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Re: Trying guile as an extention language for a 'real world' product

From: Linas Vepstas
Subject: Re: Trying guile as an extention language for a 'real world' product
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2010 15:31:12 -0500

On 3 July 2010 00:36,  <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi list !
> At work, I recently pushed the idea to use an extention language for our
> main product, which is a middle sized program written in C with many
> threads, that must run quickly without without interruption 24/7, and
> that have little memory nor CPU to spare.
> The first usage for this extention language would be to replace the
> various configuration system with a simpler and more powerfull interface
> from scheme to C configuration datas. But I just came across Andy's
> slides for ghm 2009, where he says that guile is "not so much for config
> files (days of fvwmrc long gone)".
> What does he mean by that ? Are there any contraindication against using
> guile as an extention language for configuration ?

I dunno quite what he meant, except perhaps to notice that there are now
a (large?) variety of open-source packages that support configuration.
So, for example, there's gnome's gconf, which has many advanced features,
e.g. allows you to define a system-wide default config, which individual users
can over-ride; you can define allowed config paramters (i.e. specify allowed
ranges, values, etc), there are some generic graphical tools for exploring/
editing these, and the C api is nearly trivial to use. etc.  Its hard to compete
with that.  I don't recall if gconf is GPL or LGPL.   gconf is C, but I presume
that KDE has some C++ variant; and there are probably others.

Personally, I have found guile best-suited for "rapid proto-typing" i.e. coding
up funky algos to drive various components in certain ways. Although
"proto-typing" is a misnomer; I have no intent of ever re-writing the good
algos in C. If anything,  the opposite is true: I'm very very slowly converting
large, bulky, clunky C code into small and fast guile code.


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