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Re: Parted 1.5.1-pre1

From: Dan Knapp
Subject: Re: Parted 1.5.1-pre1
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 12:24:00 -0500 (EST)

> This is pretty simplistic (maybe an XML format would be easier to
> parse). Basically this would say "make a swap partition 128M in size at
> the end of the disk, and the make the rest of the disk an ext2
> partition". I'm sure you can see the possibilities here. The only
> alternative right now is to script the parted program.

  XML is not noted for being easy to parse, unless you subset it to just
tags and text.  The goals of XML stir my heart, but I have to wish that it
had less syntax...
  (Just for example:  The distinction between "elements" and "attributes" is
unnecessary.  All the DTD stuff is inadequate and therefore just gets in the
way.  The requirement to find balanced tags also means that even the simplest
sort of processing of it needs a symbol table.  Its comments and quoting
sequences leave much to be desired as far as the likelihood of a
slightly-tested implementation of them being correct.  Using a dynamic library
to do XML handling solves all these problems for the purposes of an
application, but still I don't feel they're necessary or desireable.)

  On the other hand, I can't claim that I wouldn't have fun with the ability
to, say, export my partition-table description and include it verbatim on a
web page or in an email, in a form such that user agents could render it any
way they wanted...

  Or to use a boot loader that, if it couldn't find a usable partition, would
offer to let you try to recover your partition table from a saved copy.

  Or the authors of some other partition-editing program might discover that
parted has this and decide to support it, and it would suddenly be angstful
to change.  If that happened, wouldn't I feel stupid for having advocated the
ad-hoc format that would then add to the world's legacy-formats problem?

  (Those are not all the applications I can think of - they're all the ones
that require more than one program to understand the format.)

  So...  I'm inclined to say do the extra work and make it XML-like, but don't
bother at this point with understanding any of XML but the tags.  Or do people
feel it would be all right to require some XML library?  Anyone have personal
preferences as to which one?

> Obviously this is a large undertaking, but I'm willing to tackle it :)

  Want to try to come up with some division of the work?  It might make sense
for us to both look at it on our own for a couple days before trying to do

  I don't really think it's that large.  The keywords like "all" and "end" are
a little extra work, but it's mostly just straight reading and writing of a
data structure.

| Dan Knapp, Knight of the Random Seed
| http://brain.mics.net/~dankna/

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