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Syntax

The syntax is inspired on RuboCop Node Pattern.

You can find a great tutorial about RuboCop node pattern in the official documentation.

Code example

Let's consider the following example.rb code example:

class Example
  ANSWER = 42
  def magic
    rand(ANSWER)
  end
  def duplicate(value)
    value * 2
  end
end

Looking the AST representation we have:

$ ruby-parse example.rb
(class
  (const nil :Example) nil
  (begin
    (casgn nil :ANSWER
      (int 42))
    (def :magic
      (args)
      (send nil :rand
        (const nil :ANSWER)))
    (def :duplicate
      (args
        (arg :value))
      (send
        (lvar :value) :*
        (int 2)))))

Now, let's explore all details of the current AST, combining with the syntax operators.

Fast works with a single word that will be the node type.

A simple search of def nodes can be done and will also print the code.

$ fast def example.rb
# example.rb:3
  def magic
    rand(ANSWER)
  end

or check the casgn that will show constant assignments:

$ fast casgn example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42

To specify details about a node, the ( means navigate deeply into a node and go deep into the expression.

$ fast '(casgn' example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42

Fast matcher never checks the end of the expression and close parens are not necessary. We keep them for the sake of specify more node details but the expression works with incomplete parens.

$ fast '(casgn)' example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42

Closing extra params also don't have a side effect.

$ fast '(casgn))' example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42

It also automatically flat parens case you put more levels in the beginning.

$ fast '((casgn))' example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42

For checking AST details while doing some search, you can use --ast in the command line for printing the AST instead of the code:

$ fast '((casgn ' example.rb --ast
# example.rb:2
(casgn nil :ANSWER
  (int 42))

_ is something not nil

Let's enhance our current expression and specify that we're looking for constant assignments of integers ignoring values and constant names replacing with _.

$ fast '(casgn nil _ (int _))' example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42

Keep in mind that _ means not nil and (casgn _ _ (int _)) would not match.

Let's search for integer nodes:

$ fast int example.rb
# example.rb:2
42
# example.rb:7
2

The current search show the nodes but they are not so useful without understand the expression in their context. We need to check their parent.

^ is to get the parent node of an expression

By default, Parser::AST::Node does not have access to parent and for accessing it you can say ^ for reaching the parent.

$ fast '^int' example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42
# example.rb:7
value * 2

And using it multiple times will make the node match from levels up:

$ fast '^^int' example.rb
# example.rb:2
ANSWER = 42
  def magic
    rand(ANSWER)
  end
  def duplicate(value)
    value * 2
  end

[] join conditions

Let's hunt for integer nodes that the parent is also a method:

$ fast '[ ^^int def ]' example.rb

The match will filter only nodes that matches all internal expressions.

# example.rb:6
def duplicate(value)
    value * 2
  end

The expression is matching nodes that have a integer granchild and also with type def.

... is a node with children

Looking the method representation we have:

$ fast def example.rb --ast
# example.rb:3
(def :magic
  (args)
  (send nil :rand
    (const nil :ANSWER)))
# example.rb:6
(def :duplicate
  (args
    (arg :value))
  (send
    (lvar :value) :*
    (int 2)))

And if we want to delimit only methods with arguments:

$ fast '(def _ ...)' example.rb
# example.rb:6
def duplicate(value)
    value * 2
  end

If we use (def _ _) instead it will match both methods because (args) does not have children but is not nil.

$ is for capture current expression

Now, let's say we want to extract some method name from current classes.

In such case we don't want to have the node definition but only return the node name.

# example.rb:2
def magic
    rand(ANSWER)
  end
# example.rb:
magic
# example.rb:9
def duplicate(value)
    value * 2
  end
# example.rb:
duplicate

One extra method name was printed because of $ is capturing the element.

Let's use the --pry for inspecting the results.

$ fast '(def $_)' example.rb --pry

It will open pry with access to result as the first result and results with all matching results.

From: /Users/jonatasdp/.rbenv/versions/2.5.1/lib/ruby/gems/2.5.0/gems/ffast-0.0.2/bin/fast @ line 60 :

    55:
    56:   results.each do |result|
    57:     next if result.nil? || result == []
    58:     if pry
    59:       require 'pry'
 => 60:       binding.pry # rubocop:disable Lint/Debugger
    61:     else
    62:       Fast.report(result, file: file, show_sexp: show_sexp)
    63:     end
    64:   end
    65: end

Inspecting the results you can see that they are mixing AST nodes and the captures.

[1] pry(main)> results
=> [s(:def, :magic,
  s(:args),
  s(:send, nil, :rand,
    s(:const, nil, :ANSWER))),
 :magic,
 s(:def, :duplicate,
  s(:args,
    s(:arg, :value)),
  s(:send,
    s(:lvar, :value), :*,
    s(:int, 2))),
 :duplicate]

We can filter the captures to make it easy to analyze.

[2] pry(main)> results.grep(Symbol)
=> [:magic, :duplicate]

nil matches exactly nil

Nil is used in the code as a node type but parser gem also represents empty spaces in expressions with nil.

Example, a method call from Kernel is a send from nil calling the method while I can also send a method call from a class.

$ ruby-parse -e 'method'
(send nil :method)

And a method from a object will have the nested target not nil.

$ ruby-parse -e 'object.method'
(send
  (send nil :object) :method)

Let's build a serch for any calls from nil:

$ fast '(_ nil _)' example.rb
# example.rb:3
Example
# example.rb:4
ANSWER = 42
# example.rb:6
rand(ANSWER)

Double check the expressions that have matched printing the AST:

$ fast '(_ nil _)' example.rb --ast
# example.rb:3
(const nil :Example)
# example.rb:4
(casgn nil :ANSWER
  (int 42))
# example.rb:6
(send nil :rand
  (const nil :ANSWER))

{} is for any matches like union conditions with or operator

Let's say we to add check all occurrencies of the constant ANSWER.

We'll need to get both casgn and const node types. For such cases we can surround the expressions with {} and it will return if the node matches with any of the internal expressions.

$ fast '({casgn const} nil ANSWER)' example.rb
# example.rb:4
ANSWER = 42
# example.rb:6
ANSWER

Calling Custom Methods

Custom methods can let you into ruby doman for more complicated rules. Let's say we're looking for duplicated methods in the same class. We need to collect method names and guarantee they are unique.

def duplicated(method_name)
  @methods ||= []
  already_exists = @methods.include?(method_name)
  @methods << method_name
  already_exists
end

puts Fast.search_file( '(def #duplicated)', 'example.rb')

The same principle can be used in the node level or for debugging purposes.

require 'pry'
def debug(node)
  binding.pry
end

puts Fast.search_file('#debug', 'example.rb')

If you want to get only def nodes you can also intersect expressions with []:

puts Fast.search_file('[ def #debug ]', 'example.rb')

Or if you want to debug a very specific expression you can use () to specify more details of the node

puts Fast.search_file('[ (def a) #debug ]', 'example.rb')