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Subject: Re: [proto] Visitor Design Pattern
From: Thomas Heller (thom.heller_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-10-22 05:44:53

On Friday 22 October 2010 11:29:07 Joel de Guzman wrote:
> On 10/22/10 4:17 PM, Thomas Heller wrote:
> > On Friday 22 October 2010 09:58:25 Eric Niebler wrote:
> >> On 10/22/2010 12:33 AM, Thomas Heller wrote:
> >>> On Friday 22 October 2010 09:15:47 Eric Niebler wrote:
> >>>> On 10/21/2010 7:09 PM, Joel de Guzman wrote:
> >>>>> Check out the doc I sent (Annex A). It's really, to my mind,
> >>>>> generic languages -- abstraction of rules and templated grammars
> >>>>> through metanotions and hyper-rules.
> >>>>
> >>>> Parameterized rules. Yes, I can understand that much. My
> >>>> understanding stops when I try to imagine how to build a parser
> >>>> that recognizes a grammar with parameterized rules.
> >>>
> >>> And I can't understand how expression templates relate to parsing.
> >>
> >> It doesn't in any practical sense, really. No parsing ever happens in
> >> Proto. The C++ compiler parses expressions for us and builds the tree.
> >> Proto grammars are patterns that match trees. (It is in this sense
> >> they're closer to schemata, not grammars that drive parsers.)
> >>
> >> They're called "grammars" in Proto not because they drive the parsing
> >> but because they describe the valid syntax for your embedded language.
> >
> > Ok, this formulation makes it much clearer :)
> It's just the metaphor! And what I saying is that you will get into
> confusion land if you mix metaphors from different domains. Proto uses
> the parsing domain and it makes sense (*). It may (and I say may) be
> possible to extend that metaphor and in the end it may be possible
> to incorporate that into proto instead of phoenix (if it is indeed
> conceptually understandable and reusable) --an opportunity that may
> be missed if you shut the door and dismiss the idea prematurely.
> It is OK to switch metaphors and have a clean cut. But again,
> my point is: use only one metaphor. Don't mix and match ad-hoc.
> (* regardless if it doesn't do any parsing at all!)

Makes sense. Letting the idea of two level grammars sinking in ... I still
have problems to adapt it to the parameterized semantic actions solution we

> >>>>> I have this strong feeling that that's the intent of Thomas and
> >>>>> your recent designs. Essentially, making the phoenix language a
> >>>>> metanotion in itself that can be extended post-hoc through
> >>>>> generic means.
> >>>>
> >>>> I don't think that's what Thomas and I are doing. vW-grammars
> >>>> change the descriptive power of grammars. But we don't need more
> >>>> descriptive grammars. Thomas and I aren't changing the grammar of
> >>>> Phoenix at all. We're just plugging in different actions. The
> >>>> grammar is unchanged.
> >>>
> >>> Exactly.
> >>> Though, I think this is the hard part to wrap the head around. We
> >>> have a grammar, and this very same grammar is used to describe
> >>> "visitation".
> >>
> >> It's for the same reason that grammars are useful for validating
> >> expressions that they are also useful for driving tree traversals:
> >> pattern matching. There's no law that the /same/ grammar be used for
> >> validation and evaluation. In fact, that's often not the case.
> >
> > True.
> > However it seems convenient to me reusing the grammar you wrote for
> > validating your language for the traversal of an expression matching
> > that grammar.
> > This is what we tried with this rule based dispatching to Semantic
> > Actions. I am currently thinking in another direction, that is
> > separating traversal and grammar again, very much like proto contexts,
> > but with this rule dispatching and describing it with proto transforms
> > ... the idea is slowly materializing in my head ...
> Again I should warn against mixing metaphors. IMO, that is the basic
> problem why it is so deceptively unclear. There's no clear model
> that conceptualizes all this, and thus no way to reason out on
> an abstract level. Not good.


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