Programming fun

February 17, 2007

Programming fun is spending a couple of hours writing, revising, and tuning a DWiki feature that I'm not sure I'm actually going to like well enough to keep.

I'm serious, not being sarcastic; I like programming, but not all ideas for improving a program pan out. An idea that seems great in my mind can be less attractive once I've made it concrete and explored all of the bits that I could gloss over when it was just thought-stuff. So I can spend a pleasant and enthused couple of hours and wind up with something I may end up just throwing away (well, sticking on a back shelf in case I get a clever idea about how to improve it).

Python is a good language for doing this sort of thing in, since it requires very little annoying make-work. It's one thing to materialize my ideas and discover that they don't pan out, but it'd be an entirely different thing to have to slog through a lot of grit for no purpose. (Or to put it another way: the more un-fun involved, the more I'd need to get something useful out of it.)

Sidebar: today's nascent DWiki feature

I'm tired of having to write x86_64 as [[x86_64|]] most of the time, and yesterday's entry has raw text that looks like:

[[atkbd_connect|]] {{C:rarr}}
[[atkbd_activate|]] {{C:rarr}}
[[i8042_interrupt|]] {{C:rarr}}
...

One of my guiding principles for DWikiText is that it has to look attractive and natural in raw text; this is clearly not happening with either example. My first idea is 'processing notes', in a form stolen from *roff:

.pn no _ sub -> {{C:rarr}}
atkbd_connect -> atkbd_activate ->
i8042_interrupt -> ...

I'm not sure that I like this format for processing notes (or even the name), plus it doesn't really improve writing x86_64 once or twice in an entry, plus it turns out to have some unaesthetic consequences; the only good way to do the text substitutions right now makes them affect things like URLs (which are in the text but not actually text).

Written on 17 February 2007.
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Last modified: Sat Feb 17 17:56:37 2007
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