[erlang-questions] PADS and Erlang

Richard A. O'Keefe ok@REDACTED
Fri Jul 4 08:35:12 CEST 2008

I'm currently slogging my way through the PADS manual and papers.
PADS is a toolkit for Processing Ad-hoc Data Streams, that is
for stuff like web logs, termcap, anything that's more complex
than you could comfortably process with AWK but less standardised
than XML.

PADS/C takes a data description and generates C code that you can
call to parse a data stream, either all at once or some at a time.
You get a converter to XML and a crude tabulator/statistics tool
for free with this.  The input language is somewhere between a
grammar and C data declarations.

PADS/ML does the same kind of thing, with a slightly different
but semantically similar input language that looks more like ML.
Sadly, the ML in question is not SML, but OCaml.  I am as fond
of high speed as the next hacker, but fond as I am of SML, I've
never been able to stomach OCaml syntax.

Some of the applications of PADS are clearly in Erlang's general
area: one of the running examples is some AT&T phone logs which
are really very very large (so that you would have to be either
a lunatic or a disc salesman to suggest converting them to
[textual] XML).

It might be interesting to speculate on the relationship between
PADS (or "Data Description Languages" in general) and Erlang.
I'm not sure that a PADS/Erlang would be much use, because you
can probably get most of the way with the binary matching syntax
parsing binaries.

The word is _speculate_!

"I don't want to discuss evidence." -- Richard Dawkins, in an
interview with Rupert Sheldrake.  (Fortean times 232, p55.)

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