language-asn1: Parsing of ASN1 definitions

[ bsd3, language, library, program ] [ Propose Tags ]

Language.ASN1 is a haskell library for the analysis of ASN.1 code. It features an almost-complete, somewhat tested parser for large subset of X.680-0207 -- X.683-0207 standards

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Versions [RSS] 0.0.1, 0.2, 0.2.1, 0.5, 0.6
Dependencies base (>=3 && <5), language-asn1, parsec (>=3.0.0), syb [details]
License BSD-3-Clause
Author Dmitry Astapov <>
Maintainer Dmitry Astapov <>
Category Language
Home page
Uploaded by DmitryAstapov at 2020-06-14T23:13:38Z
Distributions NixOS:0.6
Reverse Dependencies 1 direct, 0 indirect [details]
Executables dump-asn1-ast
Downloads 3244 total (3 in the last 30 days)
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Status Docs available [build log]
Last success reported on 2020-06-14 [all 1 reports]

Readme for language-asn1-0.6

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ASN.1 definitions parser for Haskell.

Should cover a pretty large subset of standards ITU-T Rec. X.680 -- X.683 | ISO/IEC 8824-1 -- 8824-4

This is unfinished work, so beware - there be dragons!

Test code could be run like this:

TestASN1Parser LDAP.asn1

Configure with -ftest to build and install test suite (with code coverage analysis)

Implementation status

X.680-0207: DONE, medium test coverage. Restricted character strings are done sloppily X.681-0207: DONE, poor test coverage. "WITH SYNTAX" is not implemented. X.682-0207: partially done, completeness not evaluated X.683-0207: partially done, completeness not evaluated Tests: partially done, see comments in Testsuite.hs for status Test code coverage: 88% expressions used (4682/5279) 60% boolean coverage (3/5) 60% guards (3/5), 2 always True 100% 'if' conditions (0/0) 100% qualifiers (0/0) 42% alternatives used (29/68) 33% local declarations used (32/96) 28% top-level declarations used (271/958)

Parser uses information about types when it is immediately available. For example, when parsing value assignments ("var SomeType ::= val"), parser will accept only valid values of type "SomeType". Such type-dependency is also used when parsing "DEFAULT value" constructs and constraints.

Other than that, parser performs no validation/semantical analysis:

  • Values of enumerated/choice/sequences are not checked against respective types.
  • References to types are not followed to find out the real type
  • Associates sequence types of REAL, EMBEDDED-PDV and others are not taken into account
  • Type constraints are not taken into account when parsing values

In cases when no typing context is available, some values could not be definitively attributed to particular type. In this case, parser will produce so-called ambiguous values:

  • SomeNumber Double -- for values that could be either Integer or Real
  • SomeNamedValueList ComponentValueList -- for SequenceRealValue, SequenceValue, SequenceOfValue (named values), SetValue, SetOfValue (named values)
  • SomeValueList [Value] -- for IdentifierListBitString, SequenceOfValue (values only), SetOfValue (values only)
  • SomeIdentifiedValue Identifier -- for Integer or Enumerated
  • SomeOIDLikeValue OID -- for OID or RELATIVE-OID

Even when module does not import external types, those values are not resolved to their more definitive forms. In order to do so, one would have to do a multi-pass parsing, or move to GLR parsing with happy or uu-parsinglib suite (this is actually under consideration).

Implementation notes

There are 24 ASN.1 types (BuiltinType + ReferencedType in X.680 terminology), represented by the "BuiltinType" Haskell datatype.

Some of the ASN1 types have several distinct variants, which is why "BuiltinType" has more than 24 constructors.

Parsing of the ASN1 type declaration is handled by the parser "theType".

For each type there is a single value parser, used in contexts when type information is easily available -- for example, when parsing right side of ValueAssignment one should use parser for values of the type of the left-hand side (see "valueOfType").

X.68[0-4] have several places that go like this "here is non-terminal with several alternatives. However, alternatives 1 and 4 are only applicable when ..., and alternatives 2 and 3 - when ..., otherwise, alternatives 5 and 6 are used". All those places have to be re-checked with care because I am not 100% sure that I have not missed one of those.

Somethimes, I decided to postpone implementation of such complex rules. Those places are marker in source code as TODO.

All major TODOs are marked with "TODO" in source code.