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Alias (5735)

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Journal of Alias (5735)

Sunday July 10, 2005
09:17 AM

Day 1313: PPI 1.000 released

[ #25621 ]

It is with a huge sigh of relief that I am glad to officially announce the release of PPI 1.000, the Perl document parser.

For me personally, it represents quite possibly the hardest and most complex piece of coding I've ever had to do and many thousand hours of work. Not to mention the number of hours spent banging my head against a wall trying to deal with the evils of Perl's syntax.

But now it's done, and meets all of my original milestones. These include a complete and stable Perl Document Object Model, 100% "Round Trip" safety, a DOM tree struture implemented in a simple, high performance and completely leak proof way, a primary API designed around convenience and Perl's DWIM principles, and a set of elegant and extendable/pluggable APIs for handling Queries, Transformations and Normalisation.

What now?

PPI is going to stay as it is for a while, so that the community as a whole has time to kick the tires, take it for a drive, and start to create new and interesting things I haven't thought of yet.

Specifically, I'm looking at a 3 month shakedown period. During this time we should continue to see point releases, but I won't be adding any major new features in the PPI core.

In terms of performance, I'd like to call for volunteers to help work on PPI::XS, the PPI accelerator.

It's design is well fleshed out now, and we can re-implement some of the more critical parts of PPI safely and incrementally, one function at a time.

Anyone interested in this, or in PPI in general can join the parseperl-discuss mailing list over at the Parse::Perl project page on SourceForge.

For the time being though I expect most of the activity to be by external authors in the PPIx:: and Perl:: namespaces.

Some of these project should start to appear over the next few days or weeks now we have a final release, and include a new release of the Proton CE Perl editor with embedded PPI support, more variation in syntax highlighting modules, Dan Brooks' PPIx::Analyze, Storable-based Document caches, and a number of other packages that will start to take towards to the next major goal of a refactoring Perl editor.

Although it took a new definition of "parse", perl is now no longer the only thing that can parse Perl. So I guess now it's over to you guys. Have fun, and enjoy! :)

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  • 100% "Round Trip" safety

    ... provided you don't change the document in any way, like perhaps "strip comments" or anything that is not the NULL transformation.

    If you do any transformation, you will not know that you've misparsed. You'll simply get the wrong result, and you will damage code.

    Although it took a new definition of "parse", perl is now no longer the only thing that can parse Perl.

    I know you're hinting at it with your definition of "parse" caveat there, but I think it deserves a better

    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge
    • I think the interesting question is whether a 98% solution is useful or useless. I'd say it's possible to do useful things with it. It's not like no-one knows Perl is dynamic.

      So let's not depend on PPI to tell if it got it wrong.

      If you're doing manual refactoring, do you have tests to back up your transformation? If you don't, you're doing it wrong. Same with using a PPI backed refactoring tool.
    • Randal, Why are you so overwhelmingly negative about this project? It looks a bit petulant. +Pete
      • Why are you so overwhelmingly negative about this project?

        I'm only negative to the point that the hype needs to be spin-corrected.

        When Adam presents a fair and balanced description of PPI, I've been quiet. But when he presents an offsetting view, I present a counter-offsetting view.

        It's about awareness. Not everyone knows why only perl can truly parse Perl, so they see PPI and get big googly eyes, when in fact it's not what it advertises itself to be, until you read all the fine print. When Adam

        • Randal L. Schwartz
        • Stonehenge
      • Well, except that perl can't parse Perl either.

        This is no Perl.

        (But more on that at the OSCON talk) :)
    • Certainly, but then neither can perl. When it really comes down to it, it is equally possible for perl to get it wrong, or act incorrectly.

      And since there _is_ no language definition by which to define Perl, we simply say that "What perl parsers is what Perl is".

      What is the definition of sub'new {}?

      It's sub main::new {}. Is that a bug? It can't possibly be, because Perl is what perl parses.

      If you look beyond the issue of whether PPI "parses" Perl correctly, you'll see that "there is no spoon".

      There is no Pe
    • >> 100% "Round Trip" safety

      >... provided you don't change the document in any >way, like perhaps "strip comments" or anything that >is not the NULL transformation.

      And BTW, so I don't have to explain this again, the definition of "Round Trip" is that if you don't change a piece of code, it comes out the same as it went in, the entire point is that you don't change the document.

      PPI can do this, unlike every other attempt at a perl-based "parser" that I've seen.

      B:: is more of an attempt to creat
  • A very cool mass of work.
  • I don't know what I'm going to use this for, but I want to use it for something ... maybe the refactoring editor will help me with some stuff I wish I hadn't written ...
    # I had a sig when sigs were cool
    use Sig;