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[ANN] Finite State Ma-thing 0.6

 
 
Gavin Kistner
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      05-27-2005
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Announcing the "Finite State Ma-thing", a base class to make it easy
to implement a state-machine-like jobber.

'Tis a simple class at the core, but a powerful abstraction. (Ruby is
so good at that.)


See the documentation (with pretty picture!) at http://phrogz.net/
RubyLibs/FiniteStateMathing/, which also has a link to the full
source code, and includes an example.

I used this as a proof-of-concept for a half-assed XML parser (behold
the horror! at http://phrogz.net/tmp/XML_FSM.png), that sort of acts
like a SAX parser. I don't know much about Finite State Machines or
their theory, but the beauty of the solutions that FiniteStateMathing
allows is that you _mostly_ use state to figure out what to do, but
also have all the power of instance variables and methods at your
disposal to help you along.

Because I wanted to allow _any_ object as a state, and because I
could not find a way to invoke a class-scoped block to be executed
(with parameter) in the scope of the instance, I'm using the
#define_method hack suggested by Pit Captain, made uglier by me
because (for uniqueness) all the method names are based off of the
#object_id of the state.

This class was mostly an educational exercise for me. Please help
further my education: gimme a holla if you see inefficiencies, have
suggestions for cleaner ways to implement existing code, or envision
cool features or cleaner interfaces.

Enjoy!

--
"When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only
think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if
the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
- R. Buckminster Fuller


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