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Re: english names for symbolic SREs

This page is part of the web mail archives of SRFI 115 from before July 7th, 2015. The new archives for SRFI 115 contain all messages, not just those from before July 7th, 2015.

On Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 12:37 AM, Michael Montague <mikemon@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

There already exists an extremely widely used regular _expression_ syntax designed for brevity. We do not need to standardize another one designed for brevity.

"Standardize" is the key word here.  We're not
inventing anything new, but standardizing an
existing syntax used by multiple Scheme

We've heard your arguments and in consideration
of them have added an experimental feature, which
is English names for the shorter operators.  I don't
like these, I find your example harder to read because
it takes up too much space, distorting the larger
patterns I want to visualize.  But enough people have
expressed interest that I'm allowing them.

Now that you've been given that inch, you want to
take a mile.  You admit to being unfamiliar with
regexps, you flip-flop on the certainty of whether the
English names should be added, yet now you're
saying we should throw away the established syntax
altogether.  You repeatedly dismiss concerns from
actual users of the SRE syntax that they would
need to rewrite their code and their _data_ files.
Procedure names can be rebound by the module
system, but data can't, and SREs could be in use
by people who aren't even programmers.

When I asked early on, "what are the benefits of the SRE syntax" I got a strong reaction. To me, the advantages of list structure does not outweigh the disadvantages of having to learn yet more cryptic operator names.

In that case you didn't understand the reaction.  There
are a lot of very talented people on this list, and people
with much more experience in both PCREs and SREs
than you - you should listen to them.  What part of easier
to compose, easier to use with macros, and easier to edit
did you not understand?

[OK, editing may not be convincing if you don't have an
editor that can work with sexps.  If you haven't before,
try out paredit, it's awesome.]
I might as well just use PCREs; at least then anything do I retain can be used outside the world of Scheme.

Sure, you can stick with PCREs if, after understanding
the arguments, you still don't find them convincing.  Or
you can come up with your own syntax - no one's stopping
you.  If enough people start using it you could even write
a SRFI for it.  But this SRFI is for SREs and their users.