At long last I've pushed up a completed-enough-to-use version of my [dialects proposal](https://gist.github.com/coderanger/a6e0c627d349f0712dcc). I won't repeat the whole document here, but some highlights:
1. Hooks to load Chef recipes and attribute files from formats other than .rb
2. JSON and Yaml dialects for attribute files.
3. Root shortcuts for cookbook source files of which you commonly have only one.
4. Removal of the need for the default/ path segment under files/ and templates/.
5. Ability to pass an array to #source on cookbook_file and template to define your own lookup path similar to the current implicit one.
Personally I think all of these put together are an order of magnitude improvement in ease of learning Chef and writing new cookbooks while not losing any of the expressive power you want on the high end. This branch should present no backwards incompatibilities, though I think it should kick off a discussion separately about deprecating the implicit search path on files/ and templates/ in favor of people using the new explicit search path syntax for the rare occasions where such things are desired (and even in those cases, it is generally just a few of the options in the current search path). Any such deprecation would have to be over a very long time though. I have opened https://tickets.opscode.com/browse/CHEF-4559 to track this patch. If anyone has any feedback please don't hesitate to shoot me an email or comment on the pull request/ticket.
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