[pdftex] pdftex compression -- proposed addition to manual

M. Wroth mark at astrid.upland.ca.us
Fri Aug 24 21:45:21 CEST 2001

One of the *reasons* I'm a believer in literate programming is that it both 
gives good facilities for and strongly encourages good commenting.  Very 
few literate programs live up to Knuth's standard of being enjoyable essays 
in their own right.  But they seem to get better comments than illiterate* 

Of course, there is a self-selection bias in that -- people who voluntarily 
use literate programming are likely to write more comments anyway.  But I 
think I see the effect even in people whose comments in ordinary code are 
... sketchy.

At 03:26 PM 8/22/01 +0200, Martin Schröder wrote:
>On 2001-08-22 06:05:48 -0700, M. Wroth wrote:
> > I'm firmly in the camp that says literate programming improves the code &
> > saves time in the long run. So my opinion may be biased :-)
>The problem with the pdfTeX sources IMHO is not the lack of
>literate programming but the lack of comments. litprog would be
>perfect but good documentation in the code is a must IMHO.

I actually agree with you (as a matter of principle -- I haven't looked at 
the PDFTeX code).  I made the comment because of the implication that the 
state of literate programming tools was a hindrance to writing in that 
style.  While that may be true, I'd be interested in discussing why it is 
believed to be so (assuming, of course, that it is :-)

*IIRC in his original article Knuth commented that one of the reasons he 
chose the term "literate programming" is that he was tired of being accused 
of writing "unstructured" programs when "structured programming" was the 
vogue.  So he called this style "literate programming", because no one 
would want to be accused of writing an "illiterate" program.

Mark B. Wroth
<mark at astrid.upland.ca.us>

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