August 10, 2009

Balisage 2009 - Efficient Scripting

David Lee, Epocrates (with a writing assist from Norman Walsh, Mark Logic) discussed Efficient Scripting (Submitted Paper). Scripting is useful for splitting complex workflows into manageable tasks that are easier to debug and easier to develop than with programming languages; the piece part solutions can be glued together later. Lee devised 5 kinds of test cases (2 were baselines) for 4 scripting languages: DOS and bash (Cygwin implementation), xmlsh and xproc (calabash is Norm Walsh’s early XProc implementation). The 2 XML scripting languages performed significantly better than the other two. With approximately 600 XSLT and XQuery operations, xmlsh and xproc yielded 50-75 fold improvement. With 3,000 operations, there was a 150-fold improvement. I believe Lee said there was a 150-200-fold improvement when there were approximately 30,000 operations. It should be noted that the chosen test cases focus on areas where scripting performs worst.

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