One very common parsing operation is to collect all consecutive characters that meet some condition. For example, the parser below collects all consecutive digits, and can be used to parse integers.

val digit: Parser[Char] =
  Parser.charIn('0', '1', '2', '3', '4', '5', '6', '7', '8', '9')

val number: Parser[String] =

I decided to start benchmarking with this common case. I created four benchmarks, which you can find in benchmarks/src/main/scala/RepeatBenchmark.scala:

  1. numberParser measures the baseline performance of the parser combinator library;
  2. numberPatternLoop measures the same algorithm written without the parser combinator framework, giving an idea of the overhead the combinator library adds;
  3. numberCharacterClassLoop replaces the explicit conditional with a call to the isDigit method on Char; and
  4. numberPatternStringBuilderLoop measures the effect of using a StringBuilder instead of concatenating Strings in numberPatternLoop

You can run the benchmarks using the following sbt commands:

The benchmarks will take a few minutes to run, which is good for getting accurate results but not for quick iteration when developing optimizations. The command Jmh / run -h will output the many arguments you can pass to JMH to change how it runs the benchmarks. Using Jmh / run -i 1 -wi 1 -f 1 will run many fewer iterations, giving results in a few seconds at the risk of more inaccuracy in measurements. In my testing this was accurate enough for the large performance gain we're looking for here, though I did verify the results with a longer run once I'd finished an optimization.

Results from my initial benchmark run are below. Larger numbers are better and I've ordered the results from slowest to fastest. The absolute values don't matter; what is important is the relative differences in performance.

We can see:

[info] Benchmark                                        Mode  Cnt        Score        Error  Units
[info] RepeatBenchmark.numberParser                    thrpt   25   181950.007 ±   1698.243  ops/s
[info] RepeatBenchmark.numberPatternLoop               thrpt   25  2583254.936 ± 285273.465  ops/s
[info] RepeatBenchmark.numberCharacterClassLoop        thrpt   25  3278595.556 ±  21373.975  ops/s
[info] RepeatBenchmark.numberPatternStringBuilderLoop  thrpt   25  6619869.553 ±  54507.164  ops/s

We can use these findings to inform API design and internal optimizations.

Designing for Performance→