Revival Update

Progress Update 2019-01

Where we are at

These posts aim to provide a little progress update on milestones or things completed. Dogescript was in full strength in 2014 and suffered a minor hiatus, however it was picked up again in 2017. This first post is a little light of confidence and inspiration that dogescript will not be forgotten.

Dogescript switched contributors / owners around October 2017th. Most features and bugs were closed and re-consolidated in 2.4 Feature List, with things scoped to the 3.0 version of dogescript also consolidated here.


I plan on trying to keep these updated on a monthly cadence, even if there’s no substantial updates it will at least let you all know that we’re still committed to this mission!

Parser Work

The state of the parser in 2017-10 was a bit unmaintainable, so the focus on the parser switched with these goals in mind:

  1. Expression support in conditional statements
  2. Info on syntax errors (line / token)
  3. Maintainability to more easily add constructs

One of our desired features is to be able to express:

if (foo()) // other things

In the current dogescript language, a variable needs to be created to write that expression in full dogescript mode:

very result is plz foo
rly result

One of the challenges faced with the parser is the ambiguity between certain keywords and modes within the control flow statements, like is. Our approach here has been to make the parser consume tokens as it encounters them to avoid having to duplicate the handling of constructs between a conditional statement and a non-conditional one.

Each top-level keyword forces the parser down a single unique path, avoiding missing features between common paths. This also allows us to expect a particular set of tokens and throw syntax errors with more information on them:

 throw new Error(`Invalid parse state! Expected a value but got: '${keys[0]}' from chain: [${keys}]. Allowed construct 'woof [<name> be] <value | <SUCH> | <MUCH> >'`);

While we can’t, currently today, express:

rly plz foo

The refactoring and re-organizing of the parser will make it easier to support any expression (regardless of validity) by consuming the rly token and then treating everything in between as a new expression. We can already do plz foo so it’s just a matter of combining the two pieces!


Notable features and enhancements include:

What we’ll focus on

Parser Work

Our biggest focus is recursive parsing, the parser partially handles this by re-creating the input and calling parse again, but a better approach would be to just consume the already parsed keys and support calling that from wherever applicable.

With a recursive approach, we’ll break down the construct:

rly plz foo

Into a path that sort of handles things like this:

  • rly -> if ( ${expr} )
    • plz foo -> foo()

This recursive-ness will introduce some challenges since the current handling of plz foo returns foo(); (terminating the expression).

Additionally, we wish to be able to also write:

rly plz foo bigger random dose nextInt

Which introduces ambiguity and parse errors since we consider plz to appear in the following forms:

plz foo
plz foo with [args]

While we currently can control whether plz foo produces foo() or foo();, via &, we’d like to introduce a new keyword thx to make things a bit more apparent (like one would expect a ) closing the arguments to a function):

rly plz foo thx bigger random dose nextInt
rly plz foo with args thx bigger random dose nextInt

The focus on recursiveness will also let us write the following expression in a single line:


Currently, this is the way you’d produce this in dogescript

plz foo&
dose bar

But we’d like to be able to support either

plz foo& dose bar
plz foo thx dose bar


A set of possible enhancements we’re looking at tackling include:

Looking far far ahead

A prototype of a potential 3.0 parser is underway as well, which has revealed a couple of issues and ambiguities already. One of the objectives of dogescript-2.4.x is the ability to build dogescript-3.0 in dogescript (even if the state of the dogescript-3.0 parser/lexer isn’t perfect).

Published: January 05 2019

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