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Re: Config Files Redux

by brian_d_foy (Abbot)
on Nov 23, 2006 at 20:35 UTC ( #585780=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Config Files Redux

In my experience, the things I would like to do as a programmer because they make sense to me cause the most problems for the non-programmers who have to use the stuff.

Some sort of config checker or lint is good, but XML isn't really going to do that for you. You want to check not only the format, but the meaning of the actual values (e.g. does that file really exist, can you send mail to that email address, etc). A DTD doesn't really buy you that much once you already have code to read the configuration and test it.

If techies will administer the app, then you might do just fine with an XML (or XML like) format. However, every time I think that, the maintenance task gets pawned off to some non-techie who just wants to make it through the day without breaking anything. :)

There's really no rule that fits everyone's situation, but I've found that the non-technical considerations to be more important, even when I didn't like it. :)

brian d foy <>
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Re^2: Config Files Redux
by Tanktalus (Canon) on Nov 23, 2006 at 21:04 UTC

    Just to add to this statement - our check-in process was recently modified to include a form to fill out with evidence that all proper processes have been followed. The form is just a text area field with pre-populated XML in it that we're supposed to fill in. Then the server validates each field, and, if anything isn't filled out appropriately, it spits back "invalid" for each field that's wrong.

    I can tell you that this is seriously annoying.

    And our product has a key selling feature that involves XML. And, obviously, nearly everyone using it are developers.

    Although, on the other hand, it may make things a bit easier when I attempt to bypass the whole thing by writing a perl client that fills all the fields in for me, using LWP.

    (I know this is straying dangerously off the original topic, but the lesson is: if you expect frequent modification, simple-to-edit becomes so much more important. And XML ain't it.)

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