About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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The secret to editing your work is simple: you need to become its reader instead of its writer. It turns out that the perfect state of mind to edit your novel is two years after it's published, ten minutes before you go on stage at a literary festival. At that moment every redundant phrase, each show-off, pointless metaphor, all of the pieces of dead wood, stupidity, vanity, and tedium are distressingly obvious to you.

Zadie Smith



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 5/20/2016

Totals
Posts - 2382
Comments - 2536
Hits - 1,846,604

Averages
Entries/day - 0.51
Comments/entry - 1.06
Hits/day - 392

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 11:31 PM Pacific


  10:07 PM

It's kind of pointless for me to be quoting Scott Hanselman -- if you like the following, you probably saw it weeks ago -- but I laughed when I read it, so here goes. This is buried in a tech post about stripping empty XML elements:
The early versions of the Rectifier used an uber-regular expression to strip out these tags from the source string. This system returns a full XML Document string, not an XmlReader or IXPathNavigable.

I heard a cool quote yesterday at the Portland NerdDinner while we were planning the CodeCamp.

"So you've got a problem, and you've decided to solve it with Regular Expressions. Now you've got two problems."

Since the size of the documents we passed through this system were between 10k and 100k the performance of the RegEx, especially when it's compiled and cached was fine. Didn't give it a thought for years. It worked and it worked well. It looked like this:

private static Regex regex = new Regex(@"\<[\w-_.: ]*\>\<\!\[CDATA\[\]\]\>\|\<[\w-_.: ]*\>\|<[\w-_.: ]*/\>|\<[\w-_.: ]*[/]+\>|\<[\w-_.: ]*[\s]xmlns[:\w]*=""[\w-/_.: ]*""\>\|<[\w-_.: ]*[\s]xmlns[:\w]*=""[\w-/_.: ]*""[\s]*/\>|\<[\w-_.: ]*[\s]xmlns[:\w]*=""[\w-/_.: ]*""\>\<\!\[CDATA\[\]\]\>\",RegexOptions.Compiled);

Stuff like this has what I call a "High Bus Factor." That means if the developer who wrote it is hit by a bus, you're screwed. It's nice to create a solution that anyone can sit down and start working on and this isn't one of them.

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