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Re: LOUT and XML

From: Valeriy E. Ushakov
Subject: Re: LOUT and XML
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 19:27:22 +0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.3i

On Wed, Sep 19, 2001 at 11:02:54 +0200, Ian Carr-de Avelon wrote:

> > 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?
> How much is *that*? Assembler normally looks like
> the only exception I ever saw was assembler in Forth. I never
> saw ADD{EF} or <ADD immediate="EF"> so maybe it does make *that* much
> difference even when the processors are different.

You miss the point.  Yes, asm code *looks* very similar on the
surface: opcode, operands, registers, dereferencing - but that's all.
To understand the code you must know semantic of opcodes, addressing
modes etc.  And e.g. m68k even has two different asm syntaxes with
different src/dst operand order!  So does

    move.l   %d1, %d2

moves d1 to d2 or does it move d2 to d1?  (Actually, in real life
those two syntaxes has slightly diferent mnemonics, so you'll be able
to tell which is which (and m68k actually has *three* different asm
syntaxes, iirc: motorolla, mit and at&t :)).

Asm is human readable machine data too, but it's not (easily) human
writable data.  While that's a bit of an exaggeration ;), but do
anyone really program in asm these days except for few those unlucky
ones that need to write low-level kernel code (like me ;)?

> I would think the first benefit may be more interest from printers,
> and offers to accept Lout files as input.

Ok, I'm not very familiar with print shops, but can't you submit a
final form document (PostScript) to them?  Why print shops would want
to format the document themselves?

> I would hope in the long term to see a library of Lout macros as
> extensive as, but better documented than, TeX.

I feel there's a contradiction in your logic.  A CTAN-like library is
mostlty of interest for human users that write directly in the
language.  XML folks that need printing solution wouldn't give a damn
about a library of Lout "macros".  Joe average XML user shouldn't even
know if TeX or Lout or whatever was used to get him the PostScript
file from his XML document.

> > After all if Lout is oh so great for them, why they are not doing
> > anything with it *now*?
> I think because they are looking at all the options available for a
> best bet and before they look very deaply at any of the software
> available, the attitude to "the XML crowd" frightens them off.

This is not an attitude towards the XML crowd.  This is my attitude
towards how that discussions usually start.

> > So far the only thing I heard from XML
> > folks is "let's change Lout to use XML syntax".
> What I have heard is:

> "Will there be a way for Lout to work with XML." 

Pardon, but that's not true.  

It started like: 

"Will Lout be converted to use XML as its input syntax".
(Can't you see the difference?)

> "Noooooo! It won't help you at all anyway."

Which, I maintain, is true to the question that *really* was asked.

> "I think it might help me."

> "You are wrong, that you think that shows that you know nothing."

The real answer, of course, was:

Please show us what have you tried so far and what are the problems
you encounter with that approach.

In the context of the discussion I read that last question this way:

Q: I want to use Lout for $problem.  I haven't tried to do anything
yet to solve my $problem using Lout, but I think it might help me if
you would change Lout to solve my $problem for me.

So, to repeat myself, suddenly this is Lout's fault that one cannot
even start to use it to solve his $problem?

> If we could move from that to:
> "Will there be a way for Lout to work with XML."
> "There will if you make one."

Sure we could move to this.  Just ask *that* question,
not "Will Lout be converted to use XML as its input syntax".

> >| From: address@hidden (Dr. Thomas F. Gordon)
> >| 
> >| 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
> Is this available by FTP?

I don't know.

> OK, lets try not to crash any planes over this I'll come back when I
> have something.

Just to make it clear, I'm not anti-XML per se.  I actually did some
work on lout backend for jade in 1997.  Due to lack of time this was
nowhere near the completion.  I posted the summary of problems with
Lout that I encountered.  May be for XML these problems are not
relevant, or may be some can find solution to those problems.  I've
seen reports that some guy wrote a Lout backend for jade, but I
haven't evaluated it.  My understanding is that several people did
some work on Lout and SGML/XML.  At least one of them, sdc (former
typeset), is actually known to work (mmm, the link to it at the home
page is broken).

And somehow I haven't seen anyone of them posting to this list with
proposals to change Lout input syntax to XML ;).

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

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