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Joachim Schrod <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 19 Jul 2003 14:27:46 +0200
text/plain (66 lines)
>>>>> "TB" == Torsten Bronger <[log in to unmask]> writes:

TB> It's very very difficult to parse arbitrary TeX.

I differ here, about the "very very". For one, there exist parsers.
Second, a professional versed in formal languages and compiler writing
can create a new TeX parser from scratch in 2-4 weeks. It is difficult
not because of technical reasons but because existing programs are not
put into real end-user products -- the demand doesn't seem to be

Frankly, those who cry about missing validation simply don't put their
money where their mouth is.

TB> I think eventually we won't actually see XML anymore. We will use
TB> e.g. systems like LyX that use XML as the underlying format, and
TB> that call TeX for decent typesetting. XML is not for the human eye
TB> in my opinion.

TB> Until then, you can make XML rather bearable. Joachim's problems
TB> with micro-typography, space handling, and TeX markup in special
TB> situations (in particular in formulae) can be dealt with in XML
TB> applications.

I keep reading that argument for almost 15 years now, since I started
to work with SGML. This statement was taken over unaltered by the XML
fork. Yes, "XML is not for the human eye" -- and why are we forced to
work with it that way?

The problem is not "can it be dealt with". The problem is "it is not
dealt with". Lots of promises about tools that are elementary to the
approach, since the markup is not to be meant to be written by humans.
But no strong progress. Where is the Apache XML project to provide a
good interactive document input and manipulation facility?

Please note that I don't bemoan that fact, I state it. That state of
affairs is OK for me, I don't need XML for document writing -- I have
LaTeX. And XML for data markup -- which I need alot -- is independent
of interactive tools anyhow. IMO, good XML editors are not created
because there is not enough need for them.

TB> The problem is that in most cases the XML people just don't care.

Yes, and you drove home the reason why LaTeX markup will be better for
documents in the foreseeable future in one single sentence.

But I don't want to distract your work on tbook. It is a very good
project that I follow with interest. I even try to find the time to
look at your UTF8/xindy problem -- but sometimes I'm too distracted
and start to write postings to LATEX-L. ;-)


Joachim Schrod                                  Email: [log in to unmask]
Roedermark, Germany

        ``How do we persuade new users that spreading fonts across the page
        like peanut butter across hot toast is not necessarily the route to
        typographic excellence?''                       -- Peter Flynn