ReInventing Pattern Matching for Python

If you are a fan of PEP 622, you can leave the page now.

As we all know that, PEP 622 has introduced the so-called “Structural Pattern Matching”, and not surprisingly, they messed up scoping again.


Recently while doing some of my personal stuffs, I found that some little pattern matching could help a lot, and didn’t want to swallow the sh*t of Mr. BDFL.

Coincidentally, I’ve just finished reading the paper Compiling Pattern Matching by Lennart Augustsson (which is a quite interesting paper that one can enojoy for a weekend), then my fingers were whispering to me again: “Bloody hell, you gotta re-invent this wheel”.


As what I’ve done before: EDSL in Python, with some little help of fpy, my little new toy Pyttern took its form.

Now behold some magic:

from pyttern.pyttern import pyttern
from fpy.composable.collections import transN, apply
from import Left, Right, isRight, fromLeft

inc = lambda x: (x + 1) % 256
end = lambda x: len(x) - 1

def interp(f, r, t, p, o): {
    ('<', _r, _t, 0, _o)        : Right((_r[0], _r[1:], [0] + _t, 0, _o)),
    ('<', _r, _t, _p, _o)       : Right((_r[0], _r[1:], _t, _p - 1, _o)),
    ('>', _r, _t, end(t), _o)   : Right((_r[0], _r[1:], _t + [0], p + 1, _o)),
    ('>', _r, _t, _p, _o)       : Right((_r[0], _r[1:], _t, _p + 1, _o)),
    ('+', _r, _t, _p, _o)       : Right((_r[0], _r[1:], transN(_p, inc, _t), _p, _o)),
    ('*', _r, _t, _p, _o)       : Right((_r[0], _r[1:], _t, _p, _o + chr(_t[_p]))),
    ('*', (), _t, _p, _o)       : Left(_o + chr(_t[_p])),
    (_f, (), _t, _p, _o)        : Left(_o),
    _                           : Left(None)

def tick(inp):
    if not inp:
        return ''
    nxt = interp(inp[0], inp[1:], [0], 0, '')
    while isRight(nxt):
        nxt = nxt >> apply(interp)
    return fromLeft("", nxt)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    # Hello World Taken from CodeWars
    test = '++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*>+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++**>+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*>+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*<<*>>>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*<<<<*>>>>>++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*>+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++*'


As usual, there are some bytecode hack happening within that pyttern decorator, to simplify, this decorator accepts a function that has nothing but a dict as its body.

Then it and transforms dict values into a lambda expression which takes the bound pattern variables as arguments, and return the value.

After this, the keys are used as patterns, for example:

  (1, 2, 3): 100

will be turned into:

  1: {
    2: {
      3: 100

For the detailed solution, please refer to Augustsson’s paper.

What’s Next

  • Guards
  • Conditions
  • You tell me

Why Pyttern?

From where I was born, the Chinglish accent doesn’t distinguish /a/ and /ʌɪ/, therefore the word “pattern” could be pronunced like “pyttern”.