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Yichun Zhang (章亦春) > PerlMaple > PerlMaple::Expression



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Module Version: 0.07   Source  


PerlMaple::Expression - Perl AST for arbitrary Maple expressions


This document describes PerlMaple::Expression 0.07 released on Nov 20, 2009.


    use PerlMaple::Expression;

    $expr = PerlMaple::Expression->new('x^3+2*x-1');
    print $expr->expr;  # got: x^3+2*x-1
    print $expr;        # ditto
    print $expr->type;  # got: `+`

    # illustrate more overloaded operators:
    print $expr eq 'x^3+2*x-1';  # true
    print $expr eq 'x^3 + 2*x - 1'; # false

    @objs = $expr->ops;
    @exps = map { $_->expr } @objs;
    print "@exps";    # got: x^3 2*x -1

    # $objs[0] is another PerlMaple::Expression obj
    #    corresponding to 'x^3':
    print $objs[0]->type;  # got: `^`
    @exps = map { $_->expr } $objs[0]->ops;
    # exactly the same thing:
    @exps = map { "$_" } $objs[0]->ops;
    print "@exps";    # got: x 3

    # $objs[1] is yet another PerlMaple::Expression obj
    #    corresponding to '2*x':
    print $objs[1]->type;  # got: `*`
    @exps = map { $_->expr } $objs[1]->ops;
    print "@exps";    # got: 2 x

    # You can also get a PerlMaple::Expression obj via
    $maple = PerlMaple->new;
    $ast = $maple->to_ast('3.5');
    print $maple->floor($ast);  # 3
    print int($ast)+3;          # 6
    print $ast == 3.5;          # true
    print $ast > 3.6;           # false


This class represents an Abstract Syntactic Tree (AST) for any Maple expressions. It provides several very useful methods and attributes to manipulate Maple expressions effectively and cleanly.

Hey, there's no parser written in Perl! It uses Maple's functions to import the ASTs. For example, functions like whattype, nops, and op. So, don't worry for the sanity of this library.


For convenience, PerlMaple::Expression overloads the following operators:

    ""      - stringify operator by calling ->expr automatically
    +0      - numeric conversion

Other operators will "fall back" to these two. In other words, operations, like +, -, *, /, eq, cmp, <, >, etc., will be auto-generated by Perl.

So you can happily feed your PerlMaple::Expression objects to PerlMaple's ->eval_cmd or any AUTOLOADed methods:

    $maple = PerlMaple->new;
    $exp = PerlMaple::Expression->new('3.5');
    print $maple->ceil($exp);  # got 4
    print $maple->floor($exp);  # got 3

and perform operations as if it's a simple Perl scalar:

    $ast = PerlMaple::Expression->new('3.5');
    print $ast->expr;           # 3.5
    print $ast =~ /5/;          # true
    print $maple->floor($ast);  # 3
    print int($ast)+3;          # 6
    print $ast == 3.5;          # true
    print $ast > 3.6;           # false

AUTOLOADed Methods

PerlMaple::Expression objects also AUTOLOAD Maple internal functions just as PerlMaple instances do. So now we can happily write:

    $expr = PerlMaple::Expression->new( '(3+n)*(n^2+1)' );
    print $expr->expand->testeq('3*n^2+3+n^3+n');   # get: true
    print $expr->eval('n=1');  # get: 8

It's really a win in syntax!

Furthermore, PerlMaple::Expression also exposes the following "inherent" methods:

$obj->new($expr, $verified)

This is the constructor of the PerlMaple::Expression class. The first argument $expr is any Maple expression (not Maple statements though) from which the AST is constructed. The second argument $verified is optional. When it's set true, the expression will skip validity check in Maple's engine, otherwise the first argument will be evaluated by Maple to verify its sanity. If the second argument is absent, it is implied to be false. That's to say, verification will be performed by default.

Note that since version 0.04, this constructor has become quite "lazy". It only (partially) build the root of the AST during initialization. The construction of the child objects and also other pieces for the root will be delayed until the user actually asks for them (e.g. when user calls the ops method). This approach significantly improves performance since most users seldom require a whole AST for their Maple expression in practice. That is to say, constructing a PerlMaple::Expression object is not *that* expensive comparing to earlier versions of this module.


Returns the expression corresponding to the current PerlMaple::Expression object. Note that the string returned may be different from the one passed to the constructor. Because it will be evaluated in Maple to check the validity. Hence, the following tests will pass:

    $ast = PerlMaple::Expression->new('2,        3,4');
    is $ast->expr, '2, 3, 4';

However, when you pass a true value as the second argument to the constructor, the validity check will be skipped:

    $ast = PerlMaple::Expression->new('2,        3,4', 1);
    is $ast->expr, '2,        3,4';

Get the type of the current Maple expression via Maple's whattype function. It is worth mentioning that the type of the expression is evaluated when the object is constructing, so there's no extra cost to invoke this method repeatedly.


Test whether the current Maple expression is of the specified type. Note that this method calls Maple's type function to test the type equality. So the following tests will happily pass:

    $ast = PerlMaple::Expression->new('3.5');
    ok $ast->type($ast, 'numeric');
    ok $ast->type($ast, 'type');

When the expression is of type 'exprseq', this method won't use Maple's type function since it will croak on expression sequences. Instead, the ->type method will return true if and only if the given type is exactly the same as 'exprseq'.


In list context, the ops method returns the list of operands of the current Maple expression. Every element of the resulting list is still a PerlMaple::Expression object.

Observe the following code:

    $ast = PerlMaple::Expression->new('[1,2,3]');
    @ops = $ast->ops;  # a list of PerlMaple::Expression instances
    @elems = map { $_->expr } @ops;  # we get a list of integers (1, 2, and 3)
    # or equivalently:
    @elems = map { "$_" } @ops;

We see, the array @ops will contain three PerlMaple::Expression objects corresponding to Maple expressions '1', '2', and '3', respectively. Therefore, the following tests will pass:

    is $ops[0]->type, 'integer';
    is $ops[1]->type, 'integer';
    is $ops[2]->type, 'integer';

Internally, ops method calls Maple's op function to get the operands. For atomic expressions, such as integers and symbols, ops will simply return the expr itself.

When used in scalar context, this method will simply return the number of operands, calculated by Maple's nops function internally.


Returns the number of elements which ops method may return. Note that this method calculates the result by calling Maple's `nops' function, without actually counting the elements itself. Therefore, it's very efficient.

This method also overrides Maple's nops function's odd behavior by allowing 'exprseq' typed objects to return meaningful results.



The following methods are supposed to be used internally only and are very likely to change in the future. You should skip this section completely unless you're interested in this module's implementation.


If and only if the user asks for type and the `type' field has not yet initialized, this method will be invoked automatically by the type method to evaluate the expression object's `type', and the result will be saved into the `type' field for future uses.


If and only if the user asks for ops and the `ops' field hasn't initialized, this method will be invoked automaticaly by the ops method to evaluate the expression object's `ops', and the result will be saved into the `ops' field for future fetches.


See PerlMaple for details.




Agent Zhang, <>



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