On 2/10/07, mathew <meta / pobox.com> wrote:
> On 2/8/07, Steven Lumos <steven / lumos.us> wrote:
> > There must be some kind of impedance mismatch going on here.  Is
> > somebody really arguing that maybe it should NOT be possible to read
> > binary data into a String and process individual bytes efficiently?
> It shouldn't be something that a lot of time is spent optimizing, for sure.

Disagree. Different problem classes need different solutions. Ruby has
a wide class of both sets of problem classes currently in use.

> > Maybe you mean to argue that String should not be used for non-textual
> > data, even though it always has been before.  In that case maybe we
> > need something like NArray in core.  (In core, not ext, please.)
> Correct. As Unicode becomes ever more pervasive, Ruby's lack of
> support for it becomes an increasing liability. However, the downside
> of Unicode is that programmers absolutely must stop thinking of
> strings as arrays of 8-bit bytes.

Once again: Unicode Isn't The Answer To Everything Textual. It hasn't
ever been. It (likely) won't ever be. Historical bodies of digitized
text prove that, if nothing else.

> If you want to process chunks of 8-bit data, you should process them
> as arrays of bytes. Perhaps a ByteString class (that behaves like Ruby
> 1.8 strings) would be useful?

This is something I'll oppose because it's shortsighted and ultimately
broken (do you people who make this suggestion *really* want to double
the size of the IO API just because you're not comfortable with the
idea of an encoding attribute on a string?).

Listen to what Matz has said he's doing for M17n strings that have
alternative encodings available. I'm not Tim Bray, but I've done
enough with input from various sources to know that what Matz is
suggesting is going to provide people who need the so-called
simplicity of Unicode what they need (and for the people who think
that simply having native Unicode in Ruby is going to solve their
problems, they've got many other thinks coming) while not forcing the
rest of us to work with one hand tied behind our back when we don't
need Unicode.

-austin
-- 
Austin Ziegler * halostatue / gmail.com * http://www.halostatue.ca/
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