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Re: Another alternative (Re: format strings are the Right Thing)




On Dec 29, 2003, at 11:22 PM, Alex Shinn wrote:

[Order of reply is changed slightly.]

I think the primary arguments are against using any kind of
mini-language at all vs. just using normal function composition of
write and display.

No. It's against _badly_designed_ mini-languages, and _especially_ those encoded in the totally wrong data structure: strings (which we still aren't particularly solid on the definition & usage of, with regard to character sets, Unicode, multi-byte stuff, et cetera). Marc Feeley had another point, too: that separating the directive and the argument to that directive is a bad idea. You state that separating them is separating data from logic, but it is not: the data is the _combination_ of directive and input; the logic is what uses
that data to produce the final output.

(Before you say something along the lines of 'this whole SRFI is about strings; why on earth would you want to avoid them?' let me state that the formatting _output_ is about strings (whether it be in Scheme's string structure, in some future string structure in, for any n such that n > 5, RnRs, in output ports, in streams, or anything), but the formatting routines themselves can be much more structured; likewise, SREs' _input_ deals with processing of strings, but the code to use & manipulate SREs is a lot more structured than as the obscure,
string-encoded format of POSIX regexps.)

But SRE is still a mini-language.  Indeed, I've been suggesting
possibilities of using arbitrary lists or more verbose format strings.

Verbose format strings aren't much better than format strings with single-
character directives: they still have all the above problems.

What do you mean by 'using arbitrary lists?' I don't believe you've described this alternative in great detail, or if you have, my scouring of the archive
has proven fruitless.