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Re: Learning groff eqn (was: Typesetting Mathematics by Kernighan and Ch

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: Re: Learning groff eqn (was: Typesetting Mathematics by Kernighan and Cherry, retypeset)
Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2022 00:44:00 -0500

At 2022-07-02T19:47:49+0200, Ingo Schwarze wrote:
> Hi Branden,
> G. Branden Robinson wrote on Sat, Jul 02, 2022 at 11:57:21AM -0500:
> > I was thinking this morning that at least groff's lex.cpp for eqn
> > could be translated into EBNF for a groff_eqn(7) page; that way the
> > extensions would be documented too.
> In fact, i'm not a fan of putting BNF into user-facing documentation.
> It is good for a language definition in a formal standard because it
> is relatively precise for describing syntax, compared to less formal
> ways of describing syntax.
> But for user documentation, the downside of separating the description
> of syntax and semantics, and the downside of BNF being less readable
> than a less formal syntax description, usually outweigh the benefit of
> higher precision.

Hmm, okay, I can see that.

> > So what I would like to see is an _original_ document introducing
> > the novice to GNU eqn.
> [... reordered ...]
> > Before we have such a thing in tutorial form, we should probably
> > have a comprehensive eqn language _reference_, and a groff_eqn(7)
> > page could well be the vehicle for that.
> I certainly don't object to that approach.
> What you say sounds reasoable to me.
> By the way, it looks like Ted Harding did something like that:

I had no idea this existed.  Thank you!  It _is_ nice.  I wonder if
Ted's still around, and willing to contribute it to groff officially.
If not, I guess I'll have to take some notes and then never look at it
again so that I can rewrite it (or give my notes to someone else so that
they can).


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