HTDB : Docs : Roadmap : Ramblings # 1
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just thought i'd share some HTDB roadmap thoughts, prompted in part by a small "ah-ha" raised while watching ben write a DSO text filter this afternoon.

ben wrote a simple DSO (as they all are: string in/string out). this particular DSO took lines from a buffer and spit out those lines appropriately formatted for javascript, thus:

input string: ${javascriptDocumentWrite( random line of HTML random line of HTML random line of HTML random line of HTML )} output: document.write("random line of HTML\n"); document.write("random line of HTML\n"); document.write("random line of HTML\n"); document.write("random line of HTML\n");

in effect, this is a simple filter, just as my silly "morse" code filter is.

ok, so that's where this monologue begins. now i'll share some concrete plans for the future.

eventually, i'm going to change the language such that it can support alternate methods of calling functions - so as to make the language more "tag-based". the above example would, in this future world, be used thus:

input string: <javascriptDocumentWrite> random line of HTML random line of HTML random line of HTML random line of HTML </javascriptDocumentWrite> output: document.write("random line of HTML\n"); document.write("random line of HTML\n"); document.write("random line of HTML\n"); document.write("random line of HTML\n");

know that "javascriptDocumentWrite", or whatever the "function" name is, will always translate to a C DSO function named "dso_javascriptDocumentWrite()", which takes one argument (whatever is found up to the ending tag), and returns a single string - the affected input string in most cases.

what can we do here...

imagine the following scenario:

  • in the future, we might no longer store HTML in *.htdb files, but instead XML would be stored.
  • in such a world, we need to *somehow* convert XML into something usable by a browser. sounds like a great use of another filter function, huh?

input string: <xml2html> random line of XML random line of XML random line of XML </xml2html> output: HTML HTML HTML

or, suppose we have access to, say, a PERL intepreter library, we'd just need to have a DSO wrapper to call the PERL interpreter:

input string: <perl> perl logic </perl> output: the final evaluated perl string

whoa. or even a java interpreter. or a SQL interpreter.

HTDB then simply becomes a method of raw content management and a way to "glob" crap together. nothing's stopping the "DSO functions" from actually being, say, wrappers to tuxedo library calls and, presto - instant distributed application.

then there's the planned language extensions - true function scripting (done), tag definitions, and logic syntax changes in *.htdb files:

#define fetchUsername(user_id) <sql(usr:select username from user where user_id=${user_id})/> ${usr->username} usage: ${fetchUsername(1)} output: "xing-at-htdb.org" #define <docTitle> <head> <if (defined(author))> <meta content="author" description="${author}"> </if> <if (defined(title))> <title> ${title} </title> </if> </head> usage: <docTitle title="bubba's document!"> output: "<head> <title> bubba's document! </title> </title>" usage: <docTitle author="bubba jones" title="bubba's document!"> output: "<head> <meta content="author" description="bubba jones"> <title> bubba's document! </title> </title>"

the following is then possible:

  • nothing will be (wastefully) evaluated except when used == big-ass speed.
  • *all* resources can be considered "cachable" - at startup, ALL resources may be sucked into memory.
  • or, all resources can be stored in the database.
  • at that point, a true "resource server" may be written - specialized resource editors could be written to manipulate resources. imagine web-based resource editing instead of *.htdb textfiles.
  • at that point, we're damned close to a true "realtime publishing system"
i'm real excited about the future of this stuff, obviously. just hope it all comes to pass before i die.

del - 08:58 PM 9/8/00
   
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