[texhax] Strange formatting.

Paul Isambert zappathustra at free.fr
Wed Apr 14 09:19:41 CEST 2010

c.a.rowley at open.ac.uk a écrit :
>>> no, not a bug, but a knuth design
>>> decision.
> And hence, as ever, somewhat unintuitive 
> (unless you want to look as deeply as Knuth 
> and Robin into the use of text as a sequence 
> of commands and the power of the empty line!).

If I may add my own point of view, what we're talking about here is 
neither a bug nor unintuitive. It just reminds us that TeX is not simply 
a programming language (if it is one at all) but a typographic device, 
which implies some assumptions. Baseline distances are meaningless 
unless they're related to paragraph building: a single line has no 
baseline distance. So it is normal that \normalsize influence the whole 
paragraph, it wouldn't make sense otherwise.

Now, Tom, that something at the END influences the BEGINNING of anything 
is the basic philosophy of TeX, and once again it has to do with 
typography. A typeset text is not a sequence of events, where what has 
happened before can't be modified afterward; a typeset text is more like 
a picture in which the balance of things depends on slight details. 
Thus, although we type paragraphs token after token, TeX tries to get 
the big picture, and that's why we're using it! This might be "very 
confusing for users", but then TeX users should be aware that they're 
doing typography here, and that programming in TeX is meant to serve 
that goal.

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