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Re: [Nmh-workers] mh-format

From: Ken Hornstein
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] mh-format
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2015 14:06:57 -0500

>Who designed it? If I ever knew, I've forgotten. I'm guessing that the answer
>is that nobody designed it. It probably started out as a simple take-off of
>printf and grew by small, imperceptible increments from there. I urge that
>this generation of developers not add any more increments, but invent
>something better from scratch, or perhaps use or adapt something that already

I was curious, so I looked at this. mh-format did not exist in MH 5.  It
looks like first public release of MH I can find that contained it was
MH 6.6 (there may have been an earlier one, but I cannot find it).  So
probably someone at UCI, likely either Marshall Rose or John Romine,
wrote it.  I can't really defend mh-format, other than to suggest that
once you understand the syntax for branches it's not COMPLETELY terrible.
It's a special-purpose language designed for a very specific task.  Like
other languages designed for embedded work (e.g., D) it contains no loop
operations so it always completes.  Containing only two variables is
really the thing that sucks about it.

Lyndon has already mentioned his work on Lua; I think that work is great
but he also said that it's a lot of work and requires pretty much all
of current configuration to be chucked over the side.  Since this is a
volunteer project that's going to take some design and time to get it
right.  In the meantime we can't really ask people to stop working on
the current codebase, so we have people working on the next-gen effort
and improving the current code.


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