Re: [unrev-II] TopicMaps, Ted Nelson, Virtual Files, and everything

From: Grant Bowman (
Date: Tue Jun 05 2001 - 14:44:54 PDT

  • Next message: Jack Park: "[unrev-II] Random thoughts on MS, OHS, and everything"

    * Eugene Kim <> [010605 13:34]:
    > Here's a real-world example. CVS differences documents by lines of text.
    > So if I have the source code:
    > if (x > y) {
    > doSomething();
    > }
    > and I change it to:
    > if (x > y)
    > {
    > doSomething();
    > }
    > [...]
    > I'm not sure what the answer is. Intuitively, I think that I'd like my
    > version control systems to be smarter, so that if I run some code through
    > lint, and I want to do a diff between a pre-lint version of a file and a
    > post-lint version, I get something actually useful in return. However, at
    > the same time, I don't want to ignore style completely, even if it is
    > semantically redundant.

    So this code is semantically the same with respect to a given compiler.
    Other compilers or interpreters may differ. Python uses white space to
    some degree, doesn't it?

    > [...]
    > I also think this is valid. But it's clearly futile to completely
    > separate content from structure. So the challenge is, how granularly do
    > we separate these layers?

    Right. Even a carriage return can be a semantic element. In C the
    comment style '//' is valid through the end of the line, yet '/* */'
    does not notice carriage returns within it. A space between two words
    can have meaning. Dead beat vs. deadbeat. The ordering of individual
    characters even has -some semantic meaning- comprising a word otherwise
    the word wouldn't mean what was intended.

    The choice that Augment used is the statement. According to the Augment
    Basic Skills book I have here, a statement is "headings and paragraphs
    -- anything you would normally separate by two carriage returns on a
    typewriter (can be up to 2000 characters long)". I would actually say
    that anything where a carriage return gives additional meaning. A
    statement seems something that must be displayed as a unit in order to
    not lose much meaning. I encourage something more specific be devised
    as an operational definition.

    There's quite a bit of experience built up around statements in augment
    that may indicate statements a good compromise. Perhaps this is a
    decision that is arbitrary. There may be consequences to this decision.
    Perhaps not every involved individual will like it for one reason or
    another. Other systems may use a different decision point. It seems
    clear to me that this decision will not go away and is necessary.

    Other options can be chosen, but I encourage a decision be made to use
    as an operating principle in development. Without a decision movement
    forward is prevented.

    -- Grant Bowman                                   <>

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