Some thoughts on a ground-up remake of LaTeX

David Carlisle d.p.carlisle at
Sat Nov 6 17:21:49 CET 2021

On Sat, 6 Nov 2021 at 16:08, Philip Taylor (Hellenic Institute) <
P.Taylor at> wrote:

> On 06/11/2021 15:44, Don Hosek wrote:
> As David says, this is a ground-up language. By separation of concerns
> there’s a good possibility to manage some interesting use cases. The
> architecture is not unlike a contemporary compiler in that the parsing is
> done to an intermediate representation which will then be converted to the
> final output, but this means that, for example, someone could plug a XML
> parser into the front end and use all of the back-end capabilities for
> typesetting. There will be multiple back ends allowing the same file to
> reliably target output to PDF, HTML/ePub, XML+MathML or even InDesign or
> Word. I’m thinking that a direct-to-screen backend will make sense for the
> beamer-equivalent and give greater flexibility than is currently possible
> using PDF presentation mode. But that’s all many years in the future. Right
> now all I can do is take a text file with TeX-style coding of -- --- `` ‘’
> etc.¹ and output the corresponding Unicode characters.
> OK, thank you, understood Don.  But why, then, do you want to "take a text
> file with TeX-style coding of -- --- `` ‘’ etc.¹ and output the
> corresponding Unicode characters", when in your manifesto you write
> "Unicode needs to be a first-class citizen. There’s no reason in 2020 for a
> document writer to have to type \’a instead of á in a document. UTF-8 is
> the new 7-bit ASCII." ?  Who, these days, writes -- --- `` ‘’ when they can
> so easily write –, —, “, ” ?

lots of people actually.

with a standard UK keyboard for example, it's much easier to type \’a  and
--- than á  and  —


> *** Phil.*
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