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Re: Are state machines just for parsing?

by dragonchild (Archbishop)
on Dec 08, 2004 at 13:20 UTC ( #413189=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Are state machines just for parsing?

What kind of interface / API would you be interested in seeing? How would you want to use said module?

The reason I ask is that I've built state machines for several projects and they were different enough that I don't think I could've used a generic solution / framework. For example, I've used state machines to

  • perform actions in a basic scripting language
  • handle events that have been defined to fire when X occurs
  • be the engine for a web application (both before I found CGI::Application and with it)

It's kinda like trying to build a module for the Schwartzian Transform or the Guttman-Rosler Transform (GRT). It's good to know the pattern, but making a generic version just complicates the matter. Or, put another way, we'd almost have to write another mini-language to have a state machine. And, we already have that with regexes.

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Re^2: Are state machines just for parsing?
by samtregar (Abbot) on Dec 08, 2004 at 22:15 UTC
    What kind of interface / API would you be interested in seeing?

    I see two phases. First, I need an API to lay out the network. For my purposes each state has to have:

    • A unique name
    • A description
    • A list of possible next states
    • Code which runs when the state is reached
    • Code to determine if this state should be the next one

    I don't know what this API should look like. Maybe each state is a Perl module implementing a few methods. Maybe it's just a big data structure made of hashes and arrays. Whatever it is it has to be easy to change later when the businessmen change their minds.

    Next I need to give the machine a starting state and an event. The machine should either tell me what the next state is or produce an error if the event doesn't trigger a valid next state. Something like:

    $next_state = $machine->run($state, $event);


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