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Re: [Nmh-workers] A useless but interesting exercise: Design MH from scr

From: Lyndon Nerenberg
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] A useless but interesting exercise: Design MH from scratch in the 2014 context
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 13:50:01 -0800

On Feb 19, 2014, at 12:10 PM, Ken Hornstein <address@hidden> wrote:

> I guess I'd want to know what people want to happen when they "show" a
> message with some images or PDFs attached to it.  Let's figure out what
> UI people have in their minds and work from there.

And this alludes to my comments about making the commands a bit more scripting 
friendly.  Not that they aren't, but they could be tuned a bit to make them 

And your comments about the UI lit up a big light bulb, and finally made me 
realize something that has been nagging me for a long time.  And that is how 
the interactive interface is slowly starting to pick away at the "batch" 
functionality (for lack of a better word) of the commands.

The functionality needed to support friendly interactive use is sometimes at 
odds with what makes sense for scripting.  When you make a given command try to 
do both interactive and batch well, this tension can result in it doing both 
poorly.  Or at least inconsistently.  I suppose one of the things I would give 
a hard think is in re-evaluating the line between programs intended for 
scripting and those intended for interactive UI purposes.  Once upon a time, 
exec() was a very expensive system call, thus embedding the 'UI' behaviour into 
the existing commands made some sense.  But today, fork()/exec() and spawn() 
overhead in the MH environment would be invisible on all but the most grossly 
underpowered hardware.  Maybe it's time to rethink where the UI functionality 
lives, with a view to creating a new set of commands that become the 
interactive front end, calling out to the traditional commands to do the back 
end grunt work. This would allow the non-UI bits to be cleaned up for scripting 

I have no specific ideas about this at the moment; this all just coalesced in 
my brain a few minutes ago while reading Ken's message.


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