[texhax] help with programming LaTeX

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Tue Nov 28 00:25:24 CET 2006

At 00:56 24.11.06, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:

>There is one file in the LaTeX sources which I consult quite often
>when I need loops: latex/base/ltcntrl.dtx.

I like to use and consult ltcntrl as well -- yet not the .dtx,
just as it appears in latex.ltx. Some macro names help to guess
their outcome their names; other things indicate whether a macro
applies to comma-separated-lists or (to the opposite) token lists.
Additionally, of course, some lists have \@elt or \do as separators;
so it's your job to redefine them appropriately.

>The ifthen package also provides a loop (\whiledo).  Maybe it's best
>to look into its documentation first.

I agree; personally I prefer to make my own macros before I load
some other package (I love my Atari installation so much) ...

This reminds me of another issue I often think about:
The LaTeX3 project team likes to urge package writers to use
the LaTeX user/package-writer interface only -- not internal
commands or TeX primitives. Some other people object ...
cf., e.g., Claudio Beccari in TUGboat 24 (2), p. 277
(and at least one similar discussion has been in the present
mailing list).

I share the conviction that that interface is too poor.
To get a powerful and, additionally, stable (standard for
"decades" or so) interface, perhaps something like eplain
should be established as "Standard" for package writers
... !??



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