(This is an entry for the "Most Beautiful Hack" prize)

Introduction

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sed is a unix utility for transforming text. It provides a simple programming language for matching and replacing text. Given its limited features, it was never designed as a general purpose programming language. However, it is an extremely versatile tool and can be used to solve problems way beyond the domain of simple text transformation. This is a proof-of-concept implementation of a maze solver written in sed.

How it works

The algorithm is a breadth-first search expressed as a cellular automaton. The rules of this automaton are simulated using sed's substitution command.

That's the high level overview. The actual implementation is challenging and ended up messier than I would have liked. The main difficulty lies in the lack of the luxuries usually provided in a regular programming language such as:

  • arithmetic
  • data types other than strings
  • more than 2 "variables"

Also, sed regex lacks features present in other regex systems such as PCRE (non-greedy matching, lookaheads, etc).

Why

Why not?

Built With

  • sed
+ 2 more
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