Common Lisp conditions


#1

Hi,

So far as the search engine on this newsgroup is concerned, there’s
been no discussion about including a Common Lisp-style condition
system in a future version of Ruby. For information about these, [1]
is a good readable resource.

For those who don’t know what they offer above normal exception-
handling (as we know it in Ruby, Java, C++, …), conditions need not
be errors and they need not unwind the stack. A low-level function
can signal that something is wrong, and provide multiple ways of
handling it (which is appropriate, because the handling code is low-
level). A high-level function can receive the signal and choose which
low-level handler to run, or can “handle” it itself or ignore it (the
latter two options being what’s available in Ruby etc.). Another good
example is low-level code issuing a warning and higher-level code
deciding whether to print it. It’s very elegant.

For those who do know about Common Lisp conditions, is there any
appetite for them in Ruby? I see great positives and no negatives.
They don’t seem at all un-Ruby-like; in fact the relationship between
high- and low-level code reminds me of the elegance of blocks and
yield.

After a small amount of thought, I haven’t come up with a suitable
syntax. That’s probably because I haven’t used the things, only read
about them.

Just curious about people’s thoughts, and quietly hopeful for Ruby
2.0 :slight_smile:

Gavin

[1]
http://gigamonkeys.com/book/beyond-exception-handling-conditions-and-restarts.html


#2

Gavin S. wrote:

So far as the search engine on this newsgroup is concerned, there’s
been no discussion about including a Common Lisp-style condition
system in a future version of Ruby.
[…]
For those who do know about Common Lisp conditions, is there any
appetite for them in Ruby? I see great positives and no negatives.
They don’t seem at all un-Ruby-like; in fact the relationship between
high- and low-level code reminds me of the elegance of blocks and
yield.

They seem to work very well in Ola B.'s new language Ioke
(http://Ioke.Org/), which borrows heavily from Ruby. So, I agree:
they would fit very well. Replacing Exceptions with Conditions could
probably even be done in a (somewhat) backwards-compatible way. Maybe
they could replace throw/catch, too.

After a small amount of thought, I haven’t come up with a suitable
syntax. That’s probably because I haven’t used the things, only read
about them.

I just tried converting the example from Practical Common Lisp, but it
isn’t too pretty. I hope that’s because I mis-translated the original
procedural Common Lisp into pseudo-OO Ruby and not because my chosen
syntax is ugly.

class MalformedLogEntryError < RuntimeError
  def initialize text
    @text = text
  end
  attr_reader :text
end

class LogEntryParser
  def parse_log_entry text
    error MalformedLogEntryError.new(text) unless 

text.wellformed_log_entry?
LogEntry.new( … )
restart use_value(value)
value
restart reparse_entry(fixed_text)
parse_log_entry fixed_text
end
end

class LogfileParser
  def parse_log_file file
    File.each_line(file).map do |line|
      begin
        @log_entry_parser.parse_log_entry text
      restart skip_log_entry
        nil
      end
    end
  end
end

class LogAnalyzer
  def main
    find_all_logs.each do |log|
      analyze_log log
    end
  handle MalformedLogEntryError
    restart skip_log_entry
  end

  def analyze_log log
    @logfile_parser.parse_log_file(log).each do |entry|
      analyze_entry entry
    end
  end
end

class StrictLogAnalyzer # Annotates malformed entries instead of 

ignoring
def main
super
handle MalformedLogEntryError => c
MalformedLogEntry.new(c.text)
end
end

jwm


#3

Gavin S. wrote:

So far as the search engine on this newsgroup is concerned, there’s
been no discussion about including a Common Lisp-style condition
system in a future version of Ruby.
[…]
For those who do know about Common Lisp conditions, is there any
appetite for them in Ruby? I see great positives and no negatives.
They don’t seem at all un-Ruby-like; in fact the relationship between
high- and low-level code reminds me of the elegance of blocks and
yield.

They seem to work very well in Ola B.'s new language Ioke
(http://Ioke.Org/), which borrows heavily from Ruby. So, I agree:
they would fit very well. Replacing Exceptions with Conditions could
probably even be done in a (somewhat) backwards-compatible way. Maybe
they could replace throw/catch, too.

After a small amount of thought, I haven’t come up with a suitable
syntax. That’s probably because I haven’t used the things, only read
about them.

[Supersede: my original article had an example translation of the code
example from the book Practical Common Lisp, but my translation was,
for lack of a better word, bullshit. So I deleted it.]

jwm


#4

On Feb 27, 8:03 am, Christopher D. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Exceptions don’t need to be errors in Ruby, though conventionally they
are used for that and throw/catch for similar non-errors. As far as
the additional functionality of conditions, its not that hard to
implement at least what I see as the most important one (restarts) on
top of Ruby’s existing exception-handling using continuations, e.g.,
in Ruby 1.8 (and, I would presume, Ruby 1.9 with the addition of
“require ‘continuation’” at the top:

[code snipped]

That’s very impressive and interesting, Christopher. Thanks!

Gavin


#5

On 2/23/09, Gavin S. removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

can signal that something is wrong, and provide multiple ways of
high- and low-level code reminds me of the elegance of blocks and

[1]
http://gigamonkeys.com/book/beyond-exception-handling-conditions-and-restarts.html

Exceptions don’t need to be errors in Ruby, though conventionally they
are used for that and throw/catch for similar non-errors. As far as
the additional functionality of conditions, its not that hard to
implement at least what I see as the most important one (restarts) on
top of Ruby’s existing exception-handling using continuations, e.g.,
in Ruby 1.8 (and, I would presume, Ruby 1.9 with the addition of
“require ‘continuation’” at the top:

This code is untested on any but the demo case at the end.

class Condition < Exception

FAIL = Object.new

def self.alert(*args)
block = (block_given? ? lambda { |c| yield c } : nil)
callcc { |cont| raise self.new(cont, block, *args) }
end

def initialize(c, block, *args)
@continuation = c
@restarts = {}
block.call(self) if block
end

def add_restart(restart_name, &block)
@restarts[restart_name] = lambda do |*args|
result=block.call(self, *args)
@continuation.call(*result) unless result==FAIL
nil
end
self
end

def restarts
@restarts.dup
end

def restart(restart_name, *args)
@restarts[restart_name].call(*args) if @restarts.include?
restart_name
end
end

class BadValueCondition < Condition
attr_reader :value

def initialize(c, block, val, *args)
@value = val
super
end
end

def process_value(val)
if (val.div 2) == (val.quo 2)
BadValueCondition.alert(val)
else
val.to_s
end
end

def process(range)
range.map { |val| process_value(val) }.compact
rescue BadValueCondition => c
c.add_restart(:ignore) {}
c.add_restart(:substitute_warning) { |c, *args| “Bad: #{c.value}” }
raise
end

[:ignore, :substitute_warning].each do |strategy|
begin
puts “\n—\nDemonstrating restart #{strategy.inspect}”
arr = process(1…10)
puts arr.join("\n")
rescue BadValueCondition => c
c.restart(strategy)
raise
end
end