ugh that sounds nasty. I glanced once at the site generator landscape and ran away screaming. I was hoping maybe something usable had emerged but... at least this one doesn't seem to be it.

@natecull @teleclimber silly question, but do you have preferences for config/markup/template/query/data/metadata formats?

@natecull @teleclimber plenty of opportunity to fuck up outside of choices for those, but i am curious , some people get pretty fussy about it.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

I don't actually much like any current markup/query/config formats, which is why I've been trying to brew my own (slightly extended Lisp S-expressions).

My problem with most markup formats is that they start out thinking 'oh it's okay, don't sweat the syntax, nobody will ever need to do $BIG_THING in it' and always, always, sometimes within six months, they have to do $BIG_THING in it.

Every markup format becomes a Turing-complete programming language. Law of nature.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

And even if the markup format ITSELF doesn't become a Turing-complete programming language, some poor soul will find themselves forced to encode a Turing-complete programming language OVER it.

And some syntax choices make that task pleasant, and some syntax choices make that task extremely unpleasant.

SGML/XML is an example of many wrong choices made at the syntax level. The proof is that if it hadn't made wrong choices, we'd be writing Javascript just as HTML tags.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

And then I'm looking at, eg, Wordpress Shortcodes, and Tiddlywiki Filter notation, and I go "Stop! Stop! You're writing Turing-complete query functions over an ill-defined markup language that never imagined you'd want to do this, but you do, because of course you do, so you just threw another layer of syntax over the top, and of course it's all going to go terribly wrong."

@natecull @teleclimber if it’s inevitable maybe there’s a way to design to expect it up front, but also somehow avoid requiring it tor the simple stuff. like a well designed escape hatch.

@natecull @teleclimber i guess you’re leaning toward the lispy approach. my thinking is along the lines of relying heavily in simple well understood formats and tools.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

But what do you do when your simple well understood format just can't quite cope with what you need to do?

Do you roll your own format at that point? Or do you try to look for another format that can cope?

@natecull @teleclimber that really rather depends on what the big complicated problem is. a concrete example I can think of off the top of my head is a hairy multi-page form with complex dependencies and nesting structures, like say, a section that requires the addresses of multiple people, with the address fields depending on which country and state is selected for each.

at that point a new language is probably justified, along with a simple way to integrate /link it with the existing stuff.


@natecull @teleclimber but it is tempting to at this point burn it all down and replace everything with the sophisticated new language that can do it all. that’s sorta what the react craze is about- “let’s use the steamroller for everything”.

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