[TUHS] Systematic approach to command-line interfaces

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Tue Aug 3 06:55:32 AEST 2021

On Mon, Aug 2, 2021 at 2:16 PM Adam Thornton <athornton at gmail.com> wrote:

> fork() is a great model for a single-threaded text processing pipeline to
> do automated typesetting.  (More generally, anything that is a
> straightforward composition of filter/transform stages.)  Which is, y'know,
> what Unix is *for*.

Indeed.  But it's also a very good model for "baking" web pages in the
background so that you can serve them up with a plain dumb web server,
maybe with a bit of JS to provide some auto-updating, especially if the
source data is stored not in a database but in the file system.  The result
is a page that displays (modulo network latency) as fast as you can hit the
Enter key in the address bar.

(The weak point is the lack of dependency management when the system is too
big to rebake all the pages each time.  Perhaps make(1), which Alex Shinn
described as "a beautiful little Prolog for the file system", is the Right
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