pyparsing Catch-22

7stud bbxx789_05ss at
Mon Apr 16 10:06:35 CEST 2007

Paul McGuire wrote:
> Me? Push?  Boy, a guy posts a couple of examples, tries to help some
> people that are stuck with a problem, and what does he get?  Called
> "pushy"?  Sheesh!

Hey, I never called you pushy!  Ok, maybe I sounded a little harsh--I
was pretty frustrated after all.  I guess I should have said something
along the lines of, "If you are going to promote pyparsing, it would
be nice to be able see what it is all about it."

> Fortunately, I get enough positive feedback from
> these posts that my feelings are pretty resilient these days.
> Anyway, thanks and point taken for the alert on this subject from the
> newbie's perspective.  When I first wrote these installations and
> started the pyparsing project on SF, I was fairly newb myself - I had
> to ask Dave Kuhlman to write for me!  So I assumed the target
> audience already knew the stuff I was having to learn.  I assumed that
> was just common knowledge among the Python world.
> I think your suggestion of a Wiki page on this subject should fill
> this gap neatly, especially since pyparsing is somewhat targetted at
> the newb and near-newb user, one that is struggling with regexp's or
> some other parsing technology, and just wants to get some basic code
> working.  The other posts in this thread contain plenty of material to
> start from.  Also, thanks for the Mac OS X point of view, most of my
> work is on Windows, and a little bit on Linux, but absolutely none on
> Mac.  And I see that I should not assume knowledge of tar, either, so
> I'll be sure to mention its destructive streak, in overwriting
> existing files with the same name as those in the archive.  Once
> untar'ed, there *is* a file named README, with an introduction and
> instructions to invoke properly.

Iol.  I read it:


Do the usual:

    python install

(pyparsing requires Python 2.3.2 or later.)

Not much to go on--not even a mention of what directory you should be
in when you run that command.  Plus, you need to extract the files
from the .tar file first.

> I'm glad to see you perservered and got pyparsing installed.  You can
> also run itself, which will run a simple SQL parser
> test.  If you have not yet found the docs or examples, *please* look
> over the sample code in the examples directory, and the class-level
> documentation in the htmldocs directory.  The docs directory should
> also include the materials from my PyCon'06 presentations.
> Please post back, either here or on the Pyparsing wiki discussion
> pages, and let me know how your pyparsing work is progressing.
> -- Paul (the developer, but you can call me "Paul")

I'm pretty facile with regex's, and after looking at some pyparsing
threads over the last week or so, I was interested in trying it.
However, all of the beginning examples use a Word() in the parse
expression, but I couldn't find an adequate explanation of what the
arguments to Word() are and what they mean.  I finally found the
information buried in one of the  many documents--the one called
"Using the Pyparsing Module".  If that seems like an obvious place to
look, I did start there, but I didn't find it at first.  I also
scoured the the wiki, and I looked in the file pycon06-
IntroToPyparsing-notes.pdf, which has this:

Basic Pyparsing
Words and Literals

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