[OS X TeX]

Joachim Kock jkock at start.no
Mon Sep 13 16:40:07 EDT 2004


I am working my way through a backlog of messages on this interesting
subject of magic-lines and tex bundles.

Let me briefly express my opinion:

1) I agree that using %& for other things than formats is a bad idea.  
(But let me add my compliments to the TeXShhop developers for making the
experiment and for taking the encoding issue seriously.)

2) TeX bundles is an interesting idea, and it might lead to a smoother and
more Mac-like user experience.  But on the other hand this will inevitably
lead to bad experiences in terms of portability: the TeX reality will be
hidden from the users and make them ill-prepared to meet the real world
(cf. common experiences with Textures users who don't know what a DVI file
is, and such).  (I am not against the idea, but at least the design should
be worked out in collaboration with the TeX community at large, and its
possible drawbacks should be analyzed.)

3) I like the idea very much that every file should start with a short
header describing what the file is and how it should be read.  This is just
common sense, and probably you all write a few comments for yourself, and
ps files, mail files, and xml files do this.  Clearly it should be possible
to agree on a good format suitable for both human readers and TeX
frontends.  If emacs writes such metadata at the *end* of the file it is
probably an indication that this is meant only for machine readers (and
probably only for emacs).  A human reader will not find any convenience in
reading at the end of the file, it should be at the start.  I don't like
the idea of having this data in a separate file --- you should be able to
open any file and immediately see what it is about; this would not be
possible if the meta-data is stored away in a separate file.  Hence I will
defend that the correct place for these small bits of metadata (encoding,
docroot, etc) is in the text file itself, and at the top.

Just my two cents.


Joachim Kock <kock at math.uqam.ca>
Département de mathématiques -- Université du Québec à Montréal
Case postale 8888, succursale centre-ville
Montréal (Québec), H3C 3P8 -- Canada

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