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Subject: Re: [proto] Visitor Design Pattern
From: Joel de Guzman (joel_at_[hidden])
Date: 2010-10-22 20:21:42

On 10/23/10 7:44 AM, Hartmut Kaiser wrote:
>> 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!)
>>>>>>>> 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.
>> Alright, I think mixing metaphors is indeed a very bad idea.
>> IMHO, it is best to stay in the grammar with semantic actions domain as it
>> always(?) has been.
>> I broke my head today, and developed a solution which stays in these very
>> same proto semantics, and reuses "keywords" (more on that) already in
>> proto.
>> Attached, you will find the implementation of this very idea.
>> So, semantic actions in are kind of simple right now. the work by having
>> proto::when<some_grammar_rule, some_transform> They ultimatevily bind
>> this specific transform to that specific grammar.
>> The solution attached follows the same principles. However, grammars and
>> transform can now be decoupled. Transforms are looked up by rules that
>> define the grammar. In order to transform an Expression by this new form
>> of semantic actions, a special type of transform has to be used which i
>> call "traverse". This transform is parametrized by the grammar, which
>> holds the rules, and the Actions which holds the actions.
>> The action lookup is done by the following rules (the code might differ
>> from the description, this is considered a bug in the code):
>> 1) Peel of grammar constructs like or_, and_ and switch.
>> 2) Look into this inner most layer of the grammar and see if the
>> supplied actions implement a action for that rule. If this rule also
>> matches the current expression, that action is returned.
>> 3) If no action was found, just return the expression itself.
>> The handling of these rules is completely implemented in the
>> _traverse<Grammar, Actions> transform. This leaves the grammar what it is,
>> a grammar. Making it possible to reuse it with a set of transforms.
>> This set of transforms is called Actions.
>> An Actions class has a nested struct when<Rule, Actions>. This resembles
>> the behavior of the already existing proto::when.
>> Example (from above):
>> struct some_actions
>> : actions<some_actions>
>> {
>> template<typename Actions>
>> struct when<some_grammar_rule, Actions> : some_transform {}; };
>> traverse<some_grammar, some_actions>(expr);
>> With expression being an AST conforming to some_grammar.
>> I think this is the simplification of client proto code we searched for.
>> It probably needs some minor polishment though.
>> Thoughts?
> Excellent thinking! I'm amazed!

This is the best extension interface I've seen so far. If we were
to have Spirit3, I'd like to use this extension interface.


Joel de Guzman

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