At 15:58 21/5/2001, Stig Sæther Bakken wrote:
>I think the important thing is just to have the language specified and
>thoroughly documented, with BNF and all.  Let quirks be quriks for
>now, a specification process should not fix them, but put them all on
>the radar for future fixing.  There's always someone who relies on a
>quirk.  If you mix the spec/doc and fixing processes you're in deep
>shit, that's something the first-year university students should
>learn, too. ;-)
>Anyway, this is a process Zeev & Andi would have to be deeply involved
>in, even though I think it's best to have the actual writing done by
>someone else, to have an extra "audit point" to come up with the
>questions implementors sometimes forget.
>On the other hand, Zeev and Andi may not want to prioritize their time
>on this, since a real language specification would clear the path for
>alternate parser implementations.

Overall, I don't think I can agree with that;  I'm very much in favour of 
the language spec effort, but instead of going the 'official 
ANSI-committee' approach, I was always in favour of a good documentation of 
what PHP is, in practice.  That's what people were missing.

An effort to create yet-another-language-specification is not something I 
consider to be interesting nor beneficial.  I don't really worry about Zend 
Engine clones (people know enough about the PHP syntax today, they don't 
have to wait for me or Andi to document it, if they wanted to create such a 
clone).  I think that having such clones would not be very beneficial for 
PHP to say the least, but as I said, I don't think it's related to the 
language spec project.

The reasons Andi and I don't invest too much time in this project today are:
- We simply don't have too much time, and the time we have is better spent 
solving real world issues.
- We don't consider the project as it turned out to be all that useful in 
real world terms (i.e., aiming at is some formal document that theoretical 
language implementors would use, but effectively, nobody really will).   I 
think that's the main reason the project ended up lingering to death - 
because it had very little real world use.


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