--- Comment #110 from Aryeh Gregor <> 2010-11-19 
16:33:30 UTC ---
(In reply to comment #108)
> #Pro: less server load
> #Pro: faster page load/render times

Experience has shown that people will just write pages that use up whatever the
resource limits are.  They'll use the functions to write still more complicated
templates, which currently they can't write because of preinclusion size
limits.  It's not at all obvious it will make anything faster, it will just
allow more complexity for the same length limit.

In support of this, observe that ParserFunctions was only introduced to provide
a sane replacement for [[Template:Qif]], much as this bug requests that
StringFunctions be enabled to replace [[Template:Str len]] and friends.  The
explosion of template complexity after ParserFunctions were turned on would
have been impossible (given performance limits) with template hacks.  It's a
certainty that that will happen again if we enable StringFunctions, with
template editing becoming even more arcane.

Maybe we should enable the string functions, but reduce preinclusion length
limit, or impose other limits on template complexity.

> #Pro: less page breakage

How so?

> #Pro: easier template programming

Not if things get even more complicated to compensate, which they will.

> #Pro: less obscure limits on lengths

The limits on length will be the same, it's just people will write even more
complicated templates to use up the length limits.

#Con: Templates like {{str len}} will no longer count as much against the
length limit, so the effective limit will be higher and people will be able to
make even more complicated and unmaintainable wikitext pages for things that
should have been written in a real language to start with.

I agree that enabling string functions is the lesser evil, but it's still evil.
 People shouldn't have been writing programs in wikitext to begin with, they
should use proper scripts of some type -- extensions or bots or such. 
Personally I'd also be okay with restricting or disabling any functions that
people are abusing to emulate string functions, like padright/left, but that
would be much more disruptive, and people will always find ways to abuse
innocent functionality.  So unless someone is willing to implement a systematic
solution like a Lua extension, we may as well resign ourselves to making
template programming less painful.

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