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Re: QuotedDisplay in DocumentLayout Use clause

From: Franck Arnaud
Subject: Re: QuotedDisplay in DocumentLayout Use clause
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 98 10:53:31 GMT

Quite a while ago, Valeriy E. Ushakov wrote:

> IMHO, `dl' has grown too large.  It contains fundamental things like
> low level page layout and support for generic large scale structures
> along with things that logically belongs to a logically higher level -
> like displays, lists, figures and the like.
> May be it's time to consider splitting dl?  In particular, I thought
> about the core stuff like pages and structural elements.  As Lout
> becomes (I dare to hope) popular as a target of SGML formatting,
> separating this stuff will help developers - for they will be able to
> reuse the core but add bells and whistles that suits there backends.

> OTOH, where it's a burden for a user to put extra braces and invoke 
> extra symbols

But is it really worth the extra pain? I find Lout's syntax often very 
cumbersome and antilogical. I would much prefer to have

@List {
@Item {First}
@Item {Second}

than the nonsense about @List/@EndList and the horrible @BeginXXXs in sections 
and the "don't ask" // at the start of documents etc. Everything could be 
dealt with a clean syntax it seems to me. Maybe the more controversial thing 
would be paragraphs but I'm the kind of extremist who always ends their HTML 
paragraphs with the (optional) </p>, even when writing raw HTML with a dumb 

Wouldn't a more consistently functional syntax allow us to get rid of macros 
who seem a source of great confusion and arcane error messages? At least if dl 
is split, maybe it could be macro-free and macros used only in upper-level 
packages (and disabled from the command line?).

> - a backend that targets Lout does not care - so I anticipate that SGML 
> transformations will target their own Lout > packages, tightly coupled with 
> the backend.

Another thing that could be interesting (but probably not realistic) is for 
Lout to use XML syntax directly:

{Times} @Font {Text} ==> <font typeface="times">Text</font>

That would allow the many many people familiar with XML syntax to learn Lout 
more easily, and to use XML>XML transformers to produce Lout.

Franck Arnaud   home <address@hidden>
                work <address@hidden>

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