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Re: Editfiles Considered Harmful (was: Re: Complex Editfiles Examples)


From: Mark Burgess
Subject: Re: Editfiles Considered Harmful (was: Re: Complex Editfiles Examples)
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 10:24:27 +0100 (MET)

On  4 Dec, Alexander Jolk wrote:
> Eric Sorenson wrote:
>> Seriously though, I would like to hear any criticism or feedback on
>> the above -- if there's something that just doesn't fit into this
>> model, or maybe some loon^H^H^H^Hfine person who feels as strongly
>> Pro-editfiles as I do Anti-, I'd welcome the dialog.
> 
> Very reasonable arguments that you are citing.  I have one argument
> *for* editfiles: it makes it very easy to see what has been changed. 
> Instead of having a long config file in CVS, which is almost identical
> to the `factory-supplied' one, I can have just two lines detailing
> what I change.  But as you say, this only holds if I can be sure of
> the file's previous contents, so my point might be moot.
> 
> Alex
> 


What cfengine does not protect you from (*especially* with editfiles)
is Occam's Razor. It is always a matter for careful consideration what
is the simplest and therefore more predictable/reliable solution to a
problem.

Sometimes that *is* editfiles. But -- in exactly the same way I treat
huge Perl programs with suspicion -- I would be suspicious of complex
edits. That is not what it was intended for.

However, the bottom line is predictability: how do you ensure that?
If you can guarantee with high probability that a huge editfiles
stanza is predictable - no problem.

Answers are never black and white,

M

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