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Re: comments re draft version 2.0

From: <hutch@psfc.mit.edu>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 19:10:24 -0400 (EDT)
To: David Carlisle <davidc@nag.co.uk>
cc: www-math@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0004111858500.15299-100000@silas.psfc.mit.edu>

On Tue, 11 Apr 2000, David Carlisle wrote:

> 
> > There is no such thing as TeX syntax for Content
> why ever not?
> 
> A tex package could fairly easily be written that had exactly the
> constructs of content mathml, but in more traditional tex syntax.
> \apply{\sin \ci{x}}
> for instace, being a syntax I just made up, but which is clearly
> transformable to and from
> <apply><sin/> <ci>x</ci></apply>
> with no loss of information.
> 
> > , except in so far as TeX-the-programming-language could
> > masochistically be used to express it  
> 

I suppose it's a personal judgement whether your approach is masochistic,
but it is precisely what my "except" clause refers to. 
TeX-the-markup-language does not have defined the semantics to express
content. TeX-the-programming-language can be programmed to do most things.
The question is, though, whether it is a good choice of language for the
purpose in mind. I would argue that since expressing Content requires you
to change completely the semantics of TeX (relative to Plain or LaTeX for
example) in writing equations, it would be an arbitrary choice to use it.

> 
> > TeX to Content translation, I submit, is an exercise in futility, for the
> > simple reason that there is no unique translation from Presentation to
> > Content. The semantics aren't defined.  
> 
> If the TeX macro package is specifically designed to encode the
> semantics of Content MathML, then the exercise is not at all futile.
> This is, as I commented in my message that you quoted, a distinct
> activity from converting legacy documents.
> 

The point is that you would require a "package" that completely changed
the whole manner of entering equations. Again, yes that could be expressed
using TeX-programming, since the syntax of TeX can be changed almost
arbitrarily, but it would be unrecognizable to authors as the TeX they
know and (like us) love.

Ian
Received on Tuesday, 11 April 2000 19:10:35 GMT

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