Re: Ode to Irony -or- C Tool Issues

From: Mark Coletti (
Date: 11/08/95

Edward Almasy pounded furiously on the keyboard:

> Sammy writes:
> > From my experience with big code in foreign languages, it seems to be 
> > less confusing if you have no knowledge of C when you start workin on a 
> > mud.  Those of you who, like me, don't know the difference between a 
> > preparser and a profiler should pity poor Mark, who knows too much about 
> > programming for his own good.  I can now see that my ignorance is bliss.  

> I hope that anyone here who shares this attitude will refrain from
> posting questions about problems with their code.  

	Sammy pokes you in the ribs!  =8-)

	Sammy was having a little fun.  Clark Net has been having
mailer problems of late; it seems that some outbound e-mail has had
the sarcasm bit dropped!


> > I'm all for a more powerful parser, just don't make me put any more tools 
> > on my harddrive (I'm at 98% capacity)

> I think that introducing lex and yacc into the code base is a bad
> idea, not because they fill up your hard drive (most development tools
> under UN*X don't take up significant space),

	... but they _come_ with unix!  *gahhhh*

> but because it introduces a whole new suite of portability issues
> and requires a new knowledge base on the part of the developer,
> without giving much in return.

	If you stick to using plain vanilla lex and yacc, then the
lexer and parser grammars are portable cross-platform.  I've even
taken files generated via lex and yacc on one machine, and have
brought them over to another machine and successfully used them.
	And, well, yes, certainly the maintainer has to learn lex and
yacc.  They're relatively simple to learn; and, if you're an aspiring
programmer, knowing those two tools will be a big plus on the ole
	In any case, I feel that the end justifies the means.  The
parser would be easier to comprehend and more flexible.
Unfortunately, as someone pointed out earlier, the command line parser
has its tentacles throughout CircleMUD; thus, any significant
modification to the parser should be done with a lot of trepidation.

> ("A more powerful parser" sounds great, but what does it actually get
> you in a MUD?  This isn't Eliza.)

	Hey, let's not get silly here!  (Ok, a little silly is ok.
Spoon!)  I'm not espousing dropping a full-blown natural language
parser into CircleMUD!  Gak!

> > and keep in mind that some of us think programming manuals are evil.

> Ignorance is bliss, indeed.

	He was _kidding_!   *ahhhhh*

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Mark Coletti                       |  DBA Systems, Inc.  Fairfax, VA                 |  United States Geological Survey  |  Office of Standards & Technology
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