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From Tony Collen <>
Subject Re: [RT] A Groovy Kind of Sitemap
Date Fri, 30 Jul 2004 00:24:21 GMT
Steven Noels wrote:

> On 29 Jul 2004, at 20:40, Tony Collen wrote:

>> Scripting languages (and programming languages in general) are easy to 
>> create, all you need to do is define the grammar and tokens, and feed 
>> it all to something like JFlex/BYacc to create a parser.  Perhaps it's 
>> easier said than done.  Granted, I've done nothing with parser 
>> generators, but in the end I think it's the same.
> Agree, but I'm not convinced that we are just aiming for a simpler 
> syntax. I feel we're moving away from declarative, and I'm convinced 
> that this might reduce the predictability of Cocoon's behaviour and 
> usage model.

For that matter, you can describe lots of things with a grammar that 
isn't necessarily a programming language, so perhaps I mis-spoke.  I 
simply thought that being able to define the sitemap with a grammar 
would allow us to create a parser that would parse the tree of the 

> I've been jotting down sitemaps in shorthand notation myself ...
> match *.html
>   generate {1}.xml
>   transform 2html.xsl
>   serialize html
> ... a bit like the humiliated XML used in httpd.conf, but IIUC, what is 
> being suggested ATM is the introduction of the usual programming 
> language constructs in Cocoon's request handling configuration 
> syntax.... 

I disagree. I think the only thing that is being suggested is a 
simpler syntax.  The fact that you can describe a programming language 
with a grammar and a document like this with a grammar shouldn't imply 
that we consider the sitemap a programming language.  It's far from 
Turing-complete, and I think we're smart enough to keep it that way by 
separating the Flowscript from the Sitemap.

> isn't its quest for Turing-completeness one of the reasons 
> why XSLT has been shunned by real developers: being too much and too 
> little of a programming language at the same time? With a programming 
> language-like sitemap language, we might end with the same result.

It may be true about XSLT, but with regards to the sitemap, we'll 
never know unless we try it.

> I read mod_rewrite as an example, and I remember without looking up that 
> the documentation of that module is the only one with a special foreword 
> explaining/warning how wildly exotic it is.

Ugh, and even *with* the references there, it's almost impossible to 
get right :)



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