[Openmcl-devel] ccl manual (was Re: trace on recursive functions)

Ron Garret ron at flownet.com
Sat Dec 12 13:06:13 PST 2009

On Dec 12, 2009, at 12:27 PM, Tom Emerson wrote:

> On Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 2:43 PM, Ron Garret <ron at flownet.com> wrote:
>> Whether or not a wiki is used to edit the source material is completely orthogonal to the question of what format the source material is in.
> How so? Each wiki has a syntax that facilitates structure and format.
> I don't see how this is orthogonal to the format: if the original
> source of the document is the wiki, that document is going to be in
> that's wikis format, not LaTeX, not DocBook, etc.

Don't confuse "the wiki" with "a wiki".  It is true that whether or not THE wiki is used matters (depending on the binding of THE).  But that is not what I said.  What I said was that it is orthogonal whether or not *A* wiki is used.  Obviously, if you wanted to edit the source material in S-expressions you'd want to select *A* wiki that allowed you to do that.

Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and anticipate your reply:

"But no wikis support editing source material using S-expressions.  All wikis use WikiFormatting.  That's what makes them wikis."

To which my answer is:

Don't confuse design decisions with constraints.

It is true that there are no extant wikis that directly support S-expressions as their source format.  However, there is this spiffy concept that has arisen in the software world called "open source", wherein the source code of a program is available to you so that you can modify it to suit your needs.  Many wikis are available under this "open source" convention.  In such wikis, if they have been properly engineered, the interface to the code that translates what you call "that wiki's format" into whatever target formats it supports will have a clean interface that you can easily intercept and (tada!) modify to meet your needs.

Some exceptionally well designed wikis, having anticipated that users might want to do this, actually offer the ability to modify the behavior of the translation code as one of the wiki's published features so you don't even need to hack the code in order to modify its behavior in this way.  Trac, which is the wiki engine used by Clozure Associates, just happens to be such a wiki.  See:



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