Kleene Star

There is one more method we need to implement to have a usable parser combinator library: the Kleene star. The what?!? Ok, like most things we've seen it's a complex name for a simple idea: a method that repeats a parser zero or more times.

We've seen how to write a parser that parses a single digit.

val digit: Parser[Int] = 
  List(0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
    .fold(Parser.fail[String]){ (accum, digit) =>

A number is one or more digits. We don't currently have any way to write this. The Kleene star allows us to do this. With the Kleene star we can write

val number: Parser[Int] = digit.and(digit.repeat)

The keen-eyed readers will have noticed I've used two new methods here: and and repeat. So what's going on here? Here's the lowdown:

  1. and is the other monoid operation we discussed earlier, that combines two parsers; and
  2. repeat is the Kleene star, that repeats a parser zero or more times.

If you think about it, you'll see that the Kleene star is a generalization of and.

The rules for and are:

For repeat, the Kleene star, the rules are:

Go ahead and implement these methods, and tests for them.