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Re: [Axiom-developer] [fricas-devel] Noweb and literate programming

From: Eugene Surowitz
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] [fricas-devel] Noweb and literate programming
Date: Tue, 06 Aug 2013 09:07:16 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:17.0) Gecko/20130620 Thunderbird/17.0.7

Your efforts are not for nought;
however, you missed the same thing that Knuth missed:

The AXIOM/FRICAS/OpenAXIOM situation is the inverse problem
to working with an already literate program.

The panAXIOM problem is how to create a literate program from
an pre-literate one.  Knuth fudged this with the comment (somewhere)
that you throw the first version away; NOT an panAxiom option.
Knuth really had no way of starting with a massive program in many files
and deriving the literate result.  Which is roughly the equivalent
to finding your self in a 747 at 35,000 feet and needing to change out
an engine without maintenance manuals.

What you have described is analytic phases rather than
synthetic and synoptic operations: disassembling existing
pamphlets into sub-component files and directories.

The pieces that are missing and that need to be added do the opposite,
as well as more of the the direction that you were going.

The synoptic view requires creation of a single data base of everything
needed to build the system that has been analyzed down to, at least,
the syllabic level; it needs to contain every reference
to every character string down to every syllable.
A click/select operation needs to be able to display all lines of text
of a particular object/character string utterly independent of "language"
since large codebases are multilingual.

Cheers, Gene

On 8/6/2013 4:06 AM, Martin Baker wrote:
On 5 August 2013 14:20, Waldek Hebisch wrote:

 >> I think that we should get rid of noweb and declare
 >> past attempt at literate programming as a failure.
 >> More precisely, noweb markup is causing troubles.
 >> They are not big troubles, but AFAICS we are getting
 >> essentially no value from noweb so why bother with
 >> it?

On 06/08/13 03:06, Bill Page wrote:

 > Before giving up entirely on the goal of better documentation however
 > I think we need to  consider alternatives.

Some time back I started an attempt at an IDE for FriCAS
There wasn't any interest so I didn't take it any further, however one part of 
code may be of some interest here.

There is some code, shown here:
which was intended to be a one-off pre-processor so that I could attempt to 
SPAD, what this pre-processor does is:

1) Go through a directory (such as fricas/src/algebra) looking for files called
2) If if finds a match then create a directory of the same name.
3) Then scan through the file.
4) When it finds category, domain or package code (starting like: <<package 
NoneFunctions1>>= and ending with @) it puts them in separate .SPAD files in the
directory it has just created.
5) Everything else in the file is assumed to be modified latex and converted to 

So the end result is a directory, for each pamphlet file, containing multiple 
files and one HTML file.

(The preprossessor can also do other stuff like adding curly brackets and
substituting macroes, which you probably don't want, but that can be disabled).

I am just putting this forward as a possible stepping stone to better 
I would be happy to develop the code if you thought it might help. From here I 
it would be good to add diagrams and make the structure more hierarchical.

I really do believe in better documentation, I would be sad if I inadvertently
contributed to a path which lead to worse documentation. I do feel that the 
programming movement has the right goals, its just the mechanisms that don't 
work for
me. I would like FriCAS to try to enforce better documentation.


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