Zsh Mailing List Archive
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Re: Proposal to standardize the shell

I'm more interested in zsh for it's interactive features than it's      
scripting capabilities.  I think it would be very useful if the         
interactive features became standard.                                   

Some of the things I think that would be useful to standardize would    
include CSH-style history, and zsh-style completion.                    

Though it would also be useful if there were some additional work       
generalizing and developing some additional interactive features        
that are already in some shells.  Some of these topics to me would      
be command line correction, command line validation, command line       
prediction, and command line building.                                  

Command line correction: There are already several shells that will     
suggest alternatives to a command that is not found.  It would be great 
if that could be made more general to also correct arguments and flags 
of the command line.  This seems related to completion, though even    
with zsh's completion it's not easy to do.                              

Command line validation:  There are already several shells that         
provide some sort of "rm *" protection.  It would be great if this      
functionality could somehow be made more general to allow the shell to  
verify other dangerous/questionable commands.                           

Command line prediction: It would be great if the shell could           
effectively use command history and user hints to predict what the 
user wants to do next.  There has been some academic research in this   
area that might help.  Prediction is already effectively used in the    
text fields of GUI tools (e.g. web browsers).  And zsh has a prediction-like
widget based on completion.

Command line building:  The VMS OS could check command arguments before 
running the command, and ask the user for missing arguments.  It might  
be useful if the shells could also do this.                             

Some of these features might be done by providing some hooks into the   
shell and providing some good mechanisms for parsing command lines.     
Parsing is not easy to do from a script, it's a little more involved     
than just a getopt function. First one has to deal with the shell syntax,    
and then with the command line syntax of individual commands.  Shells    
make it easy to work with files and the filesystems.  It would be great 
if it was just as easy to work with command lines.                      

Another thing that might be useful to standardize is the API for        
loadable modules.  Not sure if that can be done in a generic way across 
shells, but providing a mechanism for extensions that could be written  
in other languages would be very useful.  I would expect that it would  
be possible to use C/C++ and Java to write such modules/extensions.     

I would be interested in hearing discussions (e.g. mailing              
list/archive) of the enhanced shell standard.                          


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