[sc34wg3] CTM: Semicolons

Jaeho Lee jaeho at uos.ac.kr
Tue Feb 3 18:07:27 EST 2009

I would like to state to the Editor my  preference of "Don't make me
think"-principal over aestheticism. 
I think DMMT is a good summarized rationale for conceptual compactness as
well as syntactic one. 

 Jaeho Lee
 Email:     jaeho at uos.ac.kr

Hi Lars,

> I find this difficult, I must say. I really don't want the wretched
> things at all, and now here we sit trying to judge where to put this
> pollution and where to leave it out, while the people who wanted extra
> punctuation are silent. So effectively we're having to work out the
> details of a policy we disagree with.

That's a very good summary of the situation.

> If you want to make an appeal to the community for a decision I'll be
> happy to help you with that, but until that happens I'm going to take
> the presence of semicolons all over this otherwise lovely syntax as a
> given.

Do you have something in mind how to ask the community? The last
attempt to discuss the semicolons in the Infoloom list was not very

> So I guess what this boils down to is: I'd rather not have semicolons
> anywhere other than between topic block properties, but I can live
> with this. If you seriously do prefer to have them everywhere, and
> nobody else speaks up, I think we should let you decide, since you are
> the editor.

Ha, ha. I'd like to kick semicolons, but I understand the comments I
received from the tutorial. These comments are somehow aligned to the
"Don't make me think"-principal: The user has to remember to add a
semicolon after a template invocation within a topic-block but she
must avoid that semicolon if the invokes a template outside of a
topic-block. This could be strange to explain.

The problem is, as you've pointed out, that the semicolons were
introduced artificially. There was never a technical need for them. If
we'd have a technical need, it would be very easy to decide where to
put semicolons and where to leave them out.

Due to our change of the mergemap-directive it requires a semicolon
now and it makes sense (even if I think a dot ('.') would fit better).
Further it makes sense to align the the syntax of the other directives
that they require a semicolon otherwise the user would be confused.

I have to admit that I am a bit stuck with the semicolon issue. I
don't know which way to go. Either input from the semicolon-lovers
would be good or a hint from the community would be helpful.

Best regards,

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