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"Michel Lavaud Orleans (France)" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 5 Jul 1997 15:54:10 +0000
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> > My proposal was not to construct a test suite for every package.
> > It was: IF somebody is able to give an opinion on one given package,
> > then he has written a test file (otherwise, could he have any
> > opinion?).
> I'm readily capable of giving opinions on many packages I've used, but
> I'm not about to give away my (often private) documents that
> constitute the only tests I've made of them.

OK, so when you send a bug report to an author, you just say "I found
that your package xyz does not work"? Not very useful.

> > So, instead of giving an opinion, rather provide the test
> > file. Or,  if he is enthusiast about it, maybe a demo file that
> > illustrates some useful aspects of the package?
> I would far rather have an informed opinion than a `test program'.
> Frankly, I don't know many people who _do_ produce test programs in
> the course of deciding that a package is a `good thing': I certainly
> don't -- I read the source (if I have time) and then start
> constructing my document that uses it.

If you call your "document that uses it" a test file, after having
stripped off indications about your religious beliefs, personal
address, name of your pets, and other facts that make it an (often
private) document, that would  be perfect for me. An opinion would go
to /dev/null as I have no way to check it and make an opinion myself.

> I really do not believe that an exercise to produce test suites/demo
> programs for packages is effort well spent.

If you care only about experts, such as Robin Fairbairns or
Sebastian Rahtz, I agree it is certainly useless.
But if you care also about newcomers to TeX and average users,
I really do believe that an exercise to produce test suites/demo
programs for packages is effort well spent. I have included several
demo files in AsTeX distribution, and it seems to be very much
appreciated by users. And look at Microsoft programming languages,
such as Visual C++ or Visual Basic: each instruction and procedure
(which are the equivalent of macros and packages) comes with several
examples that you can cut and paste into your document. If users did
not like that, do you think Microsoft would have spent a cent to do
such work?
Michel Lavaud  ([log in to unmask])