[FORGED] Re: Chemical structures with plain TeX

Taylor, P P.Taylor at rhul.ac.uk
Sun Jul 7 09:02:04 CEST 2019

Reinhard Kotucha wrote:

Phil says that some attempts were made in the past and mentioned
ALGOL-68 and VMS.  I'm not familiar with either of them, but I
remember that NOS/VE had commands like DISPLAY_CATALOG and EDIT_FILE.
I suppose that this is what Phil had in mind: a command consists of a
verb and a noun.

Exactly right, except that VMS went further and factored out common elements (as one would wish) so the above would have read


thus allowing DISPLAY, EDIT, etc., to be used in a variety of other, different contexts.  This is the primary attraction (for me); VMS was just so LOGICAL, so CONSISTENT.  And all commands could be unambiguously abbreviated to the first four characters, so those of a UNix bent (never type one more character than you need to) could have typed DISP rather than DISPLAY ...

One problem with Peter's code (and Peter knows me well enough to know that I am not singling him out for criticism) is that commands such as "lxprintf" are just gobbledygook.  It clearly "prints" something (tho' even that is debatable), so in VMS terminology it would be "PRINT" followed by sufficient English-language qualifiers to replace the "l", "x" and "f" with their more verbose (but infinitely more comprehensible) equivalents.  Let me hazard a guess at some of them :  PRINT/XML/FORMATTED (I have no idea what the "l" might mean).

** Phil.
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