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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Hans Aberg <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 6 Nov 1998 19:09:05 +0100
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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At 17:49 +0100 1998/11/06, Marcel Oliver wrote:
>Back to the "Quotes and punctuation" problem:  So the main problem in
>TeX which makes pattern matching/lookahead/parsing very difficult in
>TeX is that the parsing routine cannot know into what kind of stuff
>future tokens expand without literally expanding the whole document.

  The whole problem is more complicated, because it is not only a question
of expansion, but also when things should be expanded: Sometimes
immediately, sometimes later. The correct way around this would be to
define a stricter input syntax which separates the elements authoring
semantics, typesetting style elements and typesetting fine-tuning, but
there is no way to enforce such a syntax in TeX.

  If one should avoid the long discussions in the thread "Quotes and
punctuation" about language syntax, a way would be to define the semantic
features one wants and then add a variations of programs like Lex and Yacc.
-- One can then define syntactic modules for different authoring purposes.

>..An example: for humans it makes
>perfect sense to use \ldots in a formula, but I could not even expect
>a symbolic system like Mathematica to understand what I mean. If my
>requirements go beyond publishing, my primary tools are different
>(although it would help if they could export to LaTeX when it comes to
>publishing), but then I don't mind the extra effort required.

  A language like Haskell <> uses an ellipsis to
indicate infinite lists. So one should expect every mathematical symbol
used semantically way to eventually find its way into computers which knows
how to manipulate it logically.

  Hans Aberg
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