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Sender: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
From: Frank Mittelbach <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 21:04:04 +0200
In-Reply-To: <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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Sebastian writes:

 > PS I must add (publicly) that for the first time in years, I am feeling that
 > LaTeX has a future. Thanks for Frank, David and Chris for inspiring
 > talks at TUG 99. If you haven't checked their slides, do so. Stirring
 > stuff.

thanks Sebastian for your kind words. they are worth a frame aren't they? :-)
more seriously, i'm personally quite enthusiastic about the work undertaken in
the last year or so (despite trying to raise twins and all that) and i too see
and hope for a positive future of LaTeX with a design interface as it is
currently taking shape.

perhaps i should say that all of what we presented in Vancouver in larger
detail (as given in the slides) is actually existing work (and not dreamware
or whitepapers) which we plan to make available real soon to a larger audience
for discussion and final shaping. Since i hope that we do get some more
substancial discussions on that i would like to repeat the info about the
location of the speakers notes we put on the web (especially as our web site
is currently being changed and doesn't contain a visible link to it)

The slides are now available from the latex project web site

and also from the TUG99 website

(all four of these URL lead to the same document)


i regret to have to report that the slides do not give much detail on
frontmatter syntax but a lot on the more general mechanisms we want to employ
in a (first time) LaTeX interface to class design. the main reason is that for
the front matter design (in contrast to other bits) we currently only have a
prototype interface that was designed to work with an earlier version of the
interface which we abandoned. However, as David said in a reply under this
subject he is currently working night-shifts to convert and redesign the
original proto-type using the new interface and i expect results soon.

To answer Wolfgang Huber questions: (under TUG99 talk subject):

 > Now that I've looked at your talk I tasted blood. How about releasing your
 > interface in the experimental-directory ?

actually not at this point in time as i don't necessarily want to see the
current state of the interface ending up on CD-roms necessarily. my main
argument is that while the general mechanisms of the various interfaces we
propose seems to be fine there is a lot of detail to attend which will
eventually result in small to large interface changes (as an example for those
who have already looked at the slides or seen the talks given at TUG99: on
xparse for example David just convinced me that the return of parsing
coordinate pairs in LaTeX should be a single brace group like {{x-val}{y-val}}
rather than two groups, ie {x-val}{y-val}. This is a small and in some sense
unimportant detail but a large change to the interface as far as coding and
using it is concerned.

So rather than putting it out on experimental (where i guess it might show up
for 99/12 (whenever this happens :-)) my suggestion is to put it up bits by
bits on our web site for now; together with a hopefully
lively discussion on the important aspects of the current part under

so my plan would be to start putting things up real soon. meaning probably
after next weekend, starting with the xparse interface, followed by the
template interface (where more documentation is needed first) followed perhaps
by frontmatter or other stuff like lists, headings ...

however to put this stuff into perspective, eg to understand why there is
xparse ... i would urge you to have a look at the slides we put out and
perhaps you have some comments/questions/whatever beforehand once you've seen

 > Your css-like approach to style-things seems to open new ways towards
 > publishing a document on paper and on the web, likeways.
 > I hope, you release the LaTeX2e* before the next official LaTeX2e-Release!

to sum up i hope to be able to release a substancial part of it together with
the 99/12 release (in experimental then and further integrated in the release
following, ie around the TUG meeting 2000 in Oxford) but i plan on releasing
bits earlier for discussion on our web site and announced on this list.