RE: support for 'macro' formatting languages

Subject: RE: support for 'macro' formatting languages
From: Sebastian Rahtz <sebastian.rahtz@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 11:45:24 +0000 (GMT)
Norman Gray writes:
 > I didn't doubt it, and I'm sure that works well for Elsevier.  What I'm
 > talking about is a solution that works for the author.

the author may see/use practically anything. the interface may look
like Word to them, for all we care. the math may look like TeX when
they enter it. the issues is
when to transform the math to a *ML format. You want it to
happen at archival time, and so you need to process the stuff in the
authoring environment to get printouts. I want it to happen in the
authoring system, so the preprint is done from MathML

 > business.  MathML would probably be a better archival format than LaTeX,
 > so it might be sensible for the publisher to normalise the author's
 > source, from LaTeX maths notation to SGML, as the very first processing

and when you have to revise the paper? 2nd edition of your book in 3
years time? that way madness lies...

 > as long as the maths they type into the master document were in LaTeX.

sure, if thats what they want. you could make emacs translate the math 
from \ { } into < > as you went along

 > because it's the Right Thing To Do.  However I, as an author, will not
 > write maths in anything but LaTeX, any more than someone writing in
 > Greek would be willing to select characters from a menu or generate a
 > clatter of incomprehensible entity references.

so, get yourself a math keyboard, like the Greeks have a greek
keyboard and the Arabs have an arabic keyboard. this is just input noise.

 > you use postscript or GIFs or something else.  SGML has facilities for
 > alternative notations because there are times when alternative notations
 > are better. 

yes, and are they ever used for anything but images? and even images
we deprecate, surely? we all want SVG for 99% of our pictures?

use TeX in a notation if

 - you don't ever want to search or analyze it
 - you don't care about its typographic relationship to the rest of
   the text
 - you don't want to mix it with graphics or text 
 - you dont care about validating it in the way you do for the rest of 
   the text

 > TeX was designed by a mathematician to let good-looking
 > maths be intuitive to type and reasonably easy to read.  Whatever
 > TeX's other failings, it succeeds in that at least, and I doubt you'd
 > persuade anyone that there is a reasonable alternative.

well, to be honest, I am glad I don't have to try...


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