[erlang-questions] Visual Erlang notation v0.1.0 - feedback request

Garrett Smith g@REDACTED
Mon May 5 17:43:21 CEST 2014

On Mon, May 5, 2014 at 3:32 AM, Torben Hoffmann
<torben.hoffmann@REDACTED> wrote:
> Garrett Smith writes:
>> My hopefully constructive input though... I think you ought to be
>> easier on folks who don't use fancy graphics editors :)
> That's the first time I have heard LaTeX being called a fancy graphics editor ;-)

Not as fancy as my vi based SVG editor, but still fancy.

>> I (and the folks I work with) tend to use Google presentations to put
>> together visual diagrams. It's quite a handy program. Unfortunately
>> you can't do a few things that you require:
>> - Squiggly lines
>> - Double lines
>> But you can do:
>> - Lots of different line endings (circles, squares, triangles)
>> - Dashed lines
>> - Dash-dotted lines
>> - Thick and thin lines
>> Unless you have a religious point of view when it comes to squiggles
>> (I hear this is a thing) I'd recommend tweaking the symbols to widen
>> the tent for drawing tools :)
> I'm not religious about squiggles, but I had a reason for using squiggles for message
> passing:
> I want to encourage using module APIs to send messages around. It is rare that you
> need to send messages directly, so the symbol for that should stand out and the easy
> straight line be used for calling an API function.
> But I am very open to finding ways to make this distinction come out, so perhaps one
> could use dashed lines for message passing?
> Another criteria is that it should be easy to write the Visual Erlang diagrams on a
> whiteboard. I find squiggles easier than dashed lines, but that could be my
> preference - dashed lines are not impossible.
> Thick and thin lines are really hard on a whiteboard.

Think of a dashed line as a squiggle turned 90 degrees - you can use
the same hand motion.

> I will ponder a bit over this in conjunction with some of the other feedback, so
> please follow this thread!
>> I also recommend putting together some PNGs and including them as
>> images in the README so people can see what's going on at a glance
>> from the github page without downloading the PDF. But this a nice to
>> have.
> I didn't know that one could include PNGs in the README on github - do you have an
> example of how this is done?
> Very cool idea!


>> Can't wait for the Patterns In Erlang book! (But who's in the GoF?)

Ah shucks, this was my overly dry and cynical humor. This Design
Patterns [1] book by the so called gang of four made into my hands at
a young age and I've been trying to repair my brain every since.

> So far it is only a dynamic duo: Jesper and me.
> Gang of anything sounds so last century - need to find something cooler. Dynamic duo
> also has an oldish feel to it, mind you ;-)
> We will start with getting Erlang patterns documented - if it turns into something
> that people want in book form it might happen.

Book or none, this is a great thread and if it picks up speed I think
we'll start seeing helpful diagrams with a consistent syntax/semantic
popping up in blog posts and, er, whiteboards :)


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_Patterns

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