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Re: [Axiom-developer] Terms of Surrender (was: BAD tim)

From: root
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Terms of Surrender (was: BAD tim)
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2005 08:33:08 -0500

> I think it would be really cool to port Axiom from 'noweb' to a TeXmacs
> based literate programming system of some kind.  There is at least one
> person on the TeXmacs users and/or development mailing list who has
> mentioned this idea in the past.  Since TeXmacs keeps the document in a
> tree form, it makes me ponder... what if an Axiom language, a descendant
> of Spad or Aldor, was written especially for the TeXmacs environment,
> utilizing a tree-form that encapsulates the semantics, not just the
> appearance as type-set, of an expression --- something like the two
> forms of MathML --- was created?  It could be semi-graphical, using an
> evolved mathematical notation[1] maybe with some lines and arrows...
> circles and arrows and an explanation on the back of each one.

axiom's literate programming style follows Knuth's work on Tex in spirit.
we use Latex (he used Tex) and noweb (he used Web).

we only use two pieces of functionality in noweb so far, the chunking
mechanism which has two parts (definition and use)

   definiion        <<any string>>=

   use              <<any string>>

and the quoting mechanism 

   quote            [[anything]]

there has been some discussion about rewriting noweb in lisp but
the pushback is that more features will be used in the future.

in addition axiom has a "booklet" function (written by David Mentre)
which lives on top of noweb. the noweb chunking mechanism allows
any string in the chunk name.

the booklet idea is to define a URL-like syntax for chunknames that
we can use for breaking documents into parts. currently we support
the "file" protocol so you can say:

   file include      <<file:path-to-file>>=

and the file will be included inline. 

in addition, bill page has made it possible to edit pamphlet files
online at the axiom wiki site. this could greatly simplify the whole
system maintenance problem, make it possible to "drag and drop" a
changed file from the website to your running axiom, have it rebuilt,
and added to the system. this could eliminate the CVS/Arch/Darcs
mechanism from the user level and create a whole new way of doing
system patch distribution.

changing axiom's hundreds of files to texmac's non-latex form seems
unlikely for several reasons. latex is a standard that everyone uses.
moving away from it seems counter-intuitive.



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