[Doc-SIG] Monty: A structured text syntax idea

François Pinard pinard at iro.umontreal.ca
Mon Feb 7 23:03:14 CET 2000

sharris at nospam.primus.com (Steven E. Harris) writes:

> I have a similar translator (Emacs Outline to and XML vocabulary)
> written in Perl.  I can share it if you're interested.

Strange coincidence...  I did a small overhaul in `recode' internals,
yesterday, to make room for "structural surfaces", besides "data surfaces".
Here is a related fragment from the documentation.

@cindex structural surfaces
@cindex surfaces, structural
@cindex surfaces, trees
The @code{recode} library distinguishes between mere data surfaces, and
structural surfaces, also called tree surfaces for short.  Structural
surfaces might allow, in the long run, transformations between a few
specialised representations of structural information like MIME parts,
Perl or Python initialisers, LISP S-expressions, XML, Emacs outlines, etc.

We are still experimenting with surfaces in @code{recode}.  The concept opens
the doors to many avenues; it is not clear yet which ones are worth pursuing,
and which should be abandoned.  In particular, implementation of structural
surfaces is barely starting, there is not even a commitment that tree
surfaces will stay in @code{recode}, if they do prove to be more cumbersome
than useful.  This chapter presents all surfaces currently available.

So, yes.  I'm interested!  Not necessarily in the code, but at least in the
ideas conveyed in that code.  If easy for you, please send me directly at
`pinard at iro.umontreal.ca'.

I quite like `allout' mode in Emacs (which gives cleaner outlines), and
once wrote `allout' to Texinfo converters, and vice-versa.  I also have
written converters for SGML to Scheme internal, SGML to Perl internal,
as well as SGML to Python internal, and vice-versa for specialised cases.

The idea behind structural surfaces is to use a common holder (`recode')
in which I could pour and mold such tools.  One might consider it adds
too much of magic to `recode' as a text recoder, but why not!  I much like
the magic which sometimes pops out of ImageMagick, when I handle images :-).

François Pinard   http://www.iro.umontreal.ca/~pinard

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