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Paul Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 21 Jan 2009 18:11:46 -0800
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Hullo all:

I have read J Wright's discussion of the LaTeX3 design philosophy with some interest.  

From the standpoint of a user, and (in my own opinion a somewhat advanced one), there are several points not addressed by the Wright statement.  Probably because these issues are at a higher (closer to the user) level, I'm sure you will say. 

Here are some things that I would like to see in LaTeX3:

1) Loosening of the 9-argument restriction on user-written macros: this is a thoroughly antequated and very limited restriction. 

2) Arguments to user macros resolved by #1, #2, etc.: See 1) above.  There are many ways of refering to arguments and the #1 #2 etc is very limiting

3) Arguments specified positionally only: It should be possible to specify argument by name=value pairs.

4) User macros are local only, not global, not extended: The full command structure of TeX should be able to be specified by protected LaTeX macros.  There should be a \newgcommand \newxcommand.  For most, this is not important, but there are times that only a gdef will do.

5) Changing page dimensions in the middle of the document: Middlebach says this can't be done, but I have done it in my newlfm macro, and I say "rubbish" to Frank - it can be done, and it should be possible.

6) Finally, something far more sensible on fonting needs implementation.

Many of these suggestions and requests are probably upstream from where LaTeX3 is now, which seems to be down at a very primitive level.  I certainly think, from the comments I have seen thus far, that this is the case.  So, please consider these requests for when the user interface is being designed.

Paul A. Thompson, Ph.D.

Division of Biostatistics
Washington University School of Medicine
St Louis, MO 63108

25 Signal Hill Blvd
Belleville, IL   62223-1650

----- Original Message ----
From: Joseph Wright <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 2:00:25 AM
Subject: Key points of LaTex3

Hello all,

I've had a go at summarising the key aims of LaTeX3, as I understand
them, on  my blog (  I'd be interested to know
how close I've got to the team's vision!  There's also a very
interesting comment there about the shortcomings of LaTeX2e versus
ConTeXt (

Joseph Wright