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common configuration format (was Re: sysinst split project - The Configuration File)
On Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 02:16:44PM -0600, David Young wrote:
> Use XML for the configuration. That ensures that the configuration is
> queryable/transformable with NetBSD's forthcoming xmltools. I know that
> writing XML by hand is objectionable, so establish a one-to-one mapping
> from your user-friendly format to an XML format. Provide a tool to/from
> the XML format.
I think that this point is important, but it seems to have caused a lot
of misunderstanding and FUD, so I am going to try again.
If NetBSD puts structured configuration files into a common
format, then it begins to make sense to create the tools for the
base system that can process that format in pipelines and in scripts.
If we keep adding an ad hoc configuration format for every new
application, like the bad old ways of UNIX, then it is not useful
to write even a single tool to process anything.
It does not matter as much whether the common format is JSON, YAML,
XML, or something else, as it matters that there is one format to
process. However, I recommend making XML the common format because so
many programs and services already generate so much useful XML, because
memory- and CPU-efficient tools for processing it in the UNIX idiom are
in the works for NetBSD, and because XML, in the form of property lists,
already has a lead over other formats in NetBSD.
 By "structured," I mean formats that come in sections (think .ini
files), that are "hierarchical" or have "scopes", as opposed to
tabular formats with columns delimited by whitespace or some other
reserved character class.
 "Format" or "meta-format" if you prefer.
David Young OJC Technologies
dyoung%ojctech.com@localhost Urbana, IL * (217) 278-3933
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