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Re: LOUT and XML

From: Valeriy E. Ushakov
Subject: Re: LOUT and XML
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 18:34:19 +0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.3i

On Tue, Sep 18, 2001, Ian Carr-de Avelon wrote:
[two emails are collated here]

> /ch-image{ch-data
> dup type /stringtype ne{ctr get /ctr ctr 1 add N}if}B
> your first problem is that you have no idea which characters and words
> have a meaning in the language and which must be defined elsewhere.
> XML as a universal format for human readable machine data really only
> rests on the angle brackets, but in giving you one highlighting 
> system in your editor it really helps if you are going to work with
> >=5 industry standards for input and >=3 formats for output.

With a number of XML DTDs around (or whatever they are called in XML),
I really fail to see how this is different for XML.  E.g. in assembler
(human readable machine data) you can clearly distinguish opcodes,
registers and literals too and you can get them highlighted in the
editor easily - does it really help *that* much?

> Get the conversion scripts for both directions writen, give the new
> format a name: <lout>, loutXML? publicise it and accept questions to
> the list in both formats, and lout can be the number one XML
> formating system in no time.  Any of us could do it, but you need
> one accepted and blessed version to give it the neccessary intertia
> to be unstopable.
> in the context of work which lots of people have hanging over them,
> acceptance of an alternative XML syntax, for just the people who
> want it, would get us a lot of friends very quickly and there could
> be real benefits from them.

Can you please elaborate on that?  What are those benefits?  Lout is
not a commercial product looking for a wider market to boost revenues.
And it doesn't look like we gonna get a lot of people (hell, any
people) contributing code.  After all if Lout is oh so great for them,
why they are not doing anything with it *now*?  If the thin shim of
syntax difference puts them to a dead stop in their using Lout in its
current form, why they are not doing anything to address that?  Just
don't tell me that it's because they don't know about Lout (huh, after
almost ten years of its "public" life?) and that an XML syntax for
Lout gonna magically change that.

So why bother?  Personally, I have exactly no [expletive deleted]
motivation to do anything to please and attract the XML crowd.  I'm
quite happy about the way Lout is now, and if suddenly I will have
some free time to do some serious hacking on Lout internals, I have
few projects in mind that I'd better spent that time on.

If some XML folks need a printing solution that involves Lout, then
*they* should work on it.  So far the only thing I heard from XML
folks is "let's change Lout to use XML syntax".  Suddenly it's Lout's
fault that they can't even *start* using it - how pathetic!

Look at this for a different attitude (note the date):

| Date: Wed, 12 Apr 1995 10:31:54 +0200
| From: address@hidden (Dr. Thomas F. Gordon)
| Subject: Re: Lout and SGML
| I have written a SGML to Lout translator in Scheme, for the ISO 12083
| "standard" document types (books and articles).  I've used it for
| a book I've written

I can point out few problems in Lout that have the potential to be the
*real* showstoppers and Jeff can undoubtfully point out even more.  I
don't hear the sound of XML folks hitting those showstoppers hard in
their ways to use Lout for their printing needs.  If there's a real
interest in using Lout for XML printing, then the engineering
resources, if any will be made available, are *much better* spent on
improving the core layout engine.

SY, Uwe
address@hidden                         |       Zu Grunde kommen
http://www.ptc.spbu.ru/~uwe/            |       Ist zu Grunde gehen

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