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Re: [Groff] Eric Raymond on groff and TeX

From: Tadziu Hoffmann
Subject: Re: [Groff] Eric Raymond on groff and TeX
Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 18:34:43 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

> I think esr is emphasizing (!) that in a structural-markup
> language the tags can have no typographic meaning whatsoever.  

Correct.  What Anton was considering unfair is the implication
that troff only does presentational markup, while it is entirely
possible to use structural markup (with an appropriate macro
set) as well.  A better comparison would have been

  All your base <b>are</b> belong to us!


  All your base <emphasis>are</emphasis> belong to us!


  All your base
  .B are
  belong to us!


  All your base
  .EMPH are
  belong to us!

> If you tie yourself to a presentation-markup language,

I think the idea is to stop thinking of troff and TeX as
presentation-markup languages.  They're more universal.

> there is no guarantee that a user has not made use of
> the presentation-markup language in such a way that it is
> impossible to migrate cleanly to a different structural markup
> or presentation.  Indeed, it has been the norm for users to
> reach for low-level commands while using high-level packages
> in groff or (La)TeX.  Neither system prevents the user in
> any way from being "non-structural".

It actually all depends on the user entering the text.
What about things like <emphasis style="font-weight: bold;">,
if such a thing were allowed by the markup language?
Users have always tended to turn to presentational markup
if it appeared to be the quicker way to achieve a desired
result (not only troff or TeX, but also HTML, which I believe
was intended as structural markup, but gained a lot of
presentational markup along the way).

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