LISP and AI

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A. Bijanki

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Apr 30, 2000, 3:00:00 AM4/30/00
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I've heard that LISP is very useful to people researching AI. Why is this?
Where can I find some LISP & AI links on the web?

David Bakhash

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May 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/1/00
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"A. Bijanki" <bij...@uiuc.edu> writes:

> I've heard that LISP is very useful to people researching AI. Why is this?
> Where can I find some LISP & AI links on the web?

A very short and simplistic answer to this is that language is very
flexible. If you're gonna program a computer to simulate
intelligence, then a good start is to have a language where a
programmer can describe things not just at a high level, but also in a
way that feels native to the domain of the problem at hand. The Lisp
programming languages are more easy modified. It just makes sense.
It's not a good language for AI, absolutely speaking, but it's far
better than anything else out there to my knowledge.

I don't think the AI shines through in any way. I think that people
who do AI tend to use something in the Lisp family because of
tradition almost as much as the bulk of the wanting-to-be-cutting-edge
neophytes choose Java. Not that there's anything wrong with Java in
this example, but still, lots of people use it because of hype and
heresy, and word-of-mouth (and of course the relative ease of finding
a job with that skillset).

Lisp is a bit different. First off, fewer firms use Lisp. Speaking
about CL specifically, it's not the most widely-used language. It has
not been popular for web dev't either. Furthermore, there are only a
few supported commercial implementations. And how many people are
coding AI systems these days anyway? Only a small percentage of the
programs written today are AI-related.

anyway, CL is what I believe to be a language that's excellent for
expressing complex ideas.

read about it and get tools and resources at http://www.alu.org.

dave

Courageous

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May 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/1/00
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> I don't think the AI shines through in any way. I think that people
> who do AI tend to use something in the Lisp family because of
> tradition almost as much as the bulk of the wanting-to-be-cutting-edge
> neophytes choose Java. Not that there's anything wrong with Java in
> this example, but still, lots of people use it because of hype and
> heresy, and word-of-mouth (and of course the relative ease of finding
> a job with that skillset).

Well, to be fair, Java is world's easier than C++, and so is
a good evolution considering what it's replacing. You have to
realize that easy-to-use embedded container libraries and the
like are a new concept to old-school programmers. :) God
forbid they see what you can do with map and a lambda function. :)

Java also has this "standardized kitchen sink" notion, where
every possible thing under the sun is being thrown into the JDK
as a part of the toolkit. This has a good side and a down side, but
forget ye not that the good side of it is driving alot of
the masses towards Java (and probably will continue to do
so for quite a while, especially as Java becomes more prevalent
and native compilers become more popular).

> anyway, CL is what I believe to be a language that's excellent for
> expressing complex ideas.

The metalinguistic capabilities of the language are just way
cool, dude. I'm currently working in an environment which
opaquely embeds continuation code behind various macro calls
in conjunction with a scheduler which understands the continuation
(it's a simulation environment, hence the presence of the
scheduler). This environment allows expressions like this:

(race
(call-cab 'yellow-cab)
(call-cab 'red-top)
(sequentially
(sleep 20)
(fail self)))

Which is to say, "get a cab -- either red or yellow -- within
20 simulated time unts, or the show is over, buster". Keep in
mind that this very small 6 line code fragment tells the
simulation scheduler the maximum amount of simulation time
that can go by for 3 different lisp forms and sees that it
happens. The same scheduler can be told to prioritize certain
ongoing tasks or that certain ongoing tasks conflict with
eachother.

C//

David Bakhash

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May 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/1/00
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Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> writes:

> > anyway, CL is what I believe to be a language that's excellent for
> > expressing complex ideas.
>
> The metalinguistic capabilities of the language are just way
> cool, dude. I'm currently working in an environment which
> opaquely embeds continuation code behind various macro calls
> in conjunction with a scheduler which understands the continuation
> (it's a simulation environment, hence the presence of the
> scheduler). This environment allows expressions like this:
>
> (race
> (call-cab 'yellow-cab)
> (call-cab 'red-top)
> (sequentially
> (sleep 20)
> (fail self)))
>
> Which is to say, "get a cab -- either red or yellow -- within
> 20 simulated time unts, or the show is over, buster". Keep in
> mind that this very small 6 line code fragment tells the
> simulation scheduler the maximum amount of simulation time
> that can go by for 3 different lisp forms and sees that it
> happens. The same scheduler can be told to prioritize certain
> ongoing tasks or that certain ongoing tasks conflict with
> eachother.

I don't really see how your macros are so legible or obvious given
what you're trying to do.

But Courageous's post does give an example of what part of a program
might look like in Lisp. Lisp programs can vary structurally more
than programs written in most other languages.

hope this helps.

dave

(p.s. pick up ANSI Common Lisp, by Paul Graham, if you can.)

Courageous

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May 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/2/00
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> > (race
> > (call-cab 'yellow-cab)
> > (call-cab 'red-top)
> > (sequentially
> > (sleep 20)
> > (fail self)))

> I don't really see how your macros are so legible or obvious given


> what you're trying to do.


Well, I was neither trying to show legibility nor obviousness.
As it turns out, every single form in the above expression involves
either dealing with a continuation or dealing with the scheduler.
Full tasks are being spun up and are competing with eachother (in
the race), but one of the tasks (in the sequentially) is causing
the overall body of the (not shown) function to fail if 20
simulated seconds go by, possibly giving up on the race form.
Note the term "20 simulated seconds". Schedulng the passage of
fictional time versus real time is a fairly non-trivial task.

Equivalent lisp would be a real headache. What I was showing was
the ability to generate another language within Lisp. Which is
what the SCORE (simulation core) language is, as shown in the
example above.

I'm sure there are a vast sea of other examples, written by
other individuals who've customized a language to fit their
domain space. This is very easy to do in Lisp. Few other languages
can claim that.

This ability to transmogrify the language into something more
suitable to the domain space is probably one of the reasons the
AI community continues to use Lisp.

SCORE itself is a specialized language/environment for doing
human performance modelling. It's pretty good at it.


C/

David McClain

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May 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/2/00
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Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> wrote in message
news:390E4BA4...@san.rr.com...

> As it turns out, every single form in the above expression involves
> either dealing with a continuation or dealing with the scheduler.

Since CL does not have first-class continuations just what exactly do you
mean by this?

- DM


Joe Marshall

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May 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/2/00
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"David McClain" <dmcc...@azstarnet.com> writes:

`Upward' continuations are easily done with CATCH/THROW in
CommonLisp. `Downward' continuations are usually used for
co-routining, and can be emulated via `stack-groups' or other
process-scheduling hacks.

David McClain

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May 2, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/2/00
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Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> wrote in message
news:390F7BA0...@san.rr.com...

> David McClain wrote:
> >
> > Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> wrote in message
> > news:390E4BA4...@san.rr.com...
> > > As it turns out, every single form in the above expression involves
> > > either dealing with a continuation or dealing with the scheduler.
> >
> > Since CL does not have first-class continuations just what exactly do
you
> > mean by this?
>
> Well, that's a good question since I didn't write that
> section of the code. I was looking through some of the
> macro code today, and couldn't find the initial
> continuation generators. I've asked the author, however,
> and will get back to you.
>
>
> C/

Thanks, I am really very interested in this topic!

- DM


Courageous

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May 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/3/00
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Courageous

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May 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/3/00
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> > > Since CL does not have first-class continuations just what exactly do
> > > you mean by this?

> > Well, that's a good question since I didn't write that
> > section of the code. I was looking through some of the
> > macro code today, and couldn't find the initial
> > continuation generators. I've asked the author, however,
> > and will get back to you.

> Thanks, I am really very interested in this topic!

BTW, typing (apropos 'continuation) in my ACL interpreter
shows the presence of the construct and variations in
several packages, but not, of course, in common lisp.
Looking through the code, I could find no obvious package
prefixes on any of our continuation stuff. I was told
once that it was part of Scheme (by someone who quite
well could have been confused), and this, of course,
confused me even more, as we are compiling with ACL.
Is the SCM package in ACL a Scheme support package?
(I noted some continuation stuff in an SCM package,
but my ACL docs don't explain the package).

Anyway, I'm sure the author will get back with me in
a day or two. I'm very interested in this two.

BTW, there is a stack-free version of Python available
(http://www.stackless.com) which offers continuations,
coroutines, microthreads, etc. I'm still experimenting
with it.


C/

Barry Margolin

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May 3, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/3/00
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In article <390F8F7C...@san.rr.com>,

Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> wrote:
>BTW, typing (apropos 'continuation) in my ACL interpreter
>shows the presence of the construct and variations in
>several packages, but not, of course, in common lisp.
>Looking through the code, I could find no obvious package
>prefixes on any of our continuation stuff. I was told
>once that it was part of Scheme (by someone who quite
>well could have been confused), and this, of course,
>confused me even more, as we are compiling with ACL.
>Is the SCM package in ACL a Scheme support package?
>(I noted some continuation stuff in an SCM package,
>but my ACL docs don't explain the package).

Sometimes things that are referred to as "continuations" are not true
first-class continuations, they're just functional arguments.

--
Barry Margolin, bar...@genuity.net
Genuity, Burlington, MA
*** DON'T SEND TECHNICAL QUESTIONS DIRECTLY TO ME, post them to newsgroups.
Please DON'T copy followups to me -- I'll assume it wasn't posted to the group.

Courageous

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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Barry Margolin wrote:
>
> In article <390F8F7C...@san.rr.com>,
> Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> wrote:
> >BTW, typing (apropos 'continuation) in my ACL interpreter
> >shows the presence of the construct and variations in
> >several packages, but not, of course, in common lisp.
> >Looking through the code, I could find no obvious package
> >prefixes on any of our continuation stuff. I was told
> >once that it was part of Scheme (by someone who quite
> >well could have been confused), and this, of course,
> >confused me even more, as we are compiling with ACL.
> >Is the SCM package in ACL a Scheme support package?
> >(I noted some continuation stuff in an SCM package,
> >but my ACL docs don't explain the package).
>
> Sometimes things that are referred to as "continuations" are not true
> first-class continuations, they're just functional arguments.

I was pondering how that might be in our current setting.
The thing is, when we type (sleep 30) -- which is not the
lisp sleep -- it kicks it back to the simulation shcheduler
such that the next line of lisp code isn't executed until
30 units of model time have passed. While I can imagine
something other than a first class continuation accounting
for this, lord would it be hairy.


C/

Barry Margolin

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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In article <3910D861...@san.rr.com>,
Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> wrote:

>Barry Margolin wrote:
>> Sometimes things that are referred to as "continuations" are not true
>> first-class continuations, they're just functional arguments.
>
>I was pondering how that might be in our current setting.
>The thing is, when we type (sleep 30) -- which is not the
>lisp sleep -- it kicks it back to the simulation shcheduler
>such that the next line of lisp code isn't executed until
>30 units of model time have passed. While I can imagine
>something other than a first class continuation accounting
>for this, lord would it be hairy.

Threads?

But I'm not sure how this is relevant to the question. I was responding to
someone who said they did (apropos 'continuation) and saw some matches.
All this means is that someone used the word "continuation" in the name of
a function or variable. Just because they use the word in a name, doesn't
mean they're actually implementing that concept.

In particular, many of Genera's macros are implemented like:

(defmacro with-open-file ((var &rest open-arguments) &body body)
`(with-open-file-internal #'(lambda (,var) ,@body) ,@open-arguments))
(defun with-open-file-internal (continuation &rest open-arguments)
(let (stream)
(unwind-protect
(progn
(setq stream (apply #'open open-arguments))
(funcall continuation stream))
(when stream
(close stream)))))

For whatever reason, they conventionally referred to the functional
arguments to these helper functions as continuations. But they're not what
we typically mean by continuations in computer science.

Courageous

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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> >I was pondering how that might be in our current setting.
> >The thing is, when we type (sleep 30) -- which is not the
> >lisp sleep -- it kicks it back to the simulation shcheduler
> >such that the next line of lisp code isn't executed until
> >30 units of model time have passed. While I can imagine
> >something other than a first class continuation accounting
> >for this, lord would it be hairy.
>
> Threads?

Possibly, albeit insufferably expensive if so. This requires
that the the thread go completely to sleep until a wakeback
occurs, right? Ergo, a simulation with 1000 entities would
require 1000 threads. Ouch.

Unless CL threads are microthreadish?

> But I'm not sure how this is relevant to the question. I was responding to
> someone who said they did (apropos 'continuation) and saw some matches.
> All this means is that someone used the word "continuation" in the name of
> a function or variable.

Oh, right. Yeah, I knew that. You can't really tell anything from
the apropos, this was just part of my hunt to determine where the
devil the stuff is coming from. The macro code in the SCORE language
definition is pretty hard to read, as I'm pretty new at lisp.


C/

Erik Naggum

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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* Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com>

| Is the SCM package in ACL a Scheme support package?
| (I noted some continuation stuff in an SCM package,
| but my ACL docs don't explain the package).

SCM seems to stand for Source Code Management. There is no
continuation stuff in it, and it has nothing to do with Scheme.
It is explained in the manual in source_file_recording.htm.

#:Erik

Erik Naggum

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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* Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com>

| Possibly, albeit insufferably expensive if so. This requires that
| the the thread go completely to sleep until a wakeback occurs,
| right? Ergo, a simulation with 1000 entities would require 1000
| threads. Ouch.

Why all this groundless _angst_ before you even know what they are?
Why make all these random guesses and scare yourself with with?

| Unless CL threads are microthreadish?

Read the manual, see how they work, talk to the vendor, heed their
advice, use something else if it doesn't work to your satisfaction.

The scheduler in Allegro CL doesn't seem to have any problems with
1000 threads. 1000 threads that are created only to run (sleep 10)
and terminate, allocate about 5M of memory and spend less than 1 s
CPU on my system. That doesn't seem to be worth any angst.

#:Erik

Pierre R. Mai

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com> writes:

> > >I was pondering how that might be in our current setting.
> > >The thing is, when we type (sleep 30) -- which is not the
> > >lisp sleep -- it kicks it back to the simulation shcheduler
> > >such that the next line of lisp code isn't executed until
> > >30 units of model time have passed. While I can imagine
> > >something other than a first class continuation accounting
> > >for this, lord would it be hairy.
> >
> > Threads?
>

> Possibly, albeit insufferably expensive if so. This requires
> that the the thread go completely to sleep until a wakeback
> occurs, right? Ergo, a simulation with 1000 entities would
> require 1000 threads. Ouch.
>

> Unless CL threads are microthreadish?

Most CL implementations do their Lisp-side threading in user-land,
thereby gaining the advantage of very light-weight threads, and a
fairly cheap way of maintaining the usual CL semantics w.r.t. to
dynamic binding, etc.

Some implementations also allow foreign code to run in multiple
kernel-land threads, and some implementations are currently
experimenting with (or already supporting) kernel-land lisp threads.
While kernel-land threads allow a single process to take advantage of
multiple processors on SMP machines, this comes at a price, and so I'd
expect that even if future implementations will support kernel-land
threading, they'll continue to support user-land and possibly
multiplexed user-land threading.

Regs, Pierre.

--
Pierre Mai <pm...@acm.org> PGP and GPG keys at your nearest Keyserver
"One smaller motivation which, in part, stems from altruism is Microsoft-
bashing." [Microsoft memo, see http://www.opensource.org/halloween1.html]

Courageous

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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> | Is the SCM package in ACL a Scheme support package?
> | (I noted some continuation stuff in an SCM package,
> | but my ACL docs don't explain the package).
>
> SCM seems to stand for Source Code Management. There is no
> continuation stuff in it, and it has nothing to do with Scheme.
> It is explained in the manual in source_file_recording.htm.

You know, we own licenses for ACL, but not much documentation
seems to exist. How criticical are the ACL manuals themselves,
and how extensive are they? (yes, I have all the .html, is that
the whole shebang?)


C/

Erik Naggum

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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* Courageous <jkra...@san.rr.com>

| You know, we own licenses for ACL, but not much documentation seems
| to exist. How criticical are the ACL manuals themselves, and how
| extensive are they? (yes, I have all the .html, is that the whole
| shebang?)

Well, the manuals are quite extensive once you sit down with them.
However, I'm not too thrilled about the HTML delivery because of the
unsolved navigation problem in the WWW incarnation of hypertext (it
had been solved prior to the WWW, of course; HTML is the MS-DOS of
hypertext). I have asked (begged) for PDF files so I can at least
have something that reads better than the HTML delivery and which
also prints better than the HTML files come out like from the sucky
browsers. Franz Inc have indicated they will accomodate some of my
wishes for the ACL 6.0 release. Until then, the ACL 4.3 manuals are
still in use, simply because they are printed and bound.

#:Erik

Russell Wallace

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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Erik Naggum wrote:
> Well, the manuals are quite extensive once you sit down with them.
> However, I'm not too thrilled about the HTML delivery because of the
> unsolved navigation problem in the WWW incarnation of hypertext (it
> had been solved prior to the WWW, of course; HTML is the MS-DOS of
> hypertext).

I'm curious: what do you see as the navigation problem to which HTML
missed the solution?

--
"To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem."
Russell Wallace
mailto:rwal...@esatclear.ie

Erik Naggum

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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* Russell Wallace <rwal...@esatclear.ie>

| I'm curious: what do you see as the navigation problem to which HTML
| missed the solution?

The ability of one document to introduce a link between two other
documents, sometimes known as a "meta-link". Where implemented,
they are easily used to track how you arrived at a given document,
and thus you can browse your "journey" through a number of
documents. This particular "application" can be implemented by many
other means, but the general facility that would make it simple and
easy is missing from HTML.

I think of HTML links as GOTO. The effort required to keep from
getting messy outweights the merits of their proper use.

(The even-more-impenetrable-than-the-SGML-standard SGML-related
standard on Hypertext and Timeน, actually got this completely right,
incorporating all available hypertext research at the time it was
published, and subsequently updated intelligently to account for
further development. Unfortunately, it uses SGML for its own
meta-notation, which makes it an order of magnitude more complex
than necessary, and it relies so heavily on the entity structure,
which is the least understood aspect of SGML and also completely
missed by "the HTML generation", that it takes more effort to study
it than even most would-be experts can ever hope to be rewarded for
having done.)

#:Erik
-------
น ISO/IEC 10744:1997 Information technology -- Hypermedia/Time-based
Structuring Language (HyTime), 468 pages.

Erann Gat

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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In article <31664526...@naggum.no>, Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.no> wrote:

> * Russell Wallace <rwal...@esatclear.ie>
> | I'm curious: what do you see as the navigation problem to which HTML
> | missed the solution?
>
> The ability of one document to introduce a link between two other
> documents, sometimes known as a "meta-link". Where implemented,
> they are easily used to track how you arrived at a given document,
> and thus you can browse your "journey" through a number of
> documents. This particular "application" can be implemented by many
> other means, but the general facility that would make it simple and
> easy is missing from HTML.

Can you give an example? I presume that a browser history is an example
of "this particular application" being "implemented by ... other means"
but I don't see how having bidirectional links in HTML would add any
functionality.

Erann Gat
g...@jpl.nasa.gov

Bulent Murtezaoglu

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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[very OT on cll, sorry]

I actually posted rant as a bug to sourceforge on this. I prefer info,
docbook, pdf, and even ps over html.

TB> Actually I
TB> would *really like* paper manuals as printing and binding is a
TB> pain even with a souped up double-sided printer which we don't
TB> currently have.

Double-sided printing and spiral binding facility can be acquired for about
$700-800 if you shop around (this is what it cost me for all new equipment
thru auctions and such). This is not much since you're likely to spend
around $500 anyway on a decent 10+ ppm laser printer with postscript.

This will only help you if the vendor provides something that produces
reasonable hard copy. I detest printing html.

BM

Erik Naggum

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May 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/4/00
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* g...@jpl.nasa.gov (Erann Gat)

| I presume that a browser history is an example of "this particular
| application" being "implemented by ... other means" but I don't see
| how having bidirectional links in HTML would add any functionality.

The idea is not a "bidirectional links", but the bibliographic
reference, which was a quite well developed concept prior to HTML.

I wrote: "The ability of one document to introduce a link between
two other documents'. This is not a bidrectional link in the first
place. It's a third-party link if you want. There is no anchor
marked up as such in either of the documents involved, and the link
is certainly not in the documents in question. Instead, the anchors
are described in the third document through various means of naming
nested objects and the link between them is then established, with a
purpose, such as a comment describing how the two anchor points
related.

HTML missed the opportunity (to put it mildly) to aid in locating
and naming the structured, nested objects in a document, as well, so
it's no wonder people can't really escape thinking about links and
anchors _in_ the documents without spending some effort thinking
about why it doesn't even make sense to predefine which words or
ranges of text should be elevated to anchorhood. After all, most of
prefer to buy the marker pens separately from the books and color on
our own, but with HTML, only pre-colored books are available.

#:Erik

Tim Bradshaw

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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* Erann Gat wrote:

> Can you give an example? I presume that a browser history is an example


> of "this particular application" being "implemented by ... other means"
> but I don't see how having bidirectional links in HTML would add any
> functionality.

Well, it certainly wouldn't be hard to add more functionality than any
browser I've ever used! (which I admit is basically just various
incarnations of netscape and ie (as well I guess as mosaic and chimera
in the old days)) I find the forward and back buttons terminally
deficient, and the history facilities pretty much so (IE's seems
better than netscapes). Where is the obvious graphical representation
of your browsing history?

(Actually, does anyone know how hard it would be to get netscape to
tell some external program every time it visited a url?)

--tim

Tim Bradshaw

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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* Erik Naggum wrote:

> I have asked (begged) for PDF files so I can at least
> have something that reads better than the HTML delivery and which
> also prints better than the HTML files come out like from the sucky
> browsers. Franz Inc have indicated they will accomodate some of my
> wishes for the ACL 6.0 release. Until then, the ACL 4.3 manuals are
> still in use, simply because they are printed and bound.

Because I think Franz people read this, I'll add a `me too' to this,
even though they probably already know. Actually I would *really
like* paper manuals as printing and binding is a pain even with a
souped up double-sided printer which we don't currently have. I would
pay for these in fact.

--tim

Tim Bradshaw

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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* Bulent Murtezaoglu wrote:

> This will only help you if the vendor provides something that produces
> reasonable hard copy. I detest printing html.

This is even more offtopic...

I haven't actually tried it on Franz's documentation but there's a
wonderful program called html2ps which can do really quite a
reasonable job with a lot of HTML -- certainly enormously better than
Netscape and so on.

Actually it's a seriously horrible perl script, but it does work very
well, if slowly. (Except when new perl releases randomly break some
obscure part of perl requiring deeply obscure fixes. But that's perl
for you: a language defined by its single implementation which somehow
manages to have the kind of obscure compatibility problems I somehow
never see when porting between 3 CL systems on 3 OSs.)

--tim


Espen Vestre

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> writes:

> This is even more offtopic...
>
> I haven't actually tried it on Franz's documentation but there's a
> wonderful program called html2ps which can do really quite a
> reasonable job with a lot of HTML -- certainly enormously better than
> Netscape and so on.

I have, happy as clam, returned to LaTeX again for documentation.
With pdflatex which comes readily installed with the latest teTeX
(starting with version 1.0, I think) package, I deliver all the
pretty-looking documentation in PDF (in fact, I have completely
stopped creatin DVI, everything is compiled to PDF), and I publish
them on my own internal webserver in HTML, which is easily generated
from the LaTeX source with hyperlatex
(http://www.cs.ust.hk/~otfried/Hyperlatex/).

(I'm also considering using pdflatex as a means from auto-generating
reports and documentation from lisp programs, why wait for XML-
based tools to arrive when you can use the power of TeX?)
--
(espen)

Rudolf Schlatte

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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Espen Vestre <espen@*do-not-spam-me*.vestre.net> writes:

[...]


> (I'm also considering using pdflatex as a means from auto-generating
> reports and documentation from lisp programs, why wait for XML-
> based tools to arrive when you can use the power of TeX?)

You too?

Some time ago, I auto-generated huge amounts of useless documentation
doing something like:

(defun make-headers-document (infile outfile find-fn print-fn)
(with-open-file (instream infile)
(ltx:with-latex-document
(:output outfile :packages '(("babel" ("german"))
("inputenc" ("latin1"))
("fontenc" ("T1"))
("hyperlatex"))
:title (concatenate 'string "File: " infile)
:author "Rudi Schlatte")
(while-bind (next-block (funcall find-fn instream))
(funcall print-fn next-block)))))

find-fn snarfs a block of code (procedure or whatever), print-fn
semi-parses it and prints whatever it sees fit.

It is really a pleasure to see twenty-odd page documents of boring
documentation being churned out by a program instead of by myself...
I even made up some sort of markup for the comments in the source,
giving me a crude kind of literate programming. Perhaps I will play
with cross-indices a bit, then the documentation will be better than
written by hand (and always semi-accurate to boot).

I'm enclosing the Latex package; note that it is not very refined
since it was hacked together late one night; these are just the
building blocks. I will have some time and motivation to enhance it a
bit during the next month, though. Comments, Critique & Code welcome.


;;; -*- Lisp -*-

;;; Bare-bones Latex output from Common Lisp.
;;; Written by Rudi Schlatte <rsch...@ist.tu-graz.ac.at>
;;; Use it as you please.

;;; Issues:
;;; No math mode (did not need it for what this was written for)
;;; Almost no useful commands (there will be things like
;;; (section "The section title" :toc-entry "sec-title" :label "foo" ...)
;;; at some point in the future.

(defpackage "LATEX-GEN" (:nicknames "LTX") (:use "COMMON-LISP")
(:export "WITH-LATEX-DOCUMENT" "LATEX-COMMAND-0" "LATEX-COMMAND-1"
"WITH-LATEX-ENVIRONMENT" "OUTPUT" "LF" "PAR" "ESCAPE-CHARACTERS"))
(in-package "LATEX-GEN")

(defvar *latex-stream* cl:*standard-output*
"All Latex output goes here. Bound by with-latex-document macro.")

(defmacro while (test &body body)
`(loop (unless ,test (return))
,@body))

(defun output (control-string &rest arglist)
"Output to *latex-stream* as per format."
(apply #'format *latex-stream* control-string arglist))

(defun lf ()
"Latex linefeed."
(output "~&"))

(defun par ()
"Latex paragraph (empty line)."
(output "~&~%"))

(defun escape-characters (string
&optional (the-chars "$&%#_{}") (escape-char #\\))
(with-output-to-string (result-string)
(loop for char across string
when (find char the-chars :test #'char=)
do (write-char escape-char result-string)
do (write-char char result-string))
result-string))

(defun latex-option-list (string-list)
(format nil "~@[[~{~A~^,~}]~]" string-list))

(defun print-header (class option-list package-list title author date)
"Prints the LaTeX document preamble.
class: document class name.
option-list: list of document class options.
package-list: list with (package-to-use [(option-list)]) entries.
title: document title.
If nil, none of \\title, \\author, \\date will be printed.
author: document author
date: creation date. if nil, \\date will not be printed."
(output "\\documentclass~A{~A}~%"
(latex-option-list option-list) class)
(output
;; This is hairy; package name comes before list of options
;; but gets printed afterwards; also options can be non-existent,
;; so I test before jumping around in the arglist
"~@[~{~{\\usepackage~*~#[~;[~{~A~^,~}]~]{~@*~A}~%~#[~;~*~]~}~}~]~%~%"
package-list)
(when title
(latex-command-1 "title" title) (lf)
(latex-command-1 "author" author) (lf)
(when date
(latex-command-1 "date" date) (lf))
(par)))


(defmacro with-latex-environment ((name &optional option-list) &body body)
`(progn
(output ,(concatenate 'string "~&\\begin"
(latex-option-list option-list) "{" name "}~%"))
,@body
(output ,(concatenate 'string "~&\\end{" name "}~%"))))

(defun latex-command-0 (name)
"Output Latex command \"name\" (no arguments)"
(output "\\~A" name))

(defun latex-command-1 (name contents)
"Output Latex Command \"name\" (one mandatory argument)"
;; FIXME: We sanitize the contents string here, escaping LaTeX
;; special characters. This may not be the right thing for some
;; commands. Eventually, there will be (section "Foo") & Cie. and
;; they will take care of their arguments themselves.
(output "\\~A{~A}" name (escape-characters contents)))

(defmacro with-latex-document ((&key (output *standard-output*)
(class "article")
(options nil)
(packages nil)
(title nil)
(author "")
(date nil))
&rest body)
`(ctypecase ,output
(string (with-open-file (*latex-stream* ,output
:direction :output)
(print-header ,class ,options
,packages ,title
,author ,date)
(with-latex-environment ("document")
(when ,title
(latex-command-0 "maketitle") (par))
,@body)))
(stream (let ((*latex-stream* ,output))
(print-header ,class ,options ,packages ,title
,author ,date)
(with-latex-environment ("document")
(when ,title
(latex-command-0 "maketitle") (par))
,@body)))))


Paolo Amoroso

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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On Thu, 04 May 2000 18:40:40 +0100, Russell Wallace <rwal...@esatclear.ie>
wrote:

> I'm curious: what do you see as the navigation problem to which HTML
> missed the solution?

You may check the site of user interface and usability expert Jakob
Nielsen:

http://www.useit.com/

There are documents--be sure to peek around, I don't have the URLs
handy--where he states something along the lines that current Web
technology offers stone age tools compared to early hypertext research.


Paolo
--
EncyCMUCLopedia * Extensive collection of CMU Common Lisp documentation
http://cvs2.cons.org:8000/cmucl/doc/EncyCMUCLopedia/

Paolo Amoroso

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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On 05 May 2000 00:06:29 +0100, Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> wrote:

> browser I've ever used! (which I admit is basically just various
> incarnations of netscape and ie (as well I guess as mosaic and chimera
> in the old days)) I find the forward and back buttons terminally

If you have a Unix box handy, have a look at Lynx: you'll love it :)

Kragen Sitaker

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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In article <ey3snvx...@cley.com>, Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> wrote:
>(Actually, does anyone know how hard it would be to get netscape to
>tell some external program every time it visited a url?)

X11 Netscape has a window property _MOZILLA_URL that tells you what URL
it's at, and has at least since version 2.0. I seem to recall that,
with Xlib, you can use PropertyChangeMask to be notified when a window
property changes with XPropertyEvents, and I think you can then use
XGetTextProperty to get the URL.

I think you can use SubstructureNotifyMask on the root window to be
notified when new windows pop up.

Obviously there are race conditions all over the place here --- a new
Netscape window can visit several URLs before you manage to select
PropertyChangeMask on it, and the property could change several times
between when you handle the XPropertyEvent and when you manage to
XGetTextProperty.

ObLisp: Does anyone use CLX? Does it suck as badly as Xlib?
--
<kra...@pobox.com> Kragen Sitaker <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
The Internet stock bubble didn't burst on 1999-11-08. Hurrah!
<URL:http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/bubble.html>
The power didn't go out on 2000-01-01 either. :)

Erann Gat

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May 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM5/5/00
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