Wed, 9 Jul 2003 15:07:50 +0100
School of Mathematics, Trinity College Dublin
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).
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