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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 18 Jul 2003 09:45:07 +0200
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Torsten Bronger <[log in to unmask]>
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<[log in to unmask]> (Barbara Beeton's message of "Thu, 17 Jul 2003 16:43:27 -0400")
Aachen University of Technology (RWTH)
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Barbara Beeton <[log in to unmask]> writes:

> timothy murphy asked,
>     > And isn't it quite sensible to distinguish between text and maths?
> and torsten bronger responded,
>     XML doesn't do it and I find this very convenient.  In (La)TeX, for
>     many characters you need different commands for text and math mode.
>     I'd love to have a typesetting system to which I could pass a say
>     'small Greek letter alpha', and it would just work in every context.
>     No font families, no encodings, no active/special characters, no
>     babel settings, and no modes to worry about.  Wonderful ...
> not quite.  i'm with tim here.
> for math publication, it's traditional to have variables in
> italic.  it's also traditional to have theorems in italic.
> unless it's marked as math, how can you tell that "a" in a
> theorem is a variable or the english indefinite article?
> knuth tried to avoid this by
>  - using a slanted font instead of italic for theorems
>  - making a math italic that is ever so slightly wider than
>    text italic
> but it still definitely requires marking a math "a" as math.

You're right, the program -- or XML file format -- must provide a
way to mark math areas, and it must apply rules or whatever to
typeset accordingly.

But I said "many characters you need different commands for text and
math mode".  In other words, those rules are not enough at all.  I
wrote (yet another ;) set of Unicode --> LaTeX replacements, and
it's full of "\ifmmode ... \else ... \fi" constructs.  So I must be
aware of the current mode for *most* characters.  One line says

0x107   cacute                   "\ifmmode \acute{c}\else \'{c}\fi{}"

My dream is to just insert the UTF-8 sequence of 0x107 and it
works.  Of course, the "cacute" doesn't make sense in math mode, and
therefore LaTeX doesn't support such things, however I cannot tell
XML authors which characters they are allowed to type.  Even the
standard latin1 inputenc option isn't math-proof.


Torsten Bronger, aquisgrana, europa vetus