[Doc-SIG] Formalizing StructuredText (yeh!)

Tony J Ibbs (Tibs) tony@lsl.co.uk
Thu, 8 Mar 2001 10:37:16 -0000

Edward D. Loper wrote:
> I've started working on a project to formalize StructuredText (in
> particular, STNG and STpy).  I am using a slightly extended
> version of EBNF to write the formal descriptions.  See the project
> proposal for more information:
>     http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~edloper/pydoc/stminus.html
> A preliminary formalization is available at:
>     http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~edloper/pydoc/stminus-001.html
> I would appreciate any feedback. :)

Well, first off, I'm mega-impressed - I hadn't dreamed that someone
would actually get round to doing something like this. This is truly

Secondly, I'll add a link from the next "status" document for docutils -
do you prefer to be "Edward Loper" or "Edward D. Loper"?

Thirdly, could I ask you to look at:


- I've added a reference to STminus at the end of the page. It might be
an idea to get a Zope Wiki account (if you don't already have one) and
add a reference somewhere further up the hierarchy as well - I don't
know if Jim Fulton and co. have the time or inclination to watch the

Fourthly, I haven't had time to read the whole STminus document (heh, I
only just saw your email!), but I did note the large red box halfway
down the actual STminus definition page. Just above it you say::

	Note that the empty literal ('') is a valid literal.

I have a sneaky feeling that this is not so in the current version of
STpy (it *may* have been earlier - it's something I'm ambivalent about,
since I can't see much *use* for an empty literal string). I'll have a
look at what the current REs do (although I broke them yesterday whilst
"tidying up", so that's not terribly reliable). Of course, if STNG
allows an empty literal, that would be a case for STpy doing so as well
(but what about an empty ##? Hmm. I'll think about this whole thing in
more detail.)

Oh - one last point - please, please, please put <p> at the start of
paragraphs - HTML really does mandate it, despite the fact that IE seems
not to care (I've come across browsers in the past that *did* treat the
absence of <p> as meaning pure whitespace, causing all "paragraphs" to
run together...). Personally, I recommend HTML Tidy as a tool for
checking/reformatting HTML - not that I always do what it *says*, but at
least I then know when I'm being naughty...

Damn, now I'm going to have to learn EBNF. Hard when I've got my
stupid-hat on - it took me quite a while to realise why "'" was called

I do like the assumption of a dialogue between STNG and STpy - although
at the moment you're it! (mind you, that's a damn good start, so far as
I'm concerned).

I'll try to go through the text and look for "intentional differences"
that I know about.

(oh - the link [5] at the bottom of the intro page, to
gives a Not Found error)

All the best, Tibs

Tony J Ibbs (Tibs)      http://www.tibsnjoan.co.uk/
"How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive
continuity of ducks." - Dorothy L. Sayers, "Gaudy Night"
My views! Mine! Mine! (Unless Laser-Scan ask nicely to borrow them.)