[Haskell-cafe] Language Workbenches - the Haskell solution?
ralfla at microsoft.com
Mon Sep 12 05:18:46 EDT 2005
Thanks for your comments.
Yoann wrote: I don't think XML is a good idea for files that are
managed/edited by humans.
I think the users prefer simpler files with a custom syntax, and the
user is the king.
I don't mind, but when you say "user" do you mean "application
configuration admin" or "plain application user". The former may
know/like/dislike PL syntax, the latter may not like *anything* but very
simple and foolproof formats or GUI-based configuration. There is no
reason to believe that the latter wants to feel like programming in
Haskell, Java, ... at least not in the universe I live in or that I
Yoann wrote: Of course the job of the programmer is easier when the file
is coded in XML, ...
This is unrelated to what I said. Perhaps my wording wasn't clear
enough. I was trying to refer to the software life cycle and tool
support as a whole. Doing software re-engineering for configurations
that are formulated in a Turing-complete language is no fun. This is
quite similar to the known issues with macros, when used for
configuration; you may want to read about software asbestos here:
Yoann wrote: I am a programmer and personally I don't want to code my
Haskell code in XML
I didn't propose *that*. Anyway, picking up the new subject that you
introduced accidentally, let me reply: you are not alone: most
programmers don't like to code their PL code in XML. (As an aside, XML
is used even for coding these days, just in case you don't know: check
out some widely used AOP language extensions for Java. I am not saying
whether I like this or not.)
Yoann wrote: so I presume it is the same for the user with configuration
So you presume that a user of application XYZ prefers to configure
his/her application in the syntax of the underlying implementation
language, supposing there is just one? That's a very interesting
presumption. Have you any data to substantiate your presumption, or is
that a prediction for the future?
Yoann wrote: if your programming langage is lisp in which case parsing
the configuration file is just a call to read.
Sure! Sounds a bit like comparing apples and oranges. I can also parse
my configuration file to "Data.Tree String" in Haskell, or something
similarly weakly typed. Then parsing is just a call to read, too. (Lisp
really doesn't score here.) So what's the point? I guess we won't be
happy with that Haskell solution, or at least we would like to see
whether we can score with Haskell in some way.
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