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Re: [Texmacs-dev] Lisp/TeX/TeXmacs was: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: gcl, s

From: Henri Lesourd
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] Lisp/TeX/TeXmacs was: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: gcl, shared libraries
Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 13:15:51 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.4) Gecko/20030821

Ralf Hemmecke wrote:

TeX is admittedly a strange language, but I don't think that that TeXmacs is any easier.

Honestly, TeX is an horror, you don't even have the possibility to
name local variables, you have only a fixed number of registers,
like in assembly language ! By the way, exactly what TeX is is
an assembly language.

As far as TeXmacs macro language is concerned, I don't know
if it is easier, but at least is a much cleaner and high level language,
which is meant to be as functional as possible (although functional
programming doesn't solves all the problems, but it is another debate).

I've browsed through the documentation yesterday, and I was a little surprised to find out that the style language of TeXmacs is not Scheme (basically it is, but with a few differences). Yet another reason why TeXmacs is not well accepted by the community. It is simply too hard to have your old knowledge in your head (by which you can do things in LaTeX (maybe not the Wysiwyg/m way)) and you would have to find the appropriate commands in the TeXmacs manual. Often guessing just works, but if not, you are stuck and that is more than frustrating.
(Just my recent experiences with TeXmacs.)

To be more precise. I wanted to define some TeXmacs macros as they are described in the manual (Help->Manual->Writing your own style files).


<assign|hello|<macro|name|Hello <person|<arg|name>>!>>

as it is described there nearly drove me crazy. I did not get the "person" macro entered as it was described just below that box. (Even if I am to stupid to read clearly and follow the manual, I find it quite hard to learn the "new" way. And that is frustrating. :-( )

What you need is perhaps a more focussed and user-friendly kind
of documentation. You should at least try:

, all the people who used this as an introduction to TeXmacs programming
learned very quickly what needs to be known (the point is : the number
of things to know is *small*).

Hello TeXmacs, developers. I am certainly not the most usual user, so you probably can ignore my comments. But I actually intended to add (or help to add) some literate programming support to TeXmacs. My experience from yesterday night really let's me think twice about whether I should invest my time into TeXmacs. There is so many things to do (LP support, syntax highlighting, indentation support, (automatic hyperlinking between source files, I haven't yet seen a "back" button so that I could use TeXmacs as a source code browser) and I find it overly hard to achieve something myself in a reasonable amount of time.

You should first give a try to the tutorial above : although
it remains incomplete, it has exactly been written for solving
the kinds of learning problem you are describing now.

Best, Henri

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