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Issue 2012, Number 1    [Published 2012-10-22]

Bashful Writing and Active Documents

Yossi Gil

Abstract: Computerized typesetting still relies on metaphors drawn from the letterpress printing domain and is still concerned largely with the production of documents printed on paper. Active documents is an emerging technology by which the product of computerized typesetting is more than an aesthetically pleasing composition of letters, words and punctuation characters broken into lines and pages. An active document offers modes of interaction with its reader, while the document itself may change its content in response to events taking place in the external world. Bashful documents, the concept proposed by the bashful package, and discussed in this article, extend the user interaction offered by active documents to the time of the document creation. For example, the author of a textbook on computer programming may use bashful to automatically include in the text a transcript of a demonstration program, that is a precise replica of the program's execution at the time the document was authored. When writing a report on an important experiment, a scientist may employ bashful to automatically execute the experiment, whenever the report's text is run through LaTeX, and even include the experiment's results in the output document.
Joseph Gil, known as Yossi or Yogi, is on the faculty of the department of computer science at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. He first came to appreciate LaTeX while working as a summer an intern at Dec SRC, and meeting Leslie Lamport there. Ever since then, he wrote all his papers in LaTeX. Gil's research interests are diverse, but his main interest is in programming languages. In fact, the bashful package was developed as part of his work on writing a new text book on programming languages for the Technion students. You can reach him at yogi at cs dot technion dot ac dot il.

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