[texhax] xml, texinfo, info, ... (Was: Re: LaTeX users mailing list)

William F Hammond hmwlfsr at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 12 21:16:57 CEST 2013

Discussions sometimes migrate.

Shawn Wilson <ag4ve.us at gmail.com> writes in part:

> I think there's also a user acceptance part to this. Not
> many people use tex. Everyone I know that does layout
> stuff used xml (docbook and such).  ...
> I only started using tex because I am finding the need to
> do presentations and refuse to use anything I can't track
> in source control (and I *hate* xml).

Obviously, xml has it own user acceptance issues.  But
rhetorically I would hasten to ask what brand of xml you,
hate because it makes a lot of difference.

A well structured LaTeX document is equivalent to an XML
document under a certain brand of XML tailored for the
class and package choices in the LaTeX document.

The advantage in understanding this is that good brands of
XML, including brands equivalent to good LaTeX, can be
robustly translated to other formats -- for instance, HTML.
(This is the secret to getting things like tex4ht, latexml,
mathjax, ... to work with one's documents.)

> As an aside of my experience so far: I've found, info for
> creating non-science docs is lacking (I might want math in
> a doc but it isn't my use case).   ...

It is interesting that you cite Info, which originates with
texinfo.  Texinfo is equivalent to its own brand of XML.
The info output stream is largely being superseded by the HTML
output stream.  Historically, math has not been part of texinfo
because there was/is no provision for rendering it in the info
output stream.  But today there is provision for rendering it
in HTML (version 5), particularly if one invokes MathJax to
help lame web browsers.

It would be easy to formalize large parts of TeX math for
non-bifurcated use with Texinfo if only someone would pick
up the shovel.  From my viewpoint it would be even better
if, following U. Vieth's late 1990s use of LaTeX-for-texinfo
in the TDS documentation project, texinfo is first fully
formalized as a LaTeX profile and the math added there.

For more see my TUG 2010 talk, "LaTeX Profiles as Objects in
the Category of Markup Languages",

                              -- Bill

Email: hmwlfsr at yahoo.com
       gellmu at gmail.com

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