[XeTeX] XeTeX maintenance

Joseph Wright joseph.wright at morningstar2.co.uk
Mon Apr 27 10:14:09 CEST 2015

On 27/04/2015 07:35, Philip Taylor wrote:
> Going even further off-topic, but pursuing this one aspect of the
> thread, is there not only real one problem :  the need to educate users
> to cease marking up their documents in raw (La)TeX syntax, and instead
> to express them in well-formed XML ?  I have just finished typesetting
> (using [plain] XeTeX) a 544pp book marked up entirely in XML, and whilst
> I have made no efforts to generate PDF/UA, I am convinced that the task
> of so doing (assuming that the necessary primitives are or were
> available in XeTeX) would have been 1/1000 of the effort needed to do so
> had the book been marked up in traditional (La)TeX syntax with its usual
> accompanying conflation of form and content.

As Ross says in a parallel message, XML raises different issues and is
not a panacea. For a start, we can ask if XML is a particularly good
format not only here or for anything (there's a blog post by Linus
Torvalds suggesting the answer is 'no'!). Assuming XML is at some level
a good plan, that still doesn't make it a good plan for the end user nor
ensure that the end sure will stick to logical structures. There's also
the business that TeX is useful because sometimes we do need some visual
adjustment or programming element.

LaTeX2e is already not bad for structure if used in the right way, and
ConTeXt MkIV has gone further along an XML-like road without using this
as the native syntax (\startsection/\stopsection for example), and of
course plain users can define similar structures (indeed without the
constraints that LaTeX has of needing not to break things).
Joseph Wright

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