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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
William F Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 21 Mar 2004 14:14:41 -0500
<[log in to unmask]> (David Kastrup's message of "Sun, 21 Mar 2004 17:59:38 +0100")
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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David Kastrup <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> I have been musing about the best ways of providing people with
> integrated help systems, input helps and so forth and so on.
. . .
> and so forth and so on (not to mention syntax highlighting).  Now the
> usual way DocTeX files describe things are with \DescribeMacro{...},
> with examples of code, with the synposis of commands (using things
> like \marg, \oarg and so in the descriptions).
> I would propose that the next iteration of DocTeX should try to
> formalize most of the stuff into somewhat more rigid patterns.  It
> would appear that the material before \StopEventually{} would
> usually, if just given a bit more formal markup, be quite sufficient
> to let the following be generated:
> Pages fit for TeXinfo or similar systems (like the above example)
> that can be accessed once the editing system knows what packages one
> uses, by referring to the name of the defined commands.

Are you saying that you want an enhanced version of LaTeX markup
to make these things possible?  By "more rigid patterns" are you
referring to more elaborate LaTeX source language?

. . .
> If the next DocTeX format is enhanced like this, we will gain
> a) automatically generated help systems including examples and
> graphics in HTML, TeXinfo and other editing-system friendly ways.
> b) instructions sufficient for helping with the entry of commands and
> arguments.
> c) graphical examples and cut&paste code guaranteed to run.
> d) producing TLC3 will just entail listing all the names of the .dtx
> files to some program, and it will be able to gather all the rest
> automatically.
> e) a hyperlink into the complete program source documentation for more
> info.
. . .

For example I suppose you envision HTML output from tex4ht, which,
again I suppose, becomes bullet proof with tighter source markup.  Is
that what you mean?

>   ...   But I think there is a case to be made to formalize quite a
> bit more in the usage instructions part of DocTeX files, to a degree
> where mechanical exploitation becomes feasible.

And again are you speaking of more disciplined markup in DocTeX files?

Apart from the side-by-side thing, do you see Texinfo, even with
conceivable enhancements, as not suited to your goals?


                                    -- Bill