[erlang-questions] Re: Adoption of perl/javascript-style regexp syntax

Bengt Kleberg <>
Thu Jun 4 09:38:05 CEST 2009


Greetings,

I am writing under the assumption that "you" below is directed to all of
us reading erlang-questions.

My opinion is that there is no therapy involved when having to
read/write double (or more) escaping in strings. The alternative (not
using strings, to avoid the problem) is therapeutic.


bengt

 On Thu, 2009-06-04 at 07:44 +0200, Ulf Wiger wrote:
> Richard O'Keefe wrote:
> > 
> > On 3 Jun 2009, at 6:50 pm, mats cronqvist wrote:
> >>
> >>  this discussion is about how to represent strings with many escapes,
> >>  not about regexps per se.
> > 
> > You did read the subject?
> 
> I even went back and read the original mail.
> He did say in there:
> 
> "The only issue I have with it is that I have to
> specify regexps as strings."
> 
> So presumably the OP is eagerly awaiting a library which
> supports regexps represented as something other than
> strings... ROK, you have a small project on your hands. :)
> 
> > Actually, it's about people mistakenly THINKING they need 
>  > strings with many escapes, when what they really need is
>  > to get away from strings.
> 
> There's no getting away from strings in practice,
> and some strings have many escapes in them.
> 
> 
> Going back to the OP, the string "(?<!\\\\)#" can of course
> already be expressed in Erlang without escaping issues:
> 
> [40,63,60,33,92,92,41,35]
> 
> Forgoing *all* syntactical convenience, we would instead write:
> 
> [40|[63|[60|[33|[92|[41|[35|[]]]]]]]]
> 
> ...but of course that would be awkward.
> (Of course, when generating code, I will have to write it as
> 'cons' tuples, but when generating code, this is fine.)
> 
> Surely we can all agree that syntactic sugar is sometimes
> a Good Thing. Too much of it is not, and one man's convenience
> is another man's cruft.
> 
> Perhaps we can agree that there can be differences in opinion
> as to whether there is still room for more syntactic sugar
> regarding strings in Erlang?
> 
> The claim that anyone who's unhappy with the current convenience
> level is simply confused, and in need of the therapeutic pain
> caused by rubbing up against double escaping in complex strings,
> is subjective. Wouldn't you agree?
> 
> BR,
> Ulf W
> 
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