Web Linguistics : Towards Higher Fluency
About Arne Brasseur
Arne is a professional software developer focused on web development. He's been passionate about Ruby since 2006, but has only really become involved in the community after moving to Berlin in 2012.
He has worked in various fields, from e-commerce for telecom, concert tickets and resale, to medical OCR/OMR applications, and has made contributions to several Free and Open Source projects. His personal interests include both natural and formal languages, and he spent the best of two years in the far east learning to speak and write Chinese.
Plain text strings are the bread and butter of web programming. When programming for the web one juggles an amazing amount of different languages. However, these strings that we generate are actually plain text representations of data structures. They need to be serialized to be sent over the wire, but that doesn't need to happen until the data leaves the application.
Instead we often end up generating and manipulating textual representations directly. This may seem easier at first, but keeping in mind the subtleties of the representation is hard work, and slipping up can cost us dearly, just think of SQL injection attacks or cross-site scripting.
Security isn't the only reason to rethink how we deal with plain text I/O in our apps. By manipulating data structures rather than strings, we could be coding and reasoning at a higher level.
In this talk you will get a critical assessment of how Ruby apps tend to deal with parsing and generating web related languages. It will make you think, and look at your old code with new eyes. We will have a look at what tooling is there, and which parts are missing, showing practical examples of how you could be doing things differently.