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From Jonathan Revusky <>
Subject Re: [ANN] Viento - WHY?
Date Fri, 07 Oct 2005 20:02:08 GMT
Chad Meadows wrote:
> Yes, it is mainly for the reasons you already stated, plus just on a 
> visual level the freeMarker tags don't stand out as well.

Chad, you have heard of syntax highlighting, right? I certainly wouldn't 
want to edit code of any sort -- C, python, java, freemarker, whatever 
-- in an editor that lacked this feature. All the freemarker directives 
use a clearly recognizable (particularly via regexp) pattern <#...> for 
the built-in directives and <@....> for user-defined ones. So most any 
editing tool can be configured to have these things stand out.

So, if freemarker directives are blue, let's say, and HTML tags are 
green, is that standing out well enough for you? (If it's not, use bold 
vs. italic as well....) People have donated syntax highlighting 
configuration files for various editing environments already, but in any 
case, they wouldn't be that hard to set up in general.

So, is this complaint, that FTL directives do not "stand out" 
sufficientlhy being made in completely good faith, or is it that people 
are this lazy about setting up their editing environments (or those of 
other people) so as to be maximally productive?

>  Especially to 
> people who are not exactly the most XML savvy.  

Hmm, well, I'm not sure I see your point. Web designers would be quite 
savvy about markup-based code. I would certainly hope that any web 
designer I would hire knows HTML far better than *I* do. I try to avoid 
HTML frankly.

Do you seriously think that a web designer will think that <#if 
user.isLoggedIn> is a regular HTML tag? Even if they do initially 
operate under that misconception, how long would it take of using 
FreeMarker in their daily work to get this straight?

But particularly with syntax highlighting showing HTML or XML tags in a 
different color from the FTL directives...

> I think it is more of a 
> first impression thing that sometimes is hard to get over.  Seems to 
> create some confusion among some people who look at the tags as they look 
> kinda like xml, but they are not xml.

Well, at least, in the early days, when I first started using 
FreeMarker, like around late 1999, I thought that the syntax was a win, 
simply because you could introduce it (via a white lie) as a new kind of 
tag that did certain "stuff". Of course, it's not really that. That's a 
sort of useful little white lie(*) to help people get going with something.

Overall, I do not get the sense that the syntactical issue is anything 
like a first-order thing. Probably, if we performed the conceptual 
experiment that Velocity had FreeMarker's syntax and vice versa, the 
very same people would still be proclaiming that it was FM's syntax that 
turns them off of it and that Velocity's was so clean. People just tend 
to get used to certain things and then become overly devoted or 
religious about them.

> [ and ] seems like a reasonable alternative to me.

That's already available in our CVS trunk.

But anyway, while one hears people saying that they are sticking with 
Velocity because of its syntax, I know of no case (it has not come to my 
attention anyway) of anybody switching from FreeMarker to Velocity for 
the syntax. Actually, I can't think of any cases of people switching 
from FreeMarker to Velocity. I pointed out blog entries of people 
detailing their experience going from FM->Vel. I don't know of any 
similar blog entries detailing a migration the other way round.


Jonathan Revusky

(*) I do hope nobody will use this as proof that I am a liar. :-)

> Thanks,
> Chad.
> Daniel Dekany <> 
> 10/07/2005 01:34 PM
> Please respond to
> "Velocity Users List"
> To
> "Velocity Users List" <>
> cc
> Subject
> Re: [ANN] Viento - WHY?
> Friday, October 7, 2005, 7:14:41 PM, Chad Meadows wrote:
>>Hi Jonathan,
>>"In any case, if the only reason was the syntax, say, and the semantics
>>and capabilities of FreeMarker were satisfactory, why not just tweak 
>>FreeMarker's javacc grammar to use different delimiters that you like 
>>Do you have a FAQ or something on FreeMarker which describes this for us
>>who are not familiar with javacc.  The syntax issue has been the primary
>>reason that has kept many users away from FreeMarker in my area as well.
> What exactly was their problem with the syntax?
>>Just from the sample of emails on this list it would seem this is a very
>>important issue.  Some guidance on how to tweak the delimeters may prove
>>to be very valuable.
> It seems that very soon you can chose between using < and > or [ and ].
> It will be added because many users has reported that he has problems
> because the interferences with the HTML/XML syntax (that < and > are
> reserved in them) confuses certain tools.

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