I've been frustrated by trying to fix problems in nuweb. It can be really hard to work out how to make a change - for example, how to fix bug 2965157 - if it is indeed a bug!
Part of this is down to the fact that nuweb is implemented in C, but I think that mostly it's because we developers haven't treated it as a proper Literate Programming project. There ought to be some explanation of why (referring to 2965157 again) there's a scrap reference inside the parameter list. I think (from discussion on the nuweb-users mailing list) that it was deliberate, but I see no clue as to the intention.
As another problem (far from the only one!), what is a block comment?
Anyway, to scratch this itch I've been reworking nuweb in Python (nuweb.py).
So far, the parts implemented (you may like to refer to the nuweb User Guide [PDF]) are:
@O, but no flags)
@D, but no flags)
@uout a little differently)
@%(anywhere in the document, not just in scraps)
@#(put code line at left margin)
@@handling (this one was tricky, and I may not have caught all the cases)
-r(generate hyperlinks), aliased
It won't handle the current
nuweb.w, because that web uses new-style parameters. However, it will process it and generate LaTeX.
nuweb.w reveals one shortcoming in the Python version, which is that it's slow at processing user-defined identifiers. It takes 8s on this Macbook Pro to process
nuweb.w, against 0.07s for the C version. The fix for this (if it's worth it; the other webs I have take about a second overall, which isn't very painful) may be to implement the string search which nuweb.w uses, though a quick trial of acora suggests that a pure Python implementation will be slower than the current
re-based implementation in
So why haven't I written
nuweb.py as a web? I suppose the answer is, that I've been exploring the problem while writing the code, which doesn't seem to be a very "literate" approach. Now that the overall structure is reasonably clear, maybe it can be webified. That would at least force me to provide some user-oriented documentation!