I think unambiguous, concise and simple win everytime when it comes to specs. People seem to spend hours (if not days) arguing over an ambiguity I can just imagine the arguments "the time in a date cannot be 25!" "Yes it can the BNF only specifies 2DIGIT).
In terms of simplicity, wouldn't syntax diagrams, as used by Douglas Crockford, be a good alternative to a BNF?
While I've stated my position before on what I see as the follies of separation of Ren from the Rebol format (a topic for another time, another day), I still have an interest in the formalisation of the Rebol/Ren/Red format and am eager to share any efforts I produce to this end. As such, I'd also like express disappointment that there is a whole body of discussion on this topic in a closed space (AltMe) that is ornery to access with no public reflection. It's not my wish to open another [web-public] debate, rather just a request to reconsider this place as the main repository of thought on the formulisation of the Ren format (if indeed this is Ren HQ). Looking here and on SO Chat, I see two discussions that seem oblivious to the ideas of the other (and no, SO Chat would not be my preferred choice either).
'will a more complex grammar and stricter spec scare people off[?]' I'm of the opinion that it's better to get as close as possible to a precise spec. It'll lack the concise representation that JSON has, but then it's never going to beat JSON for brevity anyway. Ever.
I agree a central place to chat would be great, but I don't find SO effective either. Do you have another suggestion? And who else wants to take part that finds altme ornery to access? My intent is not to be private, but to make the best use of my time.
Good point on never beating JSON for brevity. The hard part is not knowing how far out to push before we hit a point that turns people away.
We all seem to agree that specific is good. Unfortunately, specifically "what", WRT time for example.
And I am oblivious to chat elsewhere about it. Where is it?
Well, on one hand, it is good, that the community got to more public space, as SO serves as a stop-by channel for occassional lurkers, potentially interested in Rebol. On the other hand, it caused altme, which is much better for separated/private discussions, to almost die off. I don't understand the obstacle, it takes 1 minute to set-up and few secs to log-in. I will not even answer to the stubborn argument as of BrianH for eg. - I have not alme installed anymore and I will not do so :-)
SO definitely is much worse for a structured chat, cause of the nature of everything-fits-one-channel. And with various topics, the noise is quite high. I think there might be several options:
- new chat/talk system ... we speculated about some, but never tried anything else imo ... - google groups + wiki - it is public, can have threads/topics related to Ren, more formal proposals/summaries being written into wiki - altme + wiki - dtto
As for Google groups - it is like a forum. We can have several named threads there. Those might get long in nature, but we can continue with Topic name 2, 3, 4, etc. Rebol google group kind of died off, maybe it could make it lively again and Rebol would benefit, because if someone looks there nowadays, it seems like Rebol has zero activity there ...
Trello was one option I was thinking of that certainly would suit the endeavour, but may or may not be a conduit for free-flowing ideas--not sure.
Wrt. railroad diagrams: my point was that if you specify first in BNF, then the Railroad diagrams come for free...
Isn't Trello just a tasking system? I have to miss on its certain functionality?
Wrt. other discussions--kind of makes my point. There has been discourse off and on in SO Chat on various issues: none, logic, map, urls, paths, plan -4. Again, wasn't suggesting it as the canonical source. It has flaws as you say...
Pekr, Trello--it's tasking, organising, cork-board, even chat. Also not without flaws--I'd like it better if it had a better resume of updates...
Perhaps a bit premature question. Will REN date/time format be prepared for the Mars One project? http://www.mars-one.com/
Given the API though, it's not inconceivable that you could actually coalesce a specification there and generate a specification page based on the contents of a column.
Re. AltMe, I don't believe I'm the only one to find it ornery. Might be that it's just so awkward on OS X--even when you bundle it. Other things too.
OS X, ah yes. Ornery indeed. And there are other chat systems out there, but I really want to hear from a champion who knows one works really well, rather than just hoping it will be better.