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Looking for a configuration file library
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Date: 2005-09-29 (04:02)
From: brogoff <brogoff@s...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Looking for a configuration file library
On Thu, 29 Sep 2005, skaller wrote:
> That I understand. Though note: noweb is written in Icon (under debian
> noweb package requires iconx package .. that's the end, two binaries).

You don't need Icon to untangle the Lua-ML sources, and build. Perl and
make and all of that nonstandard stuff that runs on every Unix. I had no
problems on vanilla solaris and RH linux sans Icon.


> Oh yes, you have a problem: if you manually run noweb and fiddle
> the result, then include that in your own product (which is what
> I do all the time with 3pl software) then you have two SERIOUS
> problems:
> (a) you can't easily synchronise with the upstream author

That's the problem.

> (b) you have the usual Licence problem, you whole project
> is now probably a 'derived work'

Public domain.

> > Back to config files. Other languages like Python and Scheme could also be used
> > as configuration files, but Lua is especially suitable when "non programmers"
> > are writing the config scripts.
> I doubt that. I'm a programmer, and I spent some time with Lua.
> Simple assignments in Lua are the same as Python:
> x = 1
> y = "Hello"
> Anything more complex is HARD, and much harder in Lua than

No. It is easy, and I have (admittedly subjective) data from dozens
of nonprogrammer engineers who use it, who formerly wrote config
files in OCaml. So, forgive me if I don't take your word for it, but rather
take theirs.

Much config file data is tabular, and Lua has built in hash tables.

> I actually looked at Lua as a replacement for Python
> to control configuration but threw it out. I am very happy
> now, sticking with Python

I'm happy that you're happy!

> In the end, I would have to recommend using a pure Ocaml
> solution.. because if your Ocaml code embeds native Lua,
> then you need your clients who are 'building from source'
> to have a C compiler to compile Lua.. and you need to
> provide build scripts to do it .. and .. its all a huge
> mess.

Perhaps you need to carefully read every line of my reply to David Mentre,
or, even better, download Lua-ML and give it a try. There is a reason it is
called Lua-ML (hint: it is entirely written in OCaml, no C/C++/Java/Felix!).

> Ocaml is much easier to build .. except that people
> insist on using 'findlib' and INRIA insists on NOT
> supplying it as part of Ocaml. It's an old problem.
> Sigh. GODI and Debian solve these problems entirely .. but they're
> very heavy weight.

I agree that the packaging issue is a big problem.

One of the reasons I prefer OCaml to it's competitors is that it works well
with a Unix style tool chain. If I used Windows, I might feel differently.

-- Brian