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Where we stand
- To: Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU
- Subject: Where we stand
- From: Alan Bawden <ALAN@AI.AI.MIT.EDU>
- Date: Tue, 27 May 86 16:52:10 EDT
- Cc: cl-steering@SU-AI.ARPA, Moon@SCRC-STONY-BROOK.ARPA
- In-reply-to: Msg of Tue 27 May 1986 15:44 EDT from Scott E. Fahlman <Fahlman at C.CS.CMU.EDU>
Date: Tue, 27 May 1986 15:44 EDT
From: Scott E. Fahlman <Fahlman at C.CS.CMU.EDU>
No, but I decided to disagree with it. As I said at the time in mail I
hope you got, I think that having a way of quickly whipping up a
decent-looking document with an index, visible section headings, and
some way of getting at distinctive fonts for emphasis and for code
examples will be valuable during the development process. I don't think
that a lot of effort should go into making the document beautiful at
this point, but I want it to be reasonably functional and not just
80-column uglitext for reading on terminals.
While there is something to be said for the ability to generate passable
hardcopy, I have yet to see a text-justifier that has a notation for font
shifts that doesn't render the input text unreadable. TeX's notation is
perhaps the worst of the bunch.
When generating documentation myself, I generally stick to a few simple,
readable conventions to indicate -emphasis-, CODE, <meta-variables>,
.section names, etc. Then a couple of TECO macros generally suffice to
convert the result to TeX input or whatever, when the time comes for fancy
output. I don't know if a group can work this way, but it sure would be
nice to be able to work with readable text. I want to be able to get
proposed text in my mailbox, and not have to run it through TeX in order to
read it without donning my kludge-proof goggles.
Look at it this way, this document is for communication among ourselves
almost as much as it is for communication with the rest of the world.