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Re: [Texmacs-dev] (For the Wikipedia article) Algorithms and format

From: Giovanni Piredda
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] (For the Wikipedia article) Algorithms and format
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2020 17:21:28 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:78.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/78.5.0

On 30.11.20 16:03, TeXmacs wrote:
Hi Giovanni,

On Mon, Nov 30, 2020 at 01:56:13PM +0100, Giovanni Piredda wrote:
However you need also to add that the \extern primitive allows to
access these computational capabilities with an underlying
scripting language. Here the comparison can be made with HTML/JS.
And the native macro system too pushes one outside the markup system, right?
One has to distinguish between the 'syntax' of a document
(the way a parser should understand it) and its actual 'semantics'.
The _syntax_ of TeXmacs documents is relatively simple:
anyone can write a parser for TeXmacs documents.
The semantics of TeXmacs is more complex,
since you may need to evaluate macros or extern constructs.
The same holds for Html+Javascript.

In the case of TeX/LaTeX, there is no clean distinction between
syntax and semantics, whence the problems for parsing and converting LaTeX.

Thanks for the answer, it will take a while to grasp this (and the discussion with Massimiliano) well enough that I can write about it on Wikipedia. The whole "conversion" issue must be more subtle than I perceive because (despite several explanations) I do not yet understand why in general it does not work. One objection to "the halting problem forbids conversion" that is in my mind is that it should not be possible to write compilers. But we can drop the topic for the moment, I will go back to this if I feel I have made some progress.

Besides, on Wikipedia - for the other languages, I will do what I can (i.e. "value substitutions") but will not use Google translate, although I know that it works well, as I want to be confident of the things that I write.

Finally, for my remark that TeX is the easiest to read "markup" that
I know, it occurred to me that the format of computer algebra
systems is still easier to read; but perhaps it is not comprehensive
enough to be used for typesetting a document, and if you include
more syntactic expressions so that it is, it becomes as difficult to
read as TeX at least. Maybe I will experiment a bit with
Mathematica, which as far as I remember can format mathematical
expressions as well; I need to express all input in linear form of
course otherwise it is easier to read but the comparison is unfair ;-)
This is getting more and more off-topic.

You are right---it is something that interests me, but this is not the right place to discuss it.


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