Sparse is a simple parser-combinator library written in Swift.

✂️ Sparse ✂️

Version License Swift

Sparse is a simple parsing library, written in Swift. It is based on the parser-combinator approach used by Haskell's Parsec. Its focus is on natural language parser creation and descriptive error messages.


Here is a CSV parser:

let quote = character("\"")

let illegalCellCharacters = CharacterSet.newlines.union(CharacterSet(charactersIn: ","))
let unquotedCellCharacter = characterNot(in: illegalCellCharacters)
    .named("cell character")
let unquotedCell = many(unquotedCellCharacter).asString()
    .map { $0.trimmingCharacters(in: .whitespaces) }

let escapedQuote = quote.skipThen(quote)
    .named("escaped quote")
let quotedCellCharacter = characterNot("\"")
    .named("quoted cell character")

let quotedCell = many(quotedCellCharacter, boundedBy: quote).asString()

let cell = quotedCell.otherwise(unquotedCell)

let cellSeparator = whitespaces().then(character(",")).then(whitespaces())
    .named("cell separator")
let line = many(cell, separator: cellSeparator)

let ending = optional(newline()).then(end())
let csv = many(line, separator: newline()).thenSkip(ending)

public func parseCSV(input: String) throws -> [[String]] {
    return try csv.parse(input)

Naming the component parsers allows for more descriptive error messages, e.g.:

Line 8, Column 12
r8c1 , "r8"c2" , r8c3 ,r8c4,r8c5,r8c6,r8c7 , r8c8
Expected: '"' in escaped quote
Expected: whitespace in cell separator
Expected: ',' in cell separator
Expected: newline
Expected: EOF: file


Swift Package Manager

Add Sparse as a dependency in Package.swift:

.package(url: "", from: "0.3.0"),


Add the following line to your Podfile:

pod "Sparse"


Sparse is based on Haskell's Parsec.


Sparse is available under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more info.


  • Swift Tools 5.1.0
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Last updated: Tue Mar 14 2023 16:20:27 GMT-0500 (GMT-05:00)