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[Axiom-developer] Leo, dvi, web (was RE: hyperlinked algebra)

From: C Y
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Leo, dvi, web (was RE: hyperlinked algebra)
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 07:11:47 -0800 (PST)

--- Bill Page <address@hidden> wrote:

> On December 7, 2005 6:08 PM Tim Daly (root) wrote:
> > 
> > I've hacked src/doc/endpaper.pamphlet to add hyperlinks.
> > most of the links go to catdef.spad.dvi because they are
> > categories that live there. I don't know how to implement 
> > #tags in latex yet.
> This is possible if you generate a PDF or HTML. But whether
> it will work with dvi files or not is likely to be highly
> dependent on your particular dvi viewer software.

I'm not really convinced dvi is a viable format except as an
intermediate, when it comes to distribution over the web.  dvi
basically assumes a working TeX distribution, in my experience - there
might be standalone viewers out there but I've never seen dvi used as a
distribution medium for an end product.  postscript files are bad
enough - most Windows computers will not have a viewer that can handle
postscript.  Basically this has led to pdf and html being the targeted
presentation formats for distributing TeX documents, and I believe is
the reason for pdfetex being so quick to run in tetex 3.0 and up.  

Actually, Axiom's website might be a good way to test this assumption. 
Bill, if we were to track file downloads for the pamphlet files on the
wiki, how does pdf fair compared to dvi, postscript, and any other
formats we have available?  Can those stats be collected with the
current setup?

A way around this lack of dvi use might be to try and convince the
Mozilla developers to include dvi rendering capabilities in the default
browser install, but I have no idea how difficult that would be.

> I think the choice of granularity is also strongly influenced
> by what tools one is using. One thing that drives you toward
> a smaller number of larger "volumes" is the use of noweb-style
> literate programming (i.e. pamphlets). Cliff reminded me 
> recently about "Leo" - a fairly new literate programming 
> environment that we discussed a while time ago.
> See:
> I still think that using a literate programming tool like Leo
> would be a big advantage over the "pamphlet" approach. And 
> because it is specifically designed as a "data management 
> environment" in addition to a programming environment, it goes
> a long way towards solving the granularity issue because Leo's
> outline structure allows you to organize smaller pieces into a
> coherent whole.

I'll take another run at understanding Leo and see if I can get it to
"click" this time.  I think Leo is an EXCELLENT candidate for some
voice-over movies showing its abilities - indeed if it does wind up
getting used for Axiom those movies will probably be essential.
> Of course, we are still in the same situation now as we were
> when we last talked about this: Using Leo for Axiom would be a
> big step and would involve a significant learning curve... and
> here we are still with insufficient resources. :( But if there
> are any Axiom developers who might find this sort of project
> interesting, then I would be very happy to help setup an
> experiment to try Leo with the Axiom source distribution.

Well, Leo is on my list of things to look at for utility for Axiom.  I
would at least like to get the TeX part of the units and dimensions
package in shape first before I dive into Leo, but I have a feeling Leo
has some really good ideas and Axiom is all about putting good ideas to
work :-).

Perhaps a useful first step Bill would be to kind of outline how Axiom
and Leo might go together - i.e. what could be accomplished in Axiom
using Leo?  I'm thinking something like whatever the Axiom equalivent
would be of the early examples of dtrace Bryan Cantrill put up on
usenet that generated so much buzz - clearly useful stuff that couldn't
be done by any known tool.  If it would take too much work don't worry
about it, but sometimes the right demonstration can go a long way
towards convincing folks :-).


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