start with the end-user -- the big secret

Bowerbird at Bowerbird at
Thu Oct 20 18:15:05 EDT 2011

to nobody in particular, and all of you markdown in general!


i fully understand why it "seems" straightforward to you.

but you're doing it ass-backward.

if you're trying to develop a parser, you're doing it backward.

you need to start with the end-user.

figure out how you're gonna explain it to the average person.

then work your way back from there.

i've told you "the big secret" before. i'll tell you again:

> the big secret -- split the text-file on blank lines

each of the "chunks" in your model must be delimited with
blank lines; that's something easy everyone can understand.

if your model must change to accommodate that, change it.

then step through the "chunks" and analyze as necessary.

you will find that it's simple. and easy to explain to users.
they'll have a solid mental model. everything will be clear.
you'll wonder why you ever thought this was difficult, and
shake your head at your clumsy-ass reg-ex in retrospect.

it's like solving a maze -- if you start at the exit-point,
it's really easy to work your way back to the beginning.

start at the end. start at the end-user. you're welcome.

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