3. Frequently Asked Questions

3.1. Spicy Language

Are Spicy’s global variables really global?

Indeed, they are. Changes to global variables become visible to all Spicy code; their values are not associated with specific connections or other dynamic state. If they are public, they can even be accessed from other, unrelated modules as well. This all means that globals often won’t be the right tool for the job; it’s rare that a parser needs truly global state. Take a look at Contexts for a different mechanism tying state to the current connection, which is a much more common requirement.

What do the numbers in foo.spicy:37:1 or foo.spicy:37:1-42:19 in messages mean?

These are source locations or source ranges. You might encounter them in e.g., error messages from the Spicy compiler or in errors when parsing fails.

In this case foo.spicy:37:1 is a source location, in particular it refers to line 37, character 1 in the file foo.spicy; foo.spicy:37:1-42:19 is a source range in the file foo.spicy starting in line 37, character 1 and ending in line 42, character 19 in the same file.

3.2. Toolchain

Is there a way to speed up compilation of Spicy code?

Depending on the complexity of the Spicy code, processing through spicyc/spicyz/spicy-driver may take a bit. The bulk of the time time tends to be spent on compiling the generated C++ code; often about 80-90%. Make sure to run spicy-precompile-headers to speed that up a little. During development of new parsers, it also helps quite a bit to build non-optimized debug versions by adding --debug to the command-line.

If you want to see a break-down of where Spicy spends its time, run the tools with --report-times. (In the output at the end, jit refers to compiling generated C++ code).

3.3. Zeek

See Zeek’s Spicy FAQ devel/spicy/faq.html.