[darcs-users] machine-readable formats (Was: the state of the adventure)

Eric Kow kowey at darcs.net
Fri Sep 3 08:39:42 UTC 2010

Just redirecting this to a separate mailing list thread

On Fri, Sep 03, 2010 at 02:53:14 +0000, Petr Ročkai wrote:
> For point 5, I don't think we should really retain annotate --xml. My guess is
> that a simple regular language would be much better for both us and darcs-using
> tools. At least Lele (tracdarcs) agrees. The proposed format (to be
> implemented) is
> <patch-hash> | line of text
> <patch-hash> | another line
> ...
> which is much easier to parse than the XML and also avoids the validity issues
> (since we currently don't have code that'd enable us to generate actual valid
> XML).

Perhaps it'd be good to try to think a bit globally about this.

* "Very very easy to parse" seems like a good feature.
  And there is nothing easier to parse than simple line-based
  like the above. Even JSON (with the json library) imposes a
  little bit of friction...

* Human-readable (even if it's machine-oriented) could be a nice
  minor feature [it lends a sort of transparency]

* Perhaps another feature would be a sort of uniformity, that all of
  Darcs machine-readable outputs work the same way.  Can we achieve
  such a uniformity with just a regular language?

* As far as I'm concerned, "not-XML" is a feature.
  I think that's just a silly knee-jerk reaction on my part, though

Is there a way to have both cake (very very easy to parse) and eating
(sufficiently expressive to do anything Darcs would reasonably want to
do with machine-readable outputs)?

Eric Kow <http://www.nltg.brighton.ac.uk/home/Eric.Kow>
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