[pdftex] pdftex compression -- proposed addition to manual

Hans Hagen pragma at wxs.nl
Sun Aug 26 22:36:06 CEST 2001

At 03:12 PM 8/25/2001 +1000, Greg Black wrote:

>More comments does not mean good comments.  And excess comments
>usually indicate poor code; and far too often they get out of
>synch with the code, at which point they become a hindrance.

It depends, in tex and mfont there are sections explaining the principles 
behind breaking pars into lines, hyphenation, curve construction etc. Lit 
prog at least makes sure that such background info ends up in the source 
[with typeset formulas].

>He was writing unstructured programs.  Many people still feel
>that this was a bad choice.  It certainly resulted in one of the
>worst programming languages ever invented --- I love using TeX
>and I have taught myself to program it, but I loathe it.

Hm. Think of the hard and software of those days. Imagine that you have to 
wait a night to get the tex book run. I assume that there are some reasons 
why some code is fuzzy [like those z@ things in plain or efficient but 
unreadable macros in teh texbook source]; even the over one Meg dvi file 
must have been a problem.

>| So he called this style "literate programming", because no one
>| would want to be accused of writing an "illiterate" program.
>I couldn't care less if he calls my code illiterate --- it's
>maintainable, it works, it doesn't have bugs.  Pejorative terms

hm, quite a claim. I wonder how in 25 years from now, programmers [if still 
around and not bypased by machines] will rate todays code

btw, nts is tex, redesigned and in oo style, some 1000 classes, non literal 
etc etc, but 50-100 times slower than tex, pretty memory consuming, done in 
java [and therefore at least for a couple of years considered to be a 
modern thing].

>won't change any of that.  DEK has had many brilliant ideas and
>he has made many important contributions to computer science,
>but the "literate programming" idea was just plain wacko and
>deserves to die.

Think of this: you have a 2035 type computer, actually it's a distributed 
thing, so hardly visible. It understands natural language and permits you 
to express your ideas and helps you sort out your problems. So, sitting 
there, you tell it a story: i want to make a document, bla bla bla, it 
should look like this, bla bla bla, and the output should be pdf etc etc. 
Since this computer has a coouple of downloads of typographers and maybe a 
copy of knuth and thanh stored, it can solve your problem and after a while 
this nicely typeset book shows up as a 3d virtual image.

So, as soon as we can really communicate with computers, literate 
programming may blossom, but code will be gone.

                                   Hans Hagen | PRAGMA ADE | pragma at wxs.nl
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