[Pipet Users] Re: making more CLI programs Piper-compliant

Roland Walker walker at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Tue May 22 16:25:57 EDT 2001

[jeff writes]
> Roland Walker wrote:
> > There is absolutely a better way.  Don't parse the help output.  This
> Actually, we've come up with a way to do the wrapping using connect-the-dots:
>   http://www.bioinformatics.org/piper/documentation/command-compilation.html
> Sure, programmers will find it simpler to write one by hand, but perhaps
> non-programmers will find it usable.  In any case, it's been an academic
> excercise to see how many things can be done using connect-the-dots.

I do find the connect-the-dots hard.

Remember that non-programmers find it easiest of all to just find a
programmer to do it.

It all comes down to settling on a spec.  I don't know about getting
FSF to accept your spec; they can be arbitrary and obtuse.  But
perhaps the XML buzzword would make people happy enough to follow it.

Such a thing certainly needs to be done.  With all the work that goes
into CORBA and DCOP and the like, you'd think someone would formulate
a simple standard for querying a CLI program for its options.  Though
I think that the principle benefit would be improving shells, not
eliminating them.

Anyway, if do you get a spec to me, I will support it, as I think
you are working on some cool ideas.

> > So I think that the only hitch between us and a world of excitement
> > is the lamentable lack of a packaging system that can tame the SEALS
> > monster.  We have multiple revisions we need to reconcile, and
> > tangles of code that we rather urgently need to clean up and push
> > out the door in some usable form.
> Are you thinking along the line of RPM, Deb, or CPAN?

We need to make CPAN-style packages first.  And it suddenly looks like
that project is on hold again for lack of manpower.


PS I wasn't able to get Piper to compile on my Solaris box.  I'll try
   a later build, maybe on my Linux box, and give you some feedback.

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