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"William F. Hammond" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 5 Nov 1998 11:49:09 -0500
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On Thu, 5 Nov 1998 14:03:13 MEZ
Peter Schmitt <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

: On Wed, 4 Nov 1998 17:09:45 GMT Sebastian Rahtz said:
: >it was a joke. i was simplying that rendering of abstract things like
: >`quoted text' need not involve quote marks; and that SGML/XML markup
: >of abstract markup is much easier to parse than TeX....
: >
: The relevant comparison in this case is with _LaTeX markup_
:   ( TeX could parse SGML/XML as easily as any other program :-)
: But, of course, LaTeX is more friendly to the user than HTML
:    -- that's the penalty one has to pay ...

Yes, indeed, LaTeX is indeed friendly.  It is important, however,
to understand that HTML is just NOT a good authoring language and was
never intended to be an authoring language.  It is browser fodder
designed for easy and efficient browser handling.  XML, eXtensible
Markup Language, is an extension of HTML to allow anybody to create
a tag set.  But XML is also NOT an authoring language.

It is more or less correct to view every XML language as also an
SGML language.  Therefore, many SGML languages are also not good
for authors.  However, some are not too bad.

I have been trying to make an SGML language, still in infancy, that is
much closer to LaTeX than is any other SGML that I have *seen*.  (I am
only interested in "seeing" non-proprietary things.)  While it is
an infant, it is working well enough for me for now.

I have concluded that it cannot be extremely close to LaTeX, but I
can then write its command as "\foo{content}" just as if I am authoring
LaTeX even though I am really creating SGML that will eventually be
processed to LaTeX.

I think that my conclusion about "distance" is related to the
difficulties in the discussion here concerning authoring that we have
been seeing.

SGML is all about fast staged processing.  It is not very much about
getting on to paper.

There is a very lucrative and apparently profitable industry out there
lurking behind closed doors.

I suggest that individuals should think in terms of multiple SGML
transformations as pre-processing for LaTeX.  Some industrial strength
publishers *may* want to think in terms of multiple SGML transformations
as pre-processing to TeX directly.

I am wary of messing with Knuth's TeX.

                                   -- Bill