[uf-discuss] Scraping or parsing?

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at gmail.com
Sun Mar 4 18:31:51 PST 2007

Karl Dubost wrote:
> There are two schools of thinking, one of which I believe
> to be severely flawed:
> IMHO, more than that. :) as there are nuances in between.


> > 	A.) Don't worry about the syntax or how it is
> > implemented, the tools will take care of make it easy.
> > 	B.) Don't even think about tools until it can be done
> > and easily understood by a human. Only then should
> > tools be created.
> > 
> > Of course I strongly believe that "A" is the flaw
> > perspective although I know there are many people in
> > that camp, you (it appears) included.
> > 
> still, it depends on the context. All is a question of
> context.

I'll reserve my opinion for each context until its use-case is presented to
me. :)
> > The technologies that work are the ones that are
> > designed for humans first, with humans with tools
> > second. If it can't be done in Notepad or VIM, it's
> > probably a bad idea.
> > 
> png, jpeg, gif, illustrator files, pdf, videos format?

I'll give you those, but there is something fundamentally different about
them, i.e. they are for visual presentation not logic and data encoding. And
there is SVG. Still, I have to ponder why tools have worked there but not
elsewhere.  It could be simply because their level of complexity in text
would be far beyond what a human could comprehend.

> But you might say that they are difficult formats, so
> what about email, usenet, chat messenging, irc. How many
> of us are editing the simple headers of emails by hand?
> :)

Ah, but I would argue they were *first* a format that did not require tools
for humans easily to understand, and later tools were added.  I don't
complain about tools, on the contrary I like them. I just think the
underlying format should not be forgiven its complexity because of a faint
hope that future tools that will make everything alright.

> It doesn't make your point invalid, it is just that it is
> not black and white :) 

heh. For someone who generally never sees anything but shades of grey, I
certainly would be a hypocrite if I were to disagree with you there! :)

> It depends on the context and the
> way the technology has been developed, and its level of
> maturity.

But wouldn't you agree, people tend to use the promise of a tool as a crutch
when they should instead strive to make things in the raw grokable by humans

-Mike Schinkel
http://atlanta-web.org - http://t.oolicio.us
"It never ceases to amaze how many people will proactively debate away
attempts to improve the web..."

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