Category: Parsers


Today we launched a site to host dotless – less css for .NET and decided to tweet about it a little. Now the fact that I’m new to twitter and generally don’t have anything interesting to tweet about means I have about 3 followers. Some of the guys in and out of the dotless project however a slightly larger following, hence 1 hour in and we have had ~120 viewers.

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nLess – Less Css For .NET

While the world ticks by and time to play with personal open source projects gets more and more limited it seemed like the best thing to do was to push live what I have with regards to my .NET version of  the Less library. With this in mind I have pushed my latest code up to codeplex at: http://nlesscss.codeplex.com/

When time permits(i.e. when I find a stable contract for a few months)  I’ll get back to working on the project, but until then enjoy the codeplex release.

EDIT: We now have a shiny new home for the .NET Less port – www.dotlesscss.com

The tortoise and the hair

Today I learned that I was not the only one who though LessCss warrented porting to the .NET world, it appears that Erik van Brakel at smooth friction may have piped me to the post.  Looking at his project it seems I may be a few steps behind, though he also doesn’t have the Less spec tests passing.

So what do I do with this new information? Should I throw the towel in now? Well, maybe, but I have put too much time in to not finish my port, even if it ends up been more of a ill performant hack job than Erik achieves.  Time will see how it all plays out, but either way its been a great learning curve and Im glad there are people out there filling gaps who are happy to take on these types of projects.

Playing with PEGs

Im now part way through the Less CSS port and i am getting close to porting the core libary for programatically building the Less nodes that are evauated to create CSS. This now seems like a good time to look at the parsing element of the project.  Less originally uses a TreeTop as its parser libary, which I gather is a really powerful PEG/PackRat parser.  Now it should be said at this point that I know even less about parsing theory than I do about Ruby (why did I start this!).

My first steps here are to find out what the darn tootin’ a PEG parser is and see what C# had to offer. After a few hours hunting the bad news is that the .NET world has very little to compete with TreeTop although I did find a very detailed article about PEG parsers with a little implementation of one.  After downloading the code I can see that this is more than a “little implementation”, there has been a hell of a lot of work done on this project and it looks promising for a TT alternitive.