RE: TeX backend (was re: The DSSSList Digest V3 #50)

Subject: RE: TeX backend (was re: The DSSSList Digest V3 #50)
From: Norman Gray <norman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 27 May 1999 14:34:50 +0100 (GMT)

On Wed, 26 May 1999, Wroth, Mark wrote:

> (element frontmatter (make environment type: "front" (process-children)))
> (element address (make environment type: "address" (process-children)))
> (element body (make environment type: "body" (process-children)))

This is pretty much what I implemented a while ago.  I've tidied this
up, and you can get a Jade patch at which will
support this.

This adds a simple back-end, which is very heavily based on James'
SGML Transformation back-end, which helps you write arbitrary LaTeX.
I'm not claiming an awful lot for it, but it'll save someone else a
few days work.

It attempts to avoid spurious whitespace in the output, and supports
optional arguments OK.

As Sebastian remarked in another reply to Mark, you can generate
(La)TeX using the Transformation back-end, but that's somewhat
errorprone, and could leave you vulnerable to spurious whitespace
problems if you don't work around them.  Sebastian's example would be:

  (element entity
    (make empty-command name: "SetNote"
      parameters: (list (attribute-string "set")
      			(attribute-string "id")
			(attribute-string "id" (parent)))))

I take the points about this being `a million miles from the spirit of
DSSSL', but:

> Nonetheless, *I* would find it a useful alternative; DSSSL
> provides a flexible method for interpreting the input document (in
> particular re-ordering, which is a pain in TeX), while the typesetting gets
> done in a package well suited for that piece of the problem.

Hear, hear.  Jade is tremendously useful even if you never specify a
single formatting-characteristic!

Also, if you already have a lot of apparatus in place specific to the
SGML back-end, it makes sense to re-use much of this to generate LaTeX.

All the best,


Norman Gray              
Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, UK     norman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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