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Re: Bibliography & ToC placement

From: Thomas Steffen
Subject: Re: Bibliography & ToC placement
Date: 21 Apr 1998 12:45:44 +0200

>>>>> "Paul" == Paul Prescod <address@hidden> writes:

    Paul> "My experience with document interchange led me to classify
    Paul> document formats using the essential distinction that some
    Paul> are "programmable" and some are not. 

actually, there is
1 - programmable or algorithmic formats (like tex)
2 - describtive or declarative formats (like SGML)
3 - object oriented formats (Scribe has been mentioned, but i don't
    know it)

declarative or algorithmic is very much a question of viewpoint, and
not of the format itself.

    Paul> The reason that this distinction is essential with respect
    Paul> to document interchange is that extracting information from
    Paul> documents in "programmable" document formats is equivalent
    Paul> to the halting problem. That is, it is arbitrarily difficult
    Paul> and cannot be automated in a general fashion.

which is wrong. converting a algorithmic format to a declarative is
basically the same as processing it. so it is possible, but not
necessarily easy. which is exactly because algorithmic formats can solve
arbitrarily complex problems.

    Paul> For example, I conjecture that it is impossible to write a
    Paul> program that will extract the third word from a TeX
    Paul> document. 

TeX can.

    Paul> So the simple lexical scan of the TeX source would find a word
    Paul> that is not third word of the document when printed.


    Paul> This may seem like an obscure and unimportant problem, but I
    Paul> assure you that the problem of converting TeX tables to
    Paul> FrameMaker MIF is just as unsolvable.

because TeX offers basically unlimited features, FrameMaker only a
specified range.

and one day we will have the third generation of text formats (oo),
and problems will at least double. 

source: some blue book from cambridge accademic press, unfortunately i
have forgotten both name and auther. maybe i can dig it out of our

    OOO,   OOOOOOO,        double the fun -
  OO,  OO,  O,   O,  have a bilingual relationship
 O,      O,  O,
 O, O-O, O,   O,     not to be forwarded
 O,      O,  O,      ______
  OO,  OO,  O,   O,   |
    OOO,   OOOOOOO,   |homas <address@hidden>

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