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   Re: A little wish for short end tags

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  • From: Steven Champeon <schampeo@hesketh.com>
  • To: Paul Prescod <papresco@technologist.com>
  • Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 16:10:20 -0400

At 03:59 PM 5/16/98 -0400, Paul Prescod graced us with:
> I do not believe that a person with the knowledge level you have described
> is going to succeed at the task you have set for him or her.

The tasks and knowledge level Jon describes are exactly what I had when I
first started doing SGML back in 1993. I knew a bit about what the specific 
tagsets I was using could contain, I'd picked up the regex search/replace
then supplied with my editor, SoftQuad's Author/Editor, and I'd started to
maintain a few Perl scripts which were designed to convert text files (the
output from our proprietary workflow conversion system) into SGML.

It wasn't uncommon for me to use the following sort of ugliness, which I
inherited from a programmer before me:

$*=1; # slurp mode
while(<>) {
  # ... repeat one per line for fifty or more regexes

I had regexes which were longer than pico could handle, so I used Sun
textedit, which wrapped them onscreen. Eventually, I learned emacs and
vi and discovered the pure joy of the UNIX command line, and picked up
a few more Perl tricks, like formatted code, comments, and not using
absurdly long regular expressions in a multiple-pass global search and
replace in order to mark up incomplete text files. ;)

I saved myself countless hours of manual tagging in A/E this way.

It'd make your hair stand on end to see some of the scripts I used in
my daily work, but it made my life easier and provided a break from 
the tedium of hand-tagging, and was also a challenge. Try to remember
that not everyone has time or the background to absorb intricacies,
and that perfection falls a far second after getting the job done in
almost every context outside the realm of pure thought.


"All the good geek things,                         schampeo@hesketh.com
 only without all the                         http://a.jaundicedeye.com
 bad geek things."                         http://hesketh.com/schampeo/

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