Skip to main content

parse() is the opposite of format()

Project description

Parse strings using a specification based on the Python format() syntax.

parse() is the opposite of format()

Basic usage:

>>> from parse import *            # only exports parse() and compile()
>>> parse("It's {}, I love it!", "It's spam, I love it!")
<Result ('spam',) {}>
>>> p = compile("It's {}, I love it!")
>>> print p
<Parser "It's {}, I love it!">
>>> p.parse("It's spam, I love it!")
<Result ('spam',) {}>

Format Syntax

A basic version of the Format String Syntax is supported with anonymous (fixed-position), named and formatted fields:

{[field name]:[format spec]}

Field names must be a single Python identifier word. No attributes or element indexes are supported (as they would make no sense.)

Numbered fields are also not supported: the result of parsing will include the parsed fields in the order they are parsed.

The conversion of fields to types other than strings is done based on the type in the format specification, which mirrors the format() behaviour. There are no “!” field conversions like format() has.

Some simple parse() format string examples:

>>> parse("Bring me a {}", "Bring me a shrubbery")
<Result ('shrubbery',) {}>
>>> r = parse("The {} who say {}", "The knights who say Ni!")
>>> print r
<Result ('knights', 'Ni!') {}>
>>> print r.fixed
('knights', 'Ni!')
>>> r = parse("Bring out the holy {item}", "Bring out the holy hand grenade")
>>> print r
<Result () {'item': 'hand grenade'}>
>>> print r.named
{'item': 'hand grenade'}

Format Specification

Do remember that most often a straight format-less {} will suffice where a more complex format specification might have been used.

Most of the Format Specification Mini-Language is supported:


The align operators will cause spaces (or specified fill character) to be stripped from the value.

The types supported are a slightly different mix to the format() types. Some format() types come directly over: d, n, f, b, o, h, x and X. In addition some regular expression character group types D, w, W, s and S are also available.

The format() types %, F, e, E, g and G are not yet supported.

Type Characters Matched Output
w Letters and underscore str
W Non-letter and underscore str
s Whitespace str
S Non-whitespace str
d Digits (effectively integer numbers) int
D Non-digit str
n Numbers with thousands separators (, or .) int
f Fixed-point numbers float
b Binary numbers int
o Octal numbers int
h Hexadecimal numbers (lower and upper case) int
x Lower-case hexadecimal numbers int
X Upper-case hexadecimal numbers int
ti ISO 8601 format date/time e.g. 1972-01-20T10:21:36Z datetime
te RFC2822 e-mail format date/time e.g. Mon, 20 Jan 1972 10:21:36 +1000 datetime
tg Global (day/month) format date/time e.g. 20/1/1972 10:21:36 AM +1:00 datetime
ta US (month/day) format date/time e.g. 1/20/1972 10:21:36 PM +10:30 datetime
tc ctime() format date/time e.g. Sun Sep 16 01:03:52 1973 datetime
th HTTP log format date/time e.g. 21/Nov/2011:00:07:11 +0000 datetime
tt Time e.g. 10:21:36 PM -5:30 time

So, for example, some typed parsing, and None resulting if the typing does not match:

>>> parse('Our {:d} {:w} are...', 'Our 3 weapons are...')
<Result (3, 'weapons') {}>
>>> parse('Our {:d} {:w} are...', 'Our three weapons are...')

And messing about with alignment:

>>> parse('with {:>} herring', 'with     a herring')
<Result ('a',) {}>
>>> parse('spam {:^} spam', 'spam    lovely     spam')
<Result ('lovely',) {}>

Note that the “center” alignment does not test to make sure the value is actually centered. It just strips leading and trailing whitespace.

See also the unit tests at the end of the module for some more examples. Run the tests with “python -m parse”.

Some notes for the date and time types:

  • the presence of the time part is optional (including ISO 8601, starting at the “T”). A full datetime object will always be returned; the time will be set to 00:00:00.
  • except in ISO 8601 the day and month digits may be 0-padded
  • the separator for the ta and tg formats may be “-” or “/”
  • as per RFC 2822 the e-mail format may omit the day (and comma), and the seconds but nothing else
  • hours greater than 12 will be happily accepted
  • the AM/PM are optional, and if PM is found then 12 hours will be added to the datetime object’s hours amount - even if the hour is greater than 12 (for consistency.)
  • except in ISO 8601 and e-mail format the timezone is optional
  • when a seconds amount is present in the input fractions will be parsed
  • named timezones are not yet supported

Version history (in brief):

  • 1.1.4 fixes to some int type conversion; implemented “=” alignment; added date/time parsing with a variety of formats handled.
  • 1.1.3 type conversion is automatic based on specified field types. Also added “f” and “n” types.
  • 1.1.2 refactored, added compile() and limited from parse import *
  • 1.1.1 documentation improvements
  • 1.1.0 implemented more of the Format Specification Mini-Language and removed the restriction on mixing fixed-position and named fields
  • 1.0.0 initial release

This code is copyright 2011 Inc ( See the end of the source file for the license of use.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Files for parse, version 1.1.4
Filename, size File type Python version Upload date Hashes
Filename, size parse-1.1.4.tar.gz (12.3 kB) File type Source Python version None Upload date Hashes View

Supported by

Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Google Google Object Storage and Download Analytics Sentry Sentry Error logging AWS AWS Cloud computing DataDog DataDog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate StatusPage StatusPage Status page