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The Trouble with Searching for Open-Source Code

16 replies on 2 pages. Most recent reply: Oct 28, 2005 3:14 PM by Max Lybbert

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Max Lybbert

Posts: 314
Nickname: mlybbert
Registered: Apr, 2005

Re: feature models ? Posted: Oct 28, 2005 3:09 PM
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Boost is a collection of C++ libraries. The maintainers receive a ton of suggested improvements. They have a few possible options:

(1) Require every suggestion be fully written in C++ (this isn't truly acceptable because many of the suggestions are "could you please write this in C++?");

(2) Ask for suggestions written in very clear, precise, technical English (yeah right);

(3) Write suggestions in some kind of pseudocode or domain-specific lanuguage.

I understand the feature model to be a domain-specific lanugaauge designed by honest programmers to describe things at a high enough level to be understandable, but at a low enough level to be useful.

Yes, UML would be a potential possibility. But a text-based system makes search a little easier. Of course, there are ways (I've heard) to translate UML into text, but that's another issue.

Max Lybbert

Posts: 314
Nickname: mlybbert
Registered: Apr, 2005

My point about feature models Posted: Oct 28, 2005 3:14 PM
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My point, BTW, is that I, as a searcher, can say "I'd like a feature (that may be a function, functor, mixin, class, component, etc.) that is guaranteed to x, y, z, and may q, r, s." The database can then be searched to see if anything matches the signature.

Yes, it can be difficult to come up with a common vocabulary (one of the big problems with patent searches). Perhaps it would be possible to permit me to make up my own vocabulary so long as I define any made up words ("a snarfblat is any feature that has the following elements").

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