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From Steve Loughran <>
Subject Re: Python implementation for Ant
Date Wed, 07 Feb 2007 15:52:15 GMT
Matt Benson wrote:

> NOW, having said all that, I am a DSL-phile and am
> having all sorts of fun writing various
> domain-specific languages for the last couple of
> years.  I have a low-priority intent to develop a
> custom language for Ant and will attempt, when I am
> ready to begin, to do so as an officially sanctioned
> antlib, assuming I can muster the required community
> support.  If not, I'll do it somewhere else.  This is
> a goal I have nurtured for quite some time, and as I
> have been building experience in the DSL arena, I feel
> I am nearly ready--the biggest hurdle will be the
> specification of a sensible syntax that will
> functionally work as XML does for Ant--namely by being
> open-ended, while eliminating useless noise.
> So drool.  ;)

Well, that I wait to see.

As I said before, SmartFrog support ant, and SmartFrog is significantly 
less procedural than Ant is; ant has an implicit sequential execution 
model, whereas smartfrog deploys things in parallel by default, with 
liveness checks on deployed things until they are told to terminate and 
clean up.

One problem I have with any DSL language (and that includes smartfrog) 
is remembering all the rules about whether to use colon or equals for 
assigment, whether you should terminate lines with semicolons or not, 
whether lists are allowed a trailing , at the end ["like","this",], what 
the unicode story is (or whether it just uses the local encoding), how 
to escape stuff, etc. All the little details that XML hands for you.

For all its ugliness (and if you think XML is bad, look at RDF-in-XML), 
it at least gets some things right
  -tool neutral (though the way ant abuses XMLNS blurs this)
  -good internationalization
  -not as terse as perl

Anyway, I will await your prototype


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