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 Subject: LaTeX Syntax (Was: \@ifdefinable) From: Hans Aberg <[log in to unmask]> Reply To: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]> Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 11:44:19 +0200 Content-Type: text/plain Parts/Attachments: text/plain (40 lines)
>Hans writes.
>  I think the LaTeX parameter style \newcommand[6]... is pointless. Should
>  it not be scrapped in LaTeX3, only be allowed in compatibility mode?
>
>You need to differentiate between commands aimed at document use, and
>general latex programmers interface.
>
>In documents, not allowing arbitrary argument syntax is one of the
>great strengths of LaTeX. It is one of the things that allows latex
>documents to be parsed by non-tex engines such as latex2html,
>techexplorer, Scientific Word etc. Figuring out the argument to
>\vspace is a whole lot easier than figuring out the argument to
>\vskip.
>
>Of course at a programming level one needs to use arbitrary TeX
>delimited arguments, eg for parsing comma separated lists, or key
>value pairs or whatever. However one could imagine a sufficiently rich
>programmers interface' which gave access to such constructs without
>needing to do the most basic TeX macro expansion tricks that you
>unfortunately need to do to code things for the present system.

This makes only sense if the syntax LaTeX is published and official, and
not only used as an internal guiding line for LaTeX developers.

Nut this relates to a discussion we had before here, about improved
syntax for math writing:

I really think that a better syntax would help mathematical authoring. I
use it myself. For example, one can use name overloading, so that $\Obj(C)$
may mean the objects in the category C (which also selects the appropriate
style for C), whereas $\Obj$ would just be the symbol used to denote
objects, used in indices, and so on.

So now you are saying that tools that are supposed to simplify LaTeX
authoring, in fact may make it more difficult...

Hans Aberg
* Email: Hans Aberg <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
* AMS member listing: <http://www.ams.org/cml/>
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