[pdftex] pdftex compression -- proposed addition to manual
gjb at gbch.net
Sun Aug 26 14:42:26 CEST 2001
Timothy Murphy wrote:
| One of the advantages of literate program a la Knuth
| is that it makes it much easier to keep documentation and coding in sync.
| In fact it is quite difficult for them to diverge.
Can you substantiate this claim? It seems to me that it is a
simple matter for the documentation to get out of whack with any
| I think this is an important issue.
| For example, I would say that at least 50% of the Linux HOWTOs are useless
| because of changes in coding since they were written.
I don't doubt this, but I have seen no evidence that LP might
| The great Ken Thompson said "A program should do one thing, and do it well".
To me, that provides support for the anti-LP brigade --- let the
documentation people write and maintain their part of the world;
and let the programmers, inspired by the documents, write the
I have really tried to get on the LP wagon. I've studied the
documentation for most LP systems; I've read reams of LP code;
I've approached it with a positive attitude. I've even written
a couple of LP programs. But I keep seeing toy programs that
are far less readable/maintainable than they would have been
without the LP baggage. And I have seen no serious LP-based
software that can compete with the non-LP code I write in my day
I'm not suggesting that it's impossible to write good software
using LP --- I'm a keen user of TeX and I believe it's of high
quality in terms of its functionality. But I would want to
slash my wrists if somebody told me I had to work on its code.
It's not enough to say: "This method will make everything better
because of x, y and z." It's necessary to conduct experiments
that demonstrate the truth of the claims. I have not seen any
such research. What I have seen is evidence that points the
I am convinced that other programming paradigms --- including
such ideas as structured programming and practices that
encourage clarity of expression and maintainability --- have
much more to offer than LP.
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