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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: ODF Command Line Tools -- Request for community feedback
Date Wed, 16 May 2012 20:29:20 GMT
On Wed, May 16, 2012 at 12:35 PM, Noah Tilton <> wrote:


Good thoughts.

Aside from the level of abstraction, and how it maps to the problem
domain, I think the style of language is another important components.
 For example,  even if you had a perfect API, if it is coupled with a
Haskell-like functional syntax, it will be an impediment to a
"power-user" who is familiar with only imperative languages.

You can slice and dice it in many ways, but one way to think of the spectrum is:

1) end user programming == simple record and play-back macros,
spreadsheet functions

2) Power users, some web designers == simple imperative Javascript or
shell scriptsing. Can copy a routine to reuse and make simple
modifications to it.  Might read a programming book.

3) Application developers == a professional working with C#, maybe
Java, or another modern language.  Builds complete solutions from
existing parts, gluing them together where possible.  Focuses not on
the individual components, but on integrating the pieces with the
"business logic" that the custom requires.  Keeps up with the latest
trends and techniques.

4) System programmers == C/C++ programmer.

Skills increase as you go up the spectrum, as does cost.  Aiming too
high makes a tool have a smaller audience.

I think the ODF Toolkit today is at the app developer level in our
"Simple API".  But because it is in a Java syntax, that puts it out of
reach for level 2 developers.

> Therefore, a good/useful DSL is terse, simple, and expressive.  It
> utilizes users' vocabulary to describe the domain.
> So my question to the list is, what kind of "nouns" and "verbs" should
> be part of the language we are creating?  If you are an ODF Toolkit
> user, what kind of language do you currently use, or would you feel
> comfortable using, to describe your activities?

One possible level is to look at what the developer at level 1 and 2
already knows.  They don't know ODF. But they know word processors and
spreadsheets and presentation graphics.  They know the abstractions of
an end user:   sheets, slides, paragraphs.  Their "verbs" are the
actions of the menu in their editors.


> Thanks,
> --
> Noah

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