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RE: [Axiom-developer] Re: converting sexps to XML

 From: Page, Bill Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Re: converting sexps to XML Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 06:55:58 -0400

On Wednesday, June 29, 2005 5:49 AM Michel Lavaud wrote:

> ... I have devised a software (AsTeX assistant) that allows to tune
> parts of TeX/LateX documents by selecting small portions of the
> document and displaying it without compiling the whole document - for
> example select a formula or part of formula, or part of a table - and
> display only the formula, or part of the formula or table or etc..
> You have just to select the portion of document in your favorite editor
> (Emacs, or any other editor, even Word), click on the Display button
> of AA, and the selected portion is displayed in the dvi viewing window.
> ... For illustrations, cf.
>
http://www.univ-orleans.fr/EXT/ASTEX/astex/doc/fr/nouv31a/html/nouv31.htm
>

This sounds very similar to WhizzyTeX: "An Emacs minor mode for
incremental viewing of LaTeX documents."

http://pauillac.inria.fr/whizzytex/

WhizzyTeX is remarkably fast for what it does: Using ADVI it displays
in one window an up to date rendered version of the LaTeX document that
you are editing using Emacs in another window. On a 500+ MHz machine
with at least 256 Mb ram, this is acceptably fast for normal usage.
I have even successfully run this on my Zaurus 6000 handheld computer.
I learned about it from a colleague how uses it all of the time for his
writing. And this is now my preferred way of writing LaTeX documents
on my main office computer.

I have seriously considered whether it would be worth hacking the
Emacs code to run Axiom on the \begin{axiom} ... sections before it
is passed to ADVI. I am sure this would be very cool for the average
Emacs hacker. But there are just so many good options available
to do what we want with Axiom these days, that I haven't looked at
doing this more seriously. One idea that I had was to write macros
for TeX to invoke Axiom and process the Axiom commands. This way
it would be completely transparent to LaTeX users.

>...
> I would be very astonished if one could prove that it is impossible
> to implement the DOM concept, or other XML concepts, in LaTeX ?

I would not dare to take-on the challenge of an "impossibility proof"
but there are quite a lot of well known deficiencies and ambiguities
in LaTeX when it comes to representing meaning of mathematical
expressions. LaTeX is designed to be efficient at mathematical
typesetting and it does that extremely well. But if you would
like to design a graphical user interface that would for example
allow a user to select parts of an expressions from the typeset
mathematics displayed by LaTeX and feed that back into a computer
algebra system like Axiom, you would soon discover that in many
cases this is very difficult to do without the help of a human
being to interpret the expressions. Something as simple as the
standard conventions of multiplication and application of operators
can completely confuse the input system of most computer algebra
systems.

> http://www.univ-orleans.fr/EXT/ASTEX
> ftp://ftp.univ-orleans.fr/pub/tex/PC/AsTeX