[OS X TeX] Who Wrote These, Please.

David Watson dewatson at mac.com
Mon Mar 20 23:13:40 EST 2006

On Sep 13, 2004, at 3:56 PM, Joachim Kock wrote:

> Hello again,
> since the question of document-root tags is in the air, and also in
> connection with recent discussions about getting rid of auxiliary  
> files
> like log files, I would like to keep you informed about recent  
> developments
> in tetexComm, Alpha's alternative interface to tetex.
> The slogan is that the metadata is in the log file!
> Of course this is just a slogan, and not a claim that the log file  
> should
> be the solution to the metadata problem, but it does illustrate a  
> metadata
> aspect of log files that seems not to have been observed before:
> With the most recent version of tetexComm you don't have to indicate
> document-roots in those secondary tex files, because if you invoke  
> tex on
> them there is a mechanism that guesses the root file with great  
> accuracy by
> briefly scanning nearby log files.  This is instantaneous in most  
> cases,
> and takes a fraction of a second in more complicated situations.  (In
> extreme cases, like if the tex file is sourced from two different  
> roots,
> then the user will be asked to choose.)
> It's a short Tcl script (of course!) but it should be easy to  
> implement
> in other scripting languages like lisp or perl (or perhaps  
> applescript?),
> if for some reason you are not using Alpha :-)
> The algorithm is simple: if there is a log file with the same  
> basename, and
> that log file does not end with "No pages of output", then the file  
> itself
> is chosen as root.  Otherwise look for log files in the same  
> directory, and
> check if they have logged a sourcing of the file in question.   
> Otherwise,
> step one and then two directories up, and if still no appropriate  
> log file
> is found, check also if there should be log files in subdirectories  
> of the
> current directory.  (If no clues are found at all, then typeset the  
> calling
> file, like every other tex system would have done.)  (If for some  
> reason
> you are sourcing files over greater distances then you'll have to  
> dig into
> the Tcl code and set the depth to something greater than 2...)
> Needless to say: if there is an explicit indication, then that  
> indication
> is followed.  (In Alpha, such indications are implemented in terms  
> of the
> notion of filesets, but as I argue in another posting, I think the  
> right
> place is in the header of the file itself.)
> Clearly, you can easily construct a situation where the mechanism will
> fail, the easiest example being if someone deleted the log file!   
> This is
> an inherent weakness of external metadata.  In any case, you only  
> use this
> feature if you think it is useful for you, and in that case you are  
> likely
> willing to collaborate with the mechanism instead of trying to fool  
> it.
> tetexComm is part of the latest beta release of AlphaX (b16), but the
> latest version is not in that release, since it has not yet been  
> widely
> tested.  You can take the latest version at
> http://www.cirget.uqam.ca/~kock/alpha-tcl/tetexComm.tar.gz
> Cheers,
> Joachim.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> 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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