How many pings were dropped?

How bad my wifi is ?

I moved to London, and in the process, experienced some pretty weird wifi signals. The connection would almost drop for a few minutes and then back to normal. And this cycle would repeat itself every 5~10 minutes. Pretty annoying. (turn out I could fix that with a kernel parameter)

So I used to start ping | tee -a ping.dat and I used this as a excuse to try some haskell.

Parsing with Parsec

A sample of the file look like:

PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=50 time=39.4 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=50 time=23.0 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=351 ttl=58 time=196 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=352 ttl=58 time=282 ms
64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=358 ttl=58 time=474 ms

So the first think I had to was to learn how to parse it. I found the very good chapter of real world haskell about parsec. The documentation on hoogle is only good if one already knows how to use the library, so this chapter was very useful.

Regular expressions?

I could've done this with regular expression. Using a library like parsec for this probably overkill but it was a learning exercise anyway. Another reason is readability and maintainablity. Compare the following javasrcipt snippet:

var r = /icmp_seq=(\d+) ttl=\d+ time=(\d+)/;
var matched = line.match(r);
if(matched.length) {
  var seq = parseInt(matched[1]);
  var time = parseInt(matched[2]);

With the haskell version:

line :: GenParser Char st (Int, Float)
line = do
	string "icmp_seq="
    seq <- positiveNatural
    many (noneOf " ")
    string "time="
    time <- positiveFloat
    return (seq, time)

The haskell version is a bit longer but much more readable too. The helper functions positiveNatural and positiveFloat are doing the same as the javascript parseInt function, given below for completness:

positiveNatural :: CharParser () Int
positiveNatural =
  foldl' (\a i -> a * 10 + digitToInt i) 0 <$> many1 digit

positiveFloat :: CharParser () Float
positiveFloat = do
  s <- getInput
  case (readFloat s) of
    [(n, s')] -> n <$ setInput s'
    _         -> empty

The full code can be found on this github repo. I also took some time to understand and use the funky Applicative notation instead of the do notation above.


I learned how to parse files in haskell, something very common and useful. Parsing with Parsec also lead to some pretty readable and maintable code, which is a major reason I'm interested in haskell.

Although, I'm not sure how it works under the hood (mostly, regarding memory usage), I'll keep that for a later exercise.