Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at wanadoo.fr
Sat Oct 1 09:24:10 CDT 2016

2016-10-01 15:48 GMT+02:00 lorieul <glorieul at coanda-deviation.info>:

> The drawback of that solution is lack of readability in the sources. I
> would like to have a formatting in the spirit of markdown i.e. a
> formating that is easy to read both in the sources and after html- or
> pdf- or whatever-generation. Indeed Latex formulas are often not easy to
> decypher… Since one spends more time reading source code than
> documentation it is important that the comments within the source files
> are also easily readable. This way, there is no need to constantly
> switch back-and-forth between text editor and documentation : the source
> code suffices to itself.

The LaTex markup for superscripts/subscript is very simple("^" and "_") ,
even if you need extra parenthesese to surround subformulas.

But in this context of maths formulas, the coder should understand those
math formulas in order to implement or use them correctly. But a mere
comment block in a source is the the best place to explain everything. In
msot cases you'll use references to other documents and will use a precise
terminology that is even easier to read than formulas. project managermnt
tools help collecting all the needed pieces needed for communication
between programmers and users of modules, but a source code does not
replace a more formal documentation.

Note also that Maths superscripts/subscripts need to support multiple
levels of superscripts/subscripts with variable sizes. This is not possible
with the Unicode-encoded characters designed only for a single level, but
not a problem for TeX, MathML or HTML.

The apparent simplicity using preencodec character "variants" becomes a
nightmare later for parsing formulas (what does "x²²" means: is it
"(x^2)^2", i.e. "x^4", or "x^(22)" ?) or generated derived formulas Such
problem however does not exist for their use only in linear plaint-text
(for example as IPA symbols).
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