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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Hans Aberg <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 27 Nov 1999 15:24:08 +0100
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (68 lines)
Some additions to my last post:

I forgot to indicate the object syntax for instantiations. So if one has
created the derived-class ``enumerate'', which would normally be directly
used as
  \use{enumerate} \NoValue \NoValue \BooleanFalse
but instead want to create an instance ``plain-enumerate'' which is later
used, then a syntax could be
which would later be used as
This is not so difficult to implement, because when the enumerate command
is created by
  \new{derived-class}{enumerate} \NoValue \NoValue \BooleanFalse
one makes sure to create a command \enumerate/new which is called by

This illustrates the object principle that it is always the object which
knows what it can do. Users of the object thus only need to worry about the
interface of the object, and not about global commands by which it should
be manipulated with from the outside.

One can also note that there is a question of where to put the arguments in
instantiations. We could have decided for a mechanism that when we derive
``enumerate'' from the ``list'' class, only say the two first arguments
should have been used, the last reserved for the instantiation. The syntax
would thus be (say)
  \new{derived-class}{enumerate}{0} \NoValue \NoValue
  \new{enumerate}{plain-enumerate} \BooleanFalse
Such constructions are possible in C++, and are convenient. (It leave it to
the reader to figure out the details of a suitable syntax.)

One can also introduce typing of objects if it is considered sufficiently
important or useful. The principle I see underneath it is that an object
should normally have as type its creator. So the type of
``plain-enumerate'' above is ``enumerate'', and the type of ``enumerate''
is ``class'' or ``derived-class''. One then has a command
  \type{enumerate}        % class
  \type{plain-enumerate}  % enumerate
or if one should bother to create a ``type'' object
  \use{type}{enumerate}        % class
  \use{type}{plain-enumerate}  % enumerate

Again, I do not know if typing is useful in LaTeX, I only note that it
seems possible to add such a feature. In C++, typing becomes necessary when
handling dynamic information. So if it becomes common in LaTeX with macros
that do a selection based on type, then it might prove useful with typing.
Then a simple version of the \type command would be to add a type command
to the objects which expands to its creator. So for example
\type{plain-enumerate} would expand to
which in its turn would expand to ``enumerate''.

Note however that it is not necessary to add typing to all objects with
this method: Only those that need it. So the behavior of objects is pretty
local; they need not be more complicated than is useful.

I can also note that the command names do not become very long with the
approach above, because they lengthen only when one explicitly calls for
the creation of a subobject (like when creating a module or something). So
it is still a pretty flat structure.

  Hans Aberg
                  * Email: Hans Aberg <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
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