[XeTeX] "new-babel", was: Ancient Greek hyphenation

François Charette firmicus at ankabut.net
Sat Apr 21 14:52:26 CEST 2007

I agree with Will that before creating an "xbabel taskforce" we should 
certainly exchange some thoughts and do some serious brainstorming with 
people like Javier Besos, Alexej and others. But I don't think we should 
just simply revamp Babel to make it compatible with XeTeX. It would be 
better IMHO to implement a package (or collection of packages) for 
multilingual typesetting  with XeTeX that is as modular, light-weight 
and flexible as possible. It should not impose rigid norms on the user. 
I am no Babel expert, but what I know of it makes me believe Bruno is 
right: starting more or less from scratch will probably pay off much 
more in the long-run.

> This is interesting, though.
> What exactly would a new babel package perform?
> I think Bruno is on the right track with wanting to eliminate the  
> formatting-changing aspects of the package, since that is pretty  
> fragile when you start talking about changing other packages and  
> document classes.
> I don't write multilingual documents, but it seems to me there's only  
> a couple of things required: hyphenation, and optionally font- 
> switching. XeTeX's new "auto font switch" idea (in the svn  
> repository) should be incorporated. And that should all be bundled up  
> in the \foreignlanguage--type commands.
> But what have I missed? Because the babel packages can get pretty  
> complicated. It looks to me like there's more effect stripping back  
> the existing ones than creating new ones from scratch...
> Will
For the very same reasons I would tend to think the opposite :-)


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