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Re: LYNX-DEV Re: Lynx updates

From: Foteos Macrides
Subject: Re: LYNX-DEV Re: Lynx updates
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 12:55:02 -0500 (EST)

address@hidden (Drazen Kacar) wrote:
>>Foteos Macrides wrote:
>>      More importantly, in all this time since Lynx was GPLed to be
>> supported by the Lynx User Community, we've gotten good support for
>> information, such as the Lynx Enhanced Pages, the Lynx-me services,
>> etc., but we haven't developed into an effective group for actual
>> code development.  That's in part a matter of more people needing to
>> acquire a real understanding of how the Lynx code works, but it also
>> requires a better meshing of "personalities" than we have, in some
>> cases, right now.
>Lynx sources are huge. And without enough documentation. Unless I missed
>something, WWW Library part is poorly documented and all major additions

        Perhaps what you've missed is the state of the code and documentation
in May 1994, when v2.3 was released.

>to code must be done there or with using library functions. File upload,
>tables support, form like options page, new tags, you name it.
>I ran Lynx through Purify and Purify found some memory leaks, but I don't
>know where to patch the holes. There's enourmous number of functions that
>nest very deep and I don't know where is the right spot to insert something.
>Major structures are undocumented. I don't have the faintest idea why are
>data structures organized in the way they are, or where to add (or delete)
>something. I don't know which functions exist, which functions are safe
>and which need improvement. I suppose I could learn all that, but it
>would take very big effort and time I don't currently have. And anyone
>else would have to pass through the same process. So, if possible,
>documentation please.
>Overview of all global structures and variables, and overview of existing
>functions. What they take as arguments, what they return and what global
>things they modify and how. And what are they supposed to do in the first
>place, of course. For old functions whose behaviour is uncertain (or possibly
>errorneous), a note about that.
>This would take time and effort of those few who understand Lynx good
>enough, but it should pay off very soon. I think it's impossible for
 ^^^^^^^^^^^^????????????????????????????              ??????????
>anyone new to jump in and start developing Lynx without a very big learning

        I can tell you how much time and effort went into developing an
overview of the global structures and variables, and of existing functions,
and of adding new functions, since the release of v2.3 in May 1994.  But
more to the point of what you wrote, I can tell you how many, many hours
were spent adding documentation into the code, updating the documentation
files, and greatly expanding the User's Guide and associated help files.
None of the latter was needed for me personally (I, at that point, already
knew what I was "documenting"), but was intended to help promote support of
Lynx by the Lynx User Community.

        Frankly, Dave, I see little indication of real "pay off" from those
efforts.  Sure, there are lots of people in the Lynx User Community who
do not have the skills to develop the actual code in substantive ways, and
who therefore should, and often do, "pay back" the favor of making Lynx
available to them in other ways.  But you, Dave, are one of the people
who does have those skills.

        One's rationalizations are even more difficult to face than one's
name mispelled (e.g., as Drazen without ž).  But really, Dave, is
what you wrote not really just a long winded rationalization?  You'll
pay back the benefit you've derived from Lynx as soon as somebody else
adds more documentation to the code.  Will you?  Really?

        If the people who do have the skills to continue substantive Lynx
development don't find the time to roll up their sleeves and really do it,
but just remain "takers" and "posturers", without giving back the important
resource they have to offer in return...

        I'm not saying these thing to insult you, Dave, or anyone else.
But unless the people who can continue substantive development start
really doing that...


 Foteos Macrides            Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research
 address@hidden         222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545
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