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Re: Why tree-sitter instead of Semantic? (was Re: CC Mode with font-lock

From: Eric Ludlam
Subject: Re: Why tree-sitter instead of Semantic? (was Re: CC Mode with font-lock-maximum-decoration 2)
Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2022 15:24:35 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:91.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/91.11.0

On 8/9/22 10:14 PM, Po Lu wrote:
Lynn Winebarger <owinebar@gmail.com> writes:

I'm curious, though, as to why Semantic/CEDET seems to have been
superceded by external solutions like tree-sitter or LSP-based
(non-emacs) servers.  One of the draws of Emacs for me is the
"batteries included" nature of it having Emacs Lisp built in.  Is
there a downside to using Semantic as the basis for improving my
derived mode that's non-obvious?

I think Semantic lost intertia after the original author lost interest
in it (or left for unrelated reasons, I don't remember which.)

I eventually stopped pushing on CEDET for a few reasons - but a big one was that I don't code professionally anymore, and trying to wrestle the legal paperwork from my company and merges between repositories necessitated by those restrictions was just too troublesome.

I was also frequently surprised by how hard it was to get CEDET to 'just work' well enough for everyone to use it as intended, and how often people just jumped over to simpler one-off external tools because the full suite way CEDET works was too heavy a lift. That in turn resulted in not a lot of contributors to help support/improve those workflows. Tools like LSP also became good enough where there was no way I could keep up. I had hoped to pull data from external tools like lsp into the framework CEDET used, but again the simpler one-off tools were too appealing to that audience.

Overall, I think that is fine though - having many projects experimenting with different techniques, and having the best solution win is the benefit of free software. Developing CEDET back when it was the only game it town was a good time with many good people helping, and I am glad to have been a part of that, and I'm glad CEDET is still useful in many cases.


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