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Timothy Murphy <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 9 Jul 2003 15:07:50 +0100
text/plain (43 lines)
On Tuesday 08 July 2003 18:33, Joachim Schrod wrote:

> In particular, the macro language is not only dreadful, but may be
> called "the most horrible macro language after the C preprocessor"
> with full rights.

I don't agree about TeX.
It seems to me that when someone invents a language like TeX
they can't really know how it is going to develop --
it is more like a shot in the dark.
(This seems to me even more true of Metafont,
where the language is more radical still.)

I suspect you want a language like Pascal --
it's obvious that the LaTeX team want this,
since their starting point (I don't know if this goes back to Lamport)
seems to be the translation of TeX into a Pascal-like language,
with the definition of  loop macros, etc.

The examples in the TeXbook seem to me
to show an entirely different approach --
seeing where the language leads,
rather than trying to force it into a kind of Pascalian corset.

C is rather different -- I imagine Ritchie must be amazed
to see that the language he cobbled together in a few weeks from BCPL
has taken over the world,
while Pascal, PL and Ada, with deep philisophical foundations,
seem to be as dead as the dodo.

And the C-preprocessor is large part of the reason for the success. of C.
I imagine people writing in Pascal/Modula or Java
must often long for a pre-processor
(or even close their eyes, and use cpp).

Timothy Murphy
e-mail: [log in to unmask]
tel: +353-86-233 6090
s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland