Category: architecture

  • A current status on finl

    This site got submitted to Hacker News (a lot sooner than I would have chosen), so a few notes on where things are and where they’re going. I’m definitely writing in Rust. Much like I expect finl to remove pain points around LaTeX, Rust removes a lot of pain points around code that I would […]

  • Looking at rust is already beneficial

    In addition to programming, I’m also a minor writer of fiction. One thing that I often do while working on a novel is write a short story to develop some aspect of craft. For example, part of the motivation for writing my story, Saint Jude’s Medallion was to work out how to tell a story through […]

  • Choosing a programming language revisited

    A comment from someone on Hacker News who happened to stumble across this site, inspired me to give another look at rust as a programming language. Having spent a few months digging into C++, my initial thoughts are that as pros: ICU for Unicode support harfbuzz for text rendering within the limits of compiler support […]

  • Character substitutions in text

    TeX handles some character sequence substitutions by (ab)using the ligature mechanism, e.g., “→“. This works reasonably well for Computer Modern which defines these in its ligature table, but falls apart once we start trying to use non-TeX fonts. Furthermore, there’s the added complication that most fonts put the characters ‘ and ` in character positions […]

  • Mistakes of LaTeX: the tabular environment

    One constant annoyance that I’ve encountered when people learn LaTeX is the default behavior of the tabular environment. Rather than presenting itself as a separate paragraph block, it is instead automatically in TeX’s horizontal mode. This means that if, for example, a user writes: some text\begin{tabular}{…}…\end{tabular}more text the tabular will be presented left-ish aligned (actually, […]

  • Defining a document markup language for finl

    The markup language for finl will be based on LaTeX, but many of the pain points of LaTeX come from the macro-expansion approach that Knuth’s TeX takes towards parsing the document. I can remember being a teenager reading The TeXbook and puzzling over the whole mouth-gullet-stomach description and finding that challenging to follow.  LaTeX attempts to […]

  • Choosing a programming language

    There are five platforms in common usage in 2020. On traditional computing platforms, we see Windows, Linux and MacOS. For mobile we have Android and iOS. Other platforms exist, but they have negligible usage (e.g., various BSD variants and quixotic efforts at creating a third OS for mobile). Of these, iOS is the most restricted […]

  • Why finl? A manifesto

    In 1994, LaTeX2e was released as a transitional step towards LaTeX 3. 26 years later, there still isn’t a 1.0 release of LaTeX 3. In the interim, we’ve seen the rise of HTML and the web, the dominance of PDF as a format for representation of printed material (and now there is a plan to have […]