[rfc-i] LaTeX proposal misunderstood

Iljitsch van Beijnum iljitsch at muada.com
Wed Mar 28 15:12:10 PDT 2012

On 28 Mar 2012, at 22:48 , Phillip Hallam-Baker wrote:

> I am not generating text using a markup language direct. I have to
> have a tool that allows me to immediately see the consequences of what
> I type. It does not have to be WYSIWYG but it can't be a raw markup
> language.

I mostly agree with you, and I think we can mostly have that.

Word processors let you tag paragraphs or strings of characters with what they call styles. We can define the styles we find useful, such as different kinds of headings, regular text, blockquotes, preformatted code, you name it. Tagging a paragraph with a style is often a question of a single keypress when the cursor is somewhere inside the paragraph, and you can automatically have a next paragraph use the same or a different style.

This can all be converted to HTML/CSS or XML as needed.

The parts where a word processor probably won't be able to get the job done is the front and back matter. But the front matter is highly structured so that can largely be addressed with some kind of fill in form that generates whatever code is needed, while references to drafts and RFCs could also be solved through some tool because they live a canonical place and have a canonical name, leaving only the less numerous references to outside publications which will always require some work.

Bottom line: creating a highly structured document is never going to happen without some effort and/or additional conversion steps, unless we adopt some existing tool wholesale. And I don't see how we can agree on a single tool even if longevity wouldn't be an issue.

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