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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Some plans about arch infrastructure in Perl

From: Aaron Bentley
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Some plans about arch infrastructure in Perl
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 21:33:28 -0500
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Mikhael Goikhman wrote:

On 11 Mar 2004 21:45:26 -0500, Aaron Bentley wrote:
Mikhael Goikhman wrote:

* axp - command line tool and wrapper for tla (Arch eXtended by Perl)
aba's just 106 lines, and it would probably be shorter in Perl. You'd get 37 (and counting) extension commands for free, but since I don't know Perl, I'd probably keep maintaining aba too.

Aaron, I am sure you are not the only person who may be disappointed by
this message. I want to make it clear.

I wish we have as many tools as the developers are willing to maintain.
This is healthy for arch. These kinds of things are hard to be envisioned.
I agree with you on this. But the multiplicity of tools can have a downside: people don't know what's out there, and wind up rewriting the same tool over and over again. (For example, "aba branch-this" appears to be the same as "tla fork", and they're both in the same package!) What I like about tlacontrib is the idea of unifying the collection of tla tools, so people can find what's available more easily. aba takes this one step further by providing a unified way of finding and using the available tools.
The more developers work on different aspects of Arch infrastructure, the
stronger lobby we have to request changes/fixes in the arch core. So, we
are on the same boat.

Regarding aba. Honestly, I didn't use it, but I really like some its
sub-commands you posted on this list.

Perhaps the key point if you're considering writing an aba alternative is that aba subcommands are simply scripts (or binaries, I guess) that support this interface:
foo exec $*: Perform their operation on the supplied arguments
foo exec (-h|--help): Provide short help
foo exec (-H)Provide long help
foo desc Describe the script's function, in 'tla help' format

I like tla-tools and others too.
My problem is I don't believe in /bin/sh as the language for powerful,
unbreakable by bogus input, configurable, extendable, debug-able scripts.
Yes, I'm not over the moon about shell scripting, either. Do bear in mind though that it's a well-known, simple language, and robust enough to be used for system startup in most unices and unix-likes. aba commands work well and save me time. Perfection can wait (until I encounter the bugs)

There are currently 3 appropriate languages I may think about.
Well, I'll accept scripts in any common language. I just merged the first aba command written in Perl yesterday. If axp commands are of use to me, I'll probably wrap them, too.

Actually, I haven't tried Python, but it sounds more like my kind of language.

Python is very nice language. Ruby is brilliant too. Still, I have _very_
good reasons to prefer Perl, the ones I listed are only a small part.
The big negative that I see with Perl is that it seems a poor choice for collaboration. Even in the clearest languages, it can be hard to understand another programmer's code, but Perl is often called a "write-only" language.

Anyhow, I certainly don't want to start a Perl vs shell language war. Competition would probably be good for aba, and I'm sure the rest of your plans will bring benefits to everyone if they bear fruit.


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