[svlug] I've finished the first draft of the Stylz specifications

Steve Litt slitt at troubleshooters.com
Sat Jan 31 21:42:41 PST 2015

On Sat, 31 Jan 2015 20:05:40 -0700
Akkana Peck <akkana at shallowsky.com> wrote:

> Steve Litt writes:
> > Hi all,
> > 
> > I just finished and uploaded the first draft of the Stylz
> > book-writing specifications:
> > 
> > http://www.troubleshooters.com/projects/stylz/
> Sounds like a nice tool! Though you don't write much about what the
> actual format will look like.
> Since it sounds like you haven't started writing code yet, or a
> formal syntax document, one thought:
> Your document mentions a syntax like ::thetruth( ... )
> I wonder if you'd considered using TeX/LaTeX syntax for markup,
> especially since TeX will be one of your output formats. 

Yes, I considered it a lot. First, consider the difference between TeX
and LaTeX. TeX is something like Stylz. LaTeX is nothing like Stylz,
and would be insane to convert to HTML in any kind of semantically
meaningful way. Everyone's tried, and everyone's failed.

I actually tried to model Stylz after TeX, but make it easier for the
touch typist author.

> I don't
> think it's really any more complicated than ::() (I say this as
> a non TeX user -- always wanted to learn it but never had a good
> excuse for it).  And that would make it easy to make your language
> extensible in case someone needed to include, say, an equation.

True. TeX was *made* to do equations and math.

> And it would greatly simplify the Stylz->TeX->PDF exporter, and you
> might be able to use ready-built TeX parsing libraries, and adapt
> TeX-PDF and TeX-HTML libraries; 

Those tend to fall down on the job, from what I've seen.

> and people editing Stylz documents
> might be able to use existing TeX modes for emacs or vim.
> In fact, could you get by implementing the whole thing as some
> simple subset of TeX/LaTeX plus a preprocessor that handles the
> "empty line means add a paragraph break"? 

:-) That's true in TeX and LaTeX. That's where I got the idea.

> That would make it super
> easy to implement, while still making the learning curve easy for
> people who aren't comfortable with markup languages.

Let me think about this. I have a strong suspicion TeX wouldn't be
optimal, I *know* LaTeX wouldn't be optimal (too many tags to type).
Let me think about it.



Steve Litt                *  http://www.troubleshooters.com/
Troubleshooting Training  *  Human Performance

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