Corrections to ACD Syntax manual

Peter Rice Peter.Rice at
Thu Feb 8 15:48:03 UTC 2001

James Bonfield wrote:
> "The first token in the file must be "application" directly followed by a
> colon ':' or an equal sign '='."
> I think the phrase "directly followed" is misleading, as "token : value" is
> just as valid as "token: value". Whether this is deliberate or not I do not
> know, but I see both examples liberally used.

The original parser was very forgiving. It allows a few other formats too. It
should be fixed. Meanwhile, the documentation can be economical with the truth
by only giving the officially approved style.

> 2. "Values can be delimited (i.e. treated as one token) by any of the
> following pairs, which are stripped as the value is parsed :
>           '' {} () [] <>
> The only quoting I find used is double quotes, which isn't listed above.

Oops. Never noticed that one. Thanks.

> I also wonder whether this many quoting styles is just a symptom of the lack
> of escaping mechanism. Adding backslash support would probably allow great
> simplification of this.

Spot on there. Plus it was great fun to write :-)

The alternatives never caught on, and others have pointed out that the
brackets could be useful for alternative forms of syntax (lists of values, for
example) in some future release.

Should be fixed - at least backslash support should be added.

Probably not the highest priority, something for the weekend perhaps.

Peter Rice, LION Bioscience Ltd, Cambridge, UK
peter.rice at +44 1223 224723

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