[erlang-questions] (not) packing code to PDF [was: What problem are we trying to solve here? [was Erland users group [was re: languages in use? [was: Time for OTP to be Renamed?]]]]

Motiejus Jakštys <>
Tue Feb 18 10:39:22 CET 2014


On Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 9:34 AM, Joe Armstrong <> wrote:
> Here's a radical proposal. The top level package should be a PDF file.
>
> In 2001 ago I wrote this
>
> http://www.sics.se/~joe/erlpdf.pdf - Read it, download it, try it, think
> about it.

Does not render correctly in my document viewer (evince) and does not
render at all in Iceweasel 25 embedded pdf viewer.

> This a simple program that packs a file inside a PDF container. It still
> works.
<...>
> Q: Why should the top level package be a PDF file?
> A: Because the *first* thing I want to do is read the documentation.
>    I won't even look at a program that has no documentation - it's a waste
> of time.

I could agree if I really needed to*. But:
1. Not everything can be pre-compiled (nifs and port drivers come to mind)
2. This severely limits the documentation representation. What if my
documentation is a rich Web Page which requires html5 to tickle my
fancy? In PDF we are sort of limited to... PDF.

A quick fix for 2014 onwards: we have OpenDocument and Office Open XML
which are just zip files with many more tools to manipulate. Loading
stuff from zip archives is something we already do (except nifs, yes).
We just need a file extension.

:: EAR ::

Motiejus



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