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From Randall Leeds <>
Subject Re: On Alternative View Engines
Date Tue, 02 Jul 2013 21:25:12 GMT
Very cool experiments there.

Have you taken the time to understand JSONiq well enough to say
whether that would be a good fit?

On Sun, Jun 30, 2013 at 2:37 PM, Russell Branca <> wrote:
> The discussion of alternative approaches to view engines is one that
> bubbles up semi regularly, with the latest addition for a Lua native query
> server described in COUCHDB-1842 by Alexander. Lua is a great language for
> embedding into systems and provides powerful sandboxing facilities.
> I'm very intrigued by optimizing for the standard use case, where a user
> wants to build a simple secondary index on their data, and then use a built
> in reduce function. I think we can find a solution that allows a user to
> define a doc level transformation in a DSL or query language or some other
> approach that allows us to keep the view generation functionality within
> the Erlang VM and avoid the overhead costs of using an external engine.
> I do think it makes sense to have an external engine for flexibility, and
> allowing us to focus on the simple cases while providing a fallback for
> more complex user defined functions.
> To experiment with different approaches, I built a Lisp interpreter on top
> of Erlang with the premise of white listing the entire language, allowing
> explicit control over what the user can and cannot do in view functions.
> You can see it here: [Lispenport](
> It's by no means a full solution, but it has some interesting properties
> such as really just being syntactic sugar on top of Erlang and all
> constructs are direct Erlang terms, even lambdas are just Erlang funs.
> Now, while I would be intrigued by a Lisp DSL for user defined functions in
> CouchDB, I didn't expect that to be well received by everyone, so I've
> considered this just an experiment. If we were going to take this approach,
> I would rather take Lisp Flavored Erlang (LFE, another project by Robert
> Virding along with Luerl, and also erlog, a Prolog interpreter in Erlang),
> and rip out all the pieces we would not want a user to access and use LFE
> as a base starting point. LFE compiles down to intermediate Erlang bytecode
> and is designed to follow Erlang functionality, making it a nice option for
> building a view engine to execute in the Erlang VM.
> I've also toyed around with the idea of building a NIF around [JQ](
> which is a great application for slicing and
> dicing json data structures written in C.
> So my general proposal for discussion is that we build a minimal DSL of
> some sort, providing fast and simple doc manipulations that executes
> securely in the Erlang VM, and then we abstract out all functionality for a
> "full" view engine, list functions, show functions, etc to a separate
> engine that is easily swappable and not required for standard functionality.
> Thoughts?
> -Russell

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