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Old 12th March 2005, 05:52   #335
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 7,254
Sorry for my absence. To quote one of my favorite design quotes:

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
There is not necessarily anything wrong with a standardized configuration format. However, I do not think at all that this means that one should leap to something like a registry or what have you. Configuration files which are actually scripts seem like the best way to go to me. There's no reason a glorified script editor GUI couldn't be made.

A file named after the system process it configures in /etc/ is pretty damn standardized, though it does somewhat break down - it's not always a file named after such in /etc/.

I suppose my objection to a registry is more of a instinctual sort of thing - it seems a zen crime.

It seems this in two ways: For one, it forces program designers into a specific format (forcing designers to consider things: good. forcing designers to do things: bad). For the other, having something like an XML store seems like unnecessary complexity, without adding the power that simply standardizing on bash (or whatever) as a configuration interpreter would entail. XML lends itself to complicated settings, but then, I don't think that's exactly a good idea. If your configuration file is expected to look like:

# Use KEYMAP to specify the default console keymap. There is a complete tree
# of keymaps in /usr/share/keymaps to choose from. This setting is used by the
# /etc/init.d/keymaps script.


# Should we first load the 'windowkeys' console keymap? Most x86 users will
# say "yes" here. Note that non-x86 users should leave it as "no".


# The maps to load for extended keyboards. Most users will leave this as is.

#EXTENDED_KEYMAPS="backspace keypad"

That means that your configuration file is going to need to be that simple, or you're going to have to design a more complicated system. Every complexity that you make easy on a designer is going to be used, probably far more often than it should be.

Anyway, I'm tired, I'll say some more later.

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