

How to parse multiple arguments in TeX macros

I have dates formatted {yyyy-mm-dd}. I would like display the time elapsed between the dates in the form Y years, M months. Given the format of the dates, it seems easier to use arithmetic than to ...
9
votes
3answers
495 views

Implementing car and cdr in TeX

I've been trying to implement a macro that reads and transforms its argument into a different form...but I'm having quite a bit of trouble finding or creating even the most basic parsing tools. Case ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How does 'filecontents' keep LaTeX parsing while temporarily stop writing output

We all know filecontents.sty can do \documentcalss{article} \usepackage{filecontents} \begin{document} Hello World \begin{filecontents}{dummy.txt} No one will read this if I don't use it ...
8
votes
2answers
104 views

Parsing various types of page ranges with a single command

Having to treat a considerable amount of page ranges, I'd like to have a robust and simple command that would parse and print them correctly. The most simple case is e.g. 264,15-26 which ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Iterate over space-separated list

I’ll briefly explain the background in case this can be solved simpler but I’d still be interested in an answer to the actual question, too. My chapter titles are very narrow and use a large font so ...
8
votes
1answer
423 views

Replacing Leading Minus Signs in Environment

In this question concerning negative signs and the alignment of entries in matrix environments, Heiko Oberdiek gave a great answer in which he uses a user-defined command called \matminus instead of ...
7
votes
4answers
574 views

Only get filename and extension of listing, not whole path

I am trying to add the file name as caption. I was able to do this setting caption=\lstname but this shows the full path. I am now trying to get the name of the file and extension to show only. I ...
7
votes
4answers
225 views

How to break a line after the n-th word?

Suppose i have a raw text defined as: \newcommand{\rawtext}{this is some raw text with many words in it} How to break this line after a given word or position? Of course, i only have access to ...
7
votes
2answers
812 views

Formatting crystallographic indices

I would like to make a command in LaTeX that can be used like this: \zoneaxis{1 2 -3} \zoneaxis{2 -1 -1 10} and would produce this: $[1\,2\,\overline{3}]$ $[2\,\overline{1}\,\overline{1}\,10]$ ...
7
votes
2answers
210 views

Parse command argument separated by comma

I want to mix several language in my document, and the output language can be chosen according to corresponding variable I want to define this kind of command \mulan[en,fr,ru]{arg1}{arg2}{arg3} to ...
7
votes
2answers
110 views

Parse filename and extract revision from name

My file is named 'cv3.01.tex'. I want to extract the '3.01' part and use it in the footer of the document, i.e. 'Rev 3.01'. I found Parsing file name into document, but it does not work for my ...
6
votes
4answers
863 views

Parse a string into tokens of numbers and not numbers

I have a string that I want to parse into to numbers and non-numbers. For my purposes: A Number can EITHER be any sequential string of digits OR sequential string of digits with a . followed by ...
6
votes
4answers
352 views

Simple pre-parser to separate TeX and comments?

I want to write a mathematical paper both with formulas and with program snippets, side by side. However I do not want the programs displayed or documented by TeX, just be able to extract them into a ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

In the siunitx package, how do i get it to produce uncertainties with the \pm symbol instead of parenthesis

Using the siunitx package, if I specify an error with the \pm symbol then it automatically converts it to a form using parenthesis. I would like it to not do this and keep the \pm symbol, but still ...
6
votes
3answers
352 views

Parse argument with a number and an optional letter

How to define a macro which takes a string made by number and an optional letter and then branches on the basis on the letter? Since this is an extension of an existing package, it is preferable not ...
6
votes
4answers
537 views

List parsing with special input/optional arguments

I’d like to parse a list where the elements can be given as either [<pre>]<text>[<post>], where <pre> and <post> are optional, or (<special text>). I found a ...
6
votes
3answers
164 views

String parsing macro fails within custom cite command of biblatex?

I am trying to use the same string parsing macro as in String parsing macro fails within a minipage environment?; but this time in context of biblatex - and I'm having similar problems, I guess. ...
6
votes
2answers
171 views

Arguments to function not losing braces

This MWE is boiled down so much the usefulness of the code is lost. However, the code nevertheless still exhibits the problem I'm encountering. \documentclass{article} \usepackage{pgffor} ...
6
votes
1answer
172 views

Parsing a \$ as part of an improved \getargs command

As the author of stringstrings, I am acutely aware of its slowness. For small tasks, that slowness can be annoying. For larger tasks, it can be prohibitive. Recently, in using data column as ...
6
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2answers
211 views

Simplifying macro for the align* environment for two column equations

The align* environment provides for a two column layout of equations, similar to the eqnarray* environment. \begin{align*} [left side of the first column] &= [first line of the first ...
6
votes
2answers
95 views

Different Behaviors Digesting \csname x\endcsname and Digesting \x (expansion issue)

This question has been significantly EDITED, as I learned more of the problem. If I was good, I would be able to create macros with multiple optional arguments, but not only can't I, but in this ...
6
votes
1answer
259 views

Parse a file with a regexp and return first match

I need to write a command that searches a file for a string that matches a certain regexp, and inserts that string. I know how to parse a string of text using a regex with \usepackage{l3regex} ...
6
votes
1answer
503 views

Arbitrary text parsing from a separate file

I'm still very new to the world of TeX, so please bear with me if this question is unclear or has been asked before. I'm starting to figure my way through TeX and the millions of plugins and ...