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RE: text processing as *the* problem


Thanks to you and all who posted on my question.  I've downloaded sgrep,
which looks like it
will do a lot of what I want.  Once I saw it, I was surprised that I'd never
heard of it before.
Someone I work with also mentioned gema, which is a macro processor, and I
think the
two of them will be a big help.

The material about parsing and pattern matching in Scheme I will work on
trying to
understand.  I am still learning it; it is fun.

What motivated my initial post was the Call for Participation from LL1:
there were a few
ideas that struck me

 - the desire to connect the academy and industry
 - a survey of languages that "sprung up"

As I said, I am not a language designer - just a programmer.  I've been
programming for a
little over twelve years, self taught.  Five years ago I took a look at the
MIT Computer Science
curriculum to see what I was missing, and I think it's this:

 - functional languages
 - advanced math
 - compilers and parsers

I've been working on the first, and making tentative steps on the last - I
don't have a lot
of spare time.  But when I do have spare time, or am feeling low, I like to
poke around in


And often find myself struggling with problems of text manipulation (I know
this is vague) --
it is not always XML or HTML -- a case in point from last week:  it would be
so handy if
C/C++ had something like this:

	switch (myVariable) {
		case "who":

		case "what":

Or for a date utility that I'm working on - it would be nice if it were easy
to read the
arguments off the command line and figure out which pieces are elements of
whether the user wants to add or subtract days from a date or get the
between two dates or get a sequence of dates that fit a certain criteria
("all the
Fridays in December 1886").

Now, I am not asking for the solution of any of these problems.

Maybe Lisp or Scheme can do all the things I want.  I can believe that.

Even if it's so, I have been asking myself, "What would a language look like
would do the things I want to do?"   What sort of commands would I *want* to
write?  What sort of functions would make it easy to do the things I want to

I haven't come up with a single answer yet.  I was hoping that someone has
looking at this question:  A higher-level approach to dealing with text.
The Icon
language was suggested, and that also looks promising, interesting, and fun.
It does show that whoever designed it had struggled with the same sort of
that I do.

Kevin Kelleher