Someone told me the other day that the person who could figure out how to easily configure software who be rich beyond any dreams of avarice.
By easily, I think he probably meant something like what DBI has done for databases---even those things might be different behind the scenes, humans interact with it in the same way.
Once I thought about it, I realized how many attempts I have seen (or taken part in) to do that. I have seen a lot of web interfaces (and even created a few), interacctive programs, autoconf style things and so on. What a mess!
This reminds me of some advice I got in graduate school: these problems have not been solved because nobody wants to work on them, I think meaning that they are either unrewarding or intractable.
A long time ago, I took over the ConfigReader::Simple module, which handles line-oriented configuration files, and it has mostly made me happy. However, all sorts of other things are going on in the world: Apache style configuration files, perl code as configuration, configuration by script editing (oh dear!), setting environment variables (a recent favorite sin of mine), command-line argurments (and the shell aliases to hide them), and all sorts of other things.
I have been sitting under the configuration tree for a while without illumination. Anyone else have any ideas?