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LATEX-L  October 1999

LATEX-L October 1999

Subject:

Re: Experimental `template' interface code

From:

Lars Hellström <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 15 Oct 1999 17:11:24 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (73 lines)

Frank,
>
> > PS: I've given some thought to the footnote template type, and so far I
> > haven't been able to come up with anything that would require more than the
> > single argument for the footnote text. (A footnote document commands might
>
>well, current latex already has two for \footnotetext (one being the text and
>one being the number to use or \NoValue)

I would rather have thought that the number should be taken from a counter
that was managed by the template itself, i.e., the template has one key for
name of counter to use and some of the keys which control formatting should
(indirectly) refer to this counter. This makes more sense to me, since
there is no point in having footnote numbers assigned in any other way than
in sequence.

On the other hand, I have now managed to come up with something which, if
it is to be handled by footnote templates, definately should become an
additional argument to the template. Consider the situation that a LaTeX
document containing footnotes is to be typeset as some sort of hypertext.
What is then the most convenient (for the reader) thing to do with the
footnotes? I would think it is to make links for them (click on the link,
get the footnote text on screen). The clickable area of a link in hypertext
is, by convention, longer than the one or two characters used for a
footnote number, and hence a footnote template that typesets footnotes this
way would need an additional "text to make the link text" argument.

[snip]
>in that case please think about specs for the base templates (not necessarily
>the implementations though that is fun as well) that you can think would be
>sensible, ie what should they do (the templates) or more exactly what layout
>should they provide and what could be possible attributes in each case.
>
>i have in fact gone half through this excerise last night and implemented a
>few rough drafts and i intend to show them for discussion end of the month as
>i will get away for a short vacation tomorrow at 4:00
>
>in the meantime thoughts on such base templates and their attributes would be
>welcome (i didn't got very far last night)

The first thing to think about seems to be where the footnote text should
go. I can think of at least three different categories:
   table footnotes
   end of page footnotes (the current kind)
   end of section/chapter/.../document footnotes
Table footnotes should definately be available in standard LaTeX; I have
often missed them. End of <logical part of document> footnotes are perhaps
rather a suitable feature for some package, but they should be planned for.

Next one may consider how the text is stored until it actually gets put on
a page: typeset or not typeset? Typeset material can be broken into lines
(this is how it is today, I believe) or not broken into lines (unless there
are some _very_ long paragraphs, it should work fine to put it in a \parbox
of width \maxdimen). Typeset material can be transferred using some \insert
mechanism (the only thing that works for end of page footnotes) or by being
manually stacked in a box register. Material that is not typeset can be
stored internally in a macro or \toks register, or externally by being
written to a file (in the case of a humanities paper containing some
hundred pages of footnotes, this is the only thing that could work).

Then there is all the actual formatting, but I think I'll skip that.

A neat math application for end of document footnotes is answers to
exercises. (That's in a way how Appendix A of The TeXbook is made.)

A problem with footnotes that aren't typeset until later is of course that
whatever causes them to be typeset (a hook or an explicit user command)
must access the formatting attribues of the footnote template. Should there
be two templates for such footnotes, or should the template only be used
when things are getting typeset, or should it be possible to call the
template in two different ways?

Lars Hellström

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