Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reia: no longer indentation-sensitive

Tonight I merged the "indentless" branch of Reia into master. This means that Reia is no longer indentation sensitive. Ironically enough, some of the advice driving me to abandon indentation-based syntax comes from Python creator Guido van Rossum:
"The unspoken, right brain constraint here is that the complexity introduced by a solution to a design problem must be somehow proportional to the problem's importance"
I'm ready to move on to bigger and better things than just twiddling around with my language's grammar, trying to find ways of using indentation to solve minor syntactic annoyances. Any such attempts translate into major headaches for anyone trying to invent a template language.

I was amazed at how quickly I was able to rip out indentation sensitivity and how much it simplified my grammar. There were some particularly interesting commits along the way such as when I ripped indentation sensitivity out of the lexer, replacing it with a single new keyword.

All that said, there are unfortunately now numerous code fragments based on the indentation-sensitive syntax posted throughout the Reia Wiki. I'll be working to clean these up, but if you see one and want to help out, feel free to fix them (although you will have to register with the wiki to make edits). The new syntax looks an awful lot like Ruby, so if you make your best guess adding end keywords where it'd make sense in Ruby, you'll probably be right.

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Not that you needed my approval, but I applaud your choice to abandon indentation-as-markup. And wow, that lexer change is really awesome! :)

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