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I have seen a variety of styles used to distinguish between literals and non-literals in examples of Linux syntax. (I don't know if I'm using the right terminology, and I don't know if the literal I'm referring to here has much or any relation to a literal in Perl -- it would advance my Perl knowledge if I figured that out.)

Example: I see things like:

program_directory = /some/where/postfix/bin

... to indicate that part of the path to be specified for program_directory is exactly as stated (i.e., literal -- the /postfix/bin part) and another part is only an example (i.e., non-literal -- the /some/where part) and should be replaced by whatever is correct for the specific circumstances.

I am more used to and prefer to see:

program_directory = /<some>/<where>/postfix/bin

... -- my eyes / brain recognize it more quickly.

Actually, I'm even more used to something like:

program_directory = <path>/postfix/bin

or

program_directory = <absolute_path>/postfix/bin

Aside: But I should laugh at myself -- this contradicts my preferred approach of specifying keys as, for example, <enter>, <ctrl>, <F1> and so on -- in this case the text within the angle brackets is literal (I think) and in the previous case the text within the angle brackets is non-literal.

Aside: Maybe the intention in the example that started this page is that the entire path (/some/where/postfix/bin) is non-literal, but, if so, that just reinforces that writing it as shown is confusing, at least to me.

Aside: Or maybe, stating the driving reason for this page in a different way: I can usually figure out what someone means by /some/where/postfix/bin, but it usually takes me longer than if I see /<some>/<where>/postfix/bin or <path>/postfix/bin.

If I'm the only one with that problem, I should just re-train myself and move on. I don't think I'm the only one with the problem, so the question (for me) becomes what should be done about it, if anything?

The purpose of this page is twofold:

  • to list and call attention to the various ways used to present literals and non-literals in syntax examples, so that people (me) are familiar with those alternates and can recognize the intent quicker

  • to attempt to agree on what might be the best syntax for such syntax examples and then attempt to influence the world to use those syntaxes. (I'm not ambitious, am I wink and I'm using syntax to refer to two different things here -- examples that attempt to show syntax and, the syntax used in those examples -- need to get rid of one use to make this more clear.)

See AboutThesePages.

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Contributors

  • () RandyKramer - 04 Sep 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

[[Main.RandyKramer#04 Sep 2002][]]

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Topic revision: r2 - 2002-09-04 - RandyKramer
 
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