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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] is there demand for itla?

From: Clark McGrew
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] is there demand for itla?
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 16:52:44 -0500

On Sun, 2003-11-16 at 11:33, Tom Lord wrote:
> I've been thinking a lot since it came up about how to actually 
> build itla.
> I believe it would be about 1-3 month's work to get a useful first
> release that is then fairly easy to extend.  I also think it would
> wind up eventually being a very handy tool for writing an arch GUI and
> for writing overarch-style functionality.

> The question I'm stuck on is how much "demand" there is for itla.
> Opinions?  Ideas? Rants?  Tips?   I think it's a pretty exciting idea 
> but I'm not sure what priority to give it relative to other projects.

Your description sounds fantastic and think that it will go a long way
to removing the barriers that are preventing people from adopting ARCH
as a CVS replacement.  My feeling is that there is a lot of
dissatisfaction with CVS, but no viable replacements.  If ARCH can
become a "just works" solution the latent demand is probably huge.  In
fact, if itla shipped with a set of rules that more or less implemented
a CVS like centralized archive shared by a bunch of users, and provided
commands that behaved like the common CVS versions (cvs update, cvs get,
cvs commit), I think people might use ARCH as a drop-in replacement for
CVS.  Once they've been hooked, they can learn how powerful arch really

I like the idea that ITLA would be extended in the GNU extension
language (guile). 

You refer to downloading project rule-sets and I think that the
definition of a rule-set may be the crucial design point.  Do you have
specific thoughts about what a "rule set" is and how different rule sets
should interact.  Consider a site wants to have defaults (might define
the default hostname that goes into identifiers, site specific commands
or even a default shared directory for archives), a project that wants
to define a "rule-set" (new commands, archive locations, etc), a user
that wants to override certain definitions (for instance different email
address for different projects, overrides for specific projects) , and
branch specific definitions (my-cat--branch1--01 and my-cat--branch2--01
might merge and push to different places).  This might be achieved by
allowing rule-sets to be "chained" together and when a command or value
is required, the first rule-set to define the command could take

>                                  ITLA
> ITLA is the name for a proposed program which acts as an extensible,
> interactive front end to tla.  It could be used for a long-lived
> interactive session (like GDB), or for one shot commands.

Most of this sounds wonderful, but I wonder if most users will want a
long lived session.  My intuition is that most users will prefer to use
their own command line shell (e.g. bash) and that implies providing a
facility to implement bash command line completion.  Also, command
startup time and ways to cache itla state between one-shot commands are

Clark McGrew                    Univ. at Stony Brook, Physics and Astronomy
<address@hidden>        631-632-8299

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