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MadderLib : a Sentence-Building DSL for the easily amused
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README.rdoc

MadderLib

A Sentence-Building DSL for the easily amused.

Overview

This is a library for describing the logic for building a sentence. Or, more specifically, for building an Array of Strings.

The steps involved are to:

  • create a MadderLib::Builder

  • define the MadderLib::Phrase objects which will comprise the sentence

  • define one or more MadderLib::Instruction objects for each Phrase (eg. its word(s))

  • execute the Builder to produce the result

A simple example would be:

require 'rubygems'
require 'madderlib'

puts madderlib {
  say 'hello,'
  say('welcome to').or.say("you're viewing")
  say('the README.doc')
}.sentence

Once constructed, the Builder contains all of the rules necessary to build and re-build its sentence. Within the builder, its Phrase and Instruction set can define:

  • the ordering of the Phrase

  • conditional interdependence of Phrases (eg. only say X if Y has already been said)

  • conditions for including / excluding a given Instruction (eg. only if a customer has enrolled in X)

  • the likelihood (odds) for choosing one Instruction over another within a given Phrase

  • how often an Instruction will repeat, if chosen

And other variations along that line.

Some of the more useful aspects of this library are:

  • the descriptive Builder syntax itself

  • a Builder, once defined, can be cloned and/or extended, allowing for re-use and re-purposing

  • extensive support for Procs / lambdas to allow for dynamic rules and content, vs. having to alter Builder logic

MadderLib::KernelMethods

A small set of methods are injected into the Kernel namespace / scope for easy creation of a Builder.

The most commonly used method would be madderlib; it initiates a Builder

MadderLib::Builder

The Builder and its methods provides access to all of the core capabilities of the library. Examples are provided in the documentation. Some good starters are:

  • Builder#append (extend)

  • Builder#clone

  • Builder#phrase (it)

  • Builder#and_then (and, then, also)

  • Builder#first

  • Builder#before

  • Builder#alternately (or)

  • Builder#sentence (to_s)

MadderLib::Phrase and MadderLib::Instruction

Each Phrase is a segement of the sentence, usually only a word or more. A Phrase is comprised of at least one Instruction, and perhaps more if there are multiple options. By and large, you won't even notice them as being separate from the Builder.

Some good examples are:

  • Phrase#alternately

  • AnytimePhrase#before

  • Instruction#speak

MadderLib::Conditional

These are additional aspects to the library which support various features. It's easiest to reference them by example:

  • Conditional::Allowed::Instruction#assuming (if)

  • Conditional::Likely::Instruction#likely (weight, odds)

  • Conditional::Repeat::Instruction#repeat

  • Conditional::Recur::Phrase#recur

Examples

This example comes from Snake 'n' Bacon (wiki.cantremember.com/Twitter/SnakeAndBacon):

builder = madderlib do
  say "i'm"

  and_then
  ['sometimes', 'always', nil].each {|word| alternately.say(word) }

  say('quite').or(2).say('rather').or(2).say('so').or.nothing

  say 'salty'
  ['smoky', 'peppery'].each {|word| alternately(2).say(word) }
end
builder.validate

5.times { puts builder.sentence }

This is one of the simpler Builders from The Conet Project (wiki.cantremember.com/Twitter/Conet):

builder = madderlib do
  meta[:audio] = [
    'http://www.archive.org/download/ird059/tcp_d1_06_the_lincolnshire_poacher_mi5_irdial.mp3',
    'http://www.archive.org/download/ird059/tcp_d3_02_iran_iraq_jamming_efficacy_testting_irdial.mp3',
  ]

  digits = lambda do |len|
    s = rand(10 ** len).to_s
    s = ('0' * (len - s.size)) + s
    s
  end

  say 'Lincolnshire Poacher'
  say { digits.call(5) }.repeat(10)

  say('~').repeat(6)

  200.times do
    say { s = digits.call(5); [s, s] }
  end

  say('~').repeat(6)

  say 'Lincolnshire Poacher'
end
builder.validate

5.times { puts builder.sentence }

Here is a rather boring example, yet which is a bit more practical:

user = Struct.new(:name)

builder = madderlib do
  setup {|context| context[:hour] ||= Time.new.hour }
  a(:morning).says('top of the morning,').if {|c| Range.new(8, 12).include?(c[:hour]) }
  say('good afternoon,').if {|c| Range.new(12, 17).include?(c[:hour]) }
  say("g'night").if {|c| Range.new(19, 24).include?(c[:hour]) }
  say {|c| c[:user].name + '.' }
end

puts builder.sentence {|c| c[:user] = user.new('joe')}

puts builder.sentence {|c|
  c[:user] = user.new('fred')
  c[:hour] = 13
}

extended = builder.clone.extend { say('have a nice day!').if(:morning) }
puts extended.sentence {|c|
  c[:user] = user.new('charlie')
  c[:hour] = 8
}

Contributing

Issue Tracking and Feature Requests

Community

Wiki

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