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William F. Hammond writes:

> > now please don't tell me that \footnote could easily scan for a \footnote
> > following. i know, but how do i specify this if we separate frontend (ie
> > \footnote declared via something like the xparse package from the
> > typesetting
> > declaration)
>
> >From my point of view one wants different types of "macro"
> declarations that can be made at various stages, and one wants to have
> very clearly laid out rules about what can be done with each.

if i understand you right then you are agreeing with me that the different
levels, eg user document syntax and the level of formatting eg templates etc
should be properly separated. but the point is that on the document level i
sometimes need information from the parsing and that needs to be properly
propagated (this is much less an issue if one mixes those levels together as
it is currently done in LaTeX).

so in the case of footnote one might want to parse the document further (in
there parsing level, eg xparse) to see if another footnote (or footnotemark)
follows but then one has to pass the information gained to the layout/template
level.

to give a completely different example. some time ago i worked on templates
for justification of paragraphs (this isn't yet made public because it depends
on the galley code which is not finished ...). anyway, the main point was that
i wanted to be able to specify things like TeX' \leftskip \rightskip
\parfillskip etc to be able to  denote paragraph justifications like
"raggedright" or "firstlinecentered" or "justified" etc.

now one thing that became clear was that a template for this needed to specify
how to produce a "newline-action" that is i need to provide code that can be
used if the user says \newline or \\ or the like because depending on the
settings for \parfillskip etc, the code needed is different.

now since \\ in LaTeX supports a * and an optional argument my first
implementation actually had a key in the template that looked like this:

newline-action =f0

and was expecting a command name (such as \newline) which in turn was supposed
to be defined via xparse and accepting  a star and an optional argument.

but then i realised that i was horribly mixing the two levels. by having a key
which actually wants code that does parsing for a star and some brackets my
template instance was suddenly no longer independent from the document
syntax. that is, if i would replace xparse by a frontend that would parse xml
syntax, say, my template instance would not work any longer since it would
still require \\*[] for a linebreak

so i changed the specification of the internal galley data structure to carry
enough information so that i'm now able to specify the stuff without making
assumptions on the template level about the document level syntax. (as it
turned out what was needed was to be able to say whether or not a "newline"
command does fill the current line with white space and if so with how much
--- you will see this one day)

back to the question of footnotes in sequence:

> That said, what about giving the issue to the authors with
> something new for this purpose such as \footnotesequence ?

this is a possibility on the front end and it might be the right choice to use
there. but on the layout-level, i.e. the template side an individual footnote
mark as so much in common with a footnote mark that is part of a sequence that
i think it pays off to provide a flag to the template that says this is a mark
in a sequence or not.

on the user syntax level this could still be provided a different function
though in that particular case my feeling is that it should not be a different
command if possible, eg if i have the following case

text text\footnote{foo} text text

and i decide to add another footnote to this point i think it would be more
logical to be able to say

text text\footnote{foo}\footnote{bar} text text

and let the commands sort out that they come in a sequence (see my other post
on xparse extension --- to be written :-) rather than forcing the user to
replace the first thing by something like

text text\begin{footnotesequence} \item foo \item bar\end{footnotesequence}
text text

handwaving on the actual syntax. my suggestion some days ago to have

text text\footnote*{foo}\footnote{bar} text text

has effectively the same defect, only that it is far easier for the user to
change from one form to the other, but logically speaking the right kind of
abstract information is already present in the first example with the two
\footnote commands and in my eyes this is all that should be needed
(preferably).

A similar case is

\section{foo} text

compared to

\section{foo} \subsection{bar} text

where we don't have to tell the subsection command that a section command
immediately follows. it figures this out by itself and adjusts the spacing
automatically (no need for manual intervention)

frank