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Tina Müller
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YAML Parser and Loader


WARNING: This is highly experimental.

Here are a few examples of what you can do right now:

    # Load YAML into a very simple data structure
    yaml-pp-p5-load < file.yaml

    # The loader offers JSON::PP, boolean.pm or pureperl 1/0 (default)
    # for booleans
    my $ypp = YAML::PP::Loader->new(boolean => 'JSON::PP');
    my ($data1, $data2) = $ypp->Load($yaml);

    # Print the events from the parser in yaml-test-suite format
    yaml-pp-p5-events < file.yaml


This is Yet Another YAML Parser. For why this project was started, see "WHY".

This project contains a Parser YAML::PP::Parser and a Loader YAML::PP::Loader.


The parser aims to parse YAML 1.2.

Still TODO:

Flow Style

Flow style is not implemented yet, you will get an appropriate error message.

Supported Characters

The regexes are not complete. It will not accept characters that should be valid, and it will accept characters that should be invalid.

Directive Handling

Only %TAG ... and %YAML 1.2 are parsed as directives. Anything else is parsed as content.

Line Numbers

The parser currently doesn't keep track of the line numbers, so the error messages might not be very useful yet

Error Messages

The error messages in general aren't often very informative


I would like to support a lexer that can be used for highlighting.


Only integers are supported so far.

Possibly more


The loader is very simple so far.

It supports:

Simple handling of Anchors/Aliases

Like in modules like YAML, the Loader will use references for mappings and sequences, but obviously not for scalars.

Boolean Handling

You can choose between 'perl' (default), 'JSON::PP' and 'boolean'.pm for handling boolean types. That allows you to dump the data structure with one of the JSON modules without losing information about booleans.

I also would like to add the possibility to specify a callback for your own boolean handling.


Numbers are created as real numbers instead of strings, so that they are dumped correctly by modules like JSON::XS, for example.

See "NUMBERS" for an example.


Complex Keys

Mapping Keys in YAML can be more than just scalars. Of course, you can't load that into a native perl structure. The Loader will not handle this at the moment. I would like to stringify the complex key and possibly offer to specify a method for stringification.


Tags are completely ignored.

Parse Tree

I would like to generate a complete parse tree, that allows you to manipulate the data structure and also dump it, including all whitespaces and comments. The spec says that this is throwaway content, but I read that many people wish to be able to keep the comments.


Compare the output of the following YAML Loaders and JSON::XS dump:

    use JSON::XS;
    use Devel::Peek;

    use YAML::XS ();

    use YAML ();
    $YAML::Numify = 1; # since version 1.23

    use YAML::Syck ();

    use YAML::PP::Loader;

    my $yaml = "foo: 23\n";

    my $d1 = YAML::XS::Load($yaml);
    my $d2 = YAML::Load($yaml);
    my $d3 = YAML::Syck::Load($yaml);
    my $d4 = YAML::PP::Loader->new->Load($yaml);

    Dump $d1->{foo};
    Dump $d2->{foo};
    Dump $d3->{foo};
    Dump $d4->{foo};

    say encode_json($d1);
    say encode_json($d2);
    say encode_json($d3);
    say encode_json($d4);

    SV = PVIV(0x564f09465c00) at 0x564f09460780
      REFCNT = 1
      IV = 23
      PV = 0x564f0945a600 "23"\0
      CUR = 2
      LEN = 10

    SV = PVMG(0x5654d491dd80) at 0x5654d4aca4c8
      REFCNT = 1
      FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
      IV = 23
      NV = 0
      PV = 0

    SV = PV(0x564f09d45690) at 0x564f09d46b50
      REFCNT = 1
      FLAGS = (POK,pPOK)
      PV = 0x564f09cd1200 "23"\0
      CUR = 2
      LEN = 10

    SV = PVMG(0x564f09b5cbc0) at 0x564f09d473c0
      REFCNT = 1
      FLAGS = (IOK,pIOK)
      IV = 23
      NV = 0
      PV = 0



In 2016 two really cool projects were started by Ingy döt Net.


One is the yaml-test-suite: https://github.com/yaml/yaml-test-suite

It contains about 160 test cases and expected parsing events and more. There will be more tests coming. This test suite allows to write parsers without turning the examples from the Specification into tests yourself. Also the examples aren't completely covering all cases - the test suite aims to do that.

The suite contains .tml files, and in a seperate 'data' branch you will find the content in seperate files, if you can't or don't want to use TestML.

Thanks also to Felix Krause, who is writing a YAML parser in Nim. He turned all the spec examples into test cases.

As of this writing, the test suite only contains valid examples. Invalid ones are on our TODO list.


The second project is a tool to play around with several YAML parsers and loaders in vim.


The project contains the code to build the frameworks (16 as of this writing) and put it into one big Docker image.

It also contains the yaml-editor itself, which will start a vim in the docker container, with some useful mappings. You can choose which frameworks you want to test and see the output in a grid of vim windows.

Especially when writing a parser it is extremely helpful to have all the test cases and be able to play around with your own examples to see how they are handled.


I was curious to see how the different frameworks handle the test cases, so, using the test suite and the docker image, I wrote some code that runs the tests, manipulates the output to compare it with the expected output, and created a matrix view.


You can find the latest build at http://matrix.yaml.io


Copyright 2017 by Tina Müller

This library is free software and may be distributed under the same terms as perl itself.