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Re: [PATCH] Allow tangling to a list of files

From: Tom Gillespie
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Allow tangling to a list of files
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2021 17:41:00 -0700

Reading over this with the new information about the use case, it
seems that using noweb to manage the many-to-many nature of a mapping
between blocks and files is a much better way to achieve the desired
result. In addition it is already supported and does not add more
complexity to an already complex part of org.

The one area that a noweb approach does not support is dynamic
construction of files at runtime on the basis of some information that
is only available at runtime, however that does not seem to be
important for this use case.

Therefore I suggest that the tangling behavior be left 1:1 block:file,
and if there is some desire to tangle to multiple files then noweb
should be used with multiple blocks. Obviously there is some
performance penalty here. Also this doesn't help with cases where we
want to tangle to hundreds of servers using tramp, but if that is the
use case then I would suggest that that operation not be hidden behind
:tangle. Instead tangle once and then use another elisp block write
all the files to their final destinations using tramp, ssh, or some
other means.

I personally have use cases for things like this, but even so I don't
think we wan't the :tangle parameter to be the way to do it. I would
suggest instead that if we want to enable a tangled file to be
automatically distributed to a number of different locations that we
provide a separate header argument so that the functionality is not
conflated with the tangle functionality. I don't have a good name for
it, but the objective seems to be something like :tangle-copy-to that
accepts a function returning zero or more paths, or a list of multiple
paths (I don't recall how/whether any of the babel args deal with
accepting multiple values).


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