[Haskell-cafe] [ANNOUNCE] Fmark markup language

Mario Blažević mblazevic at stilo.com
Wed Sep 19 23:46:18 CEST 2012

On 12-09-18 07:37 PM, Richard O'Keefe wrote:
> On 19/09/2012, at 1:43 AM, Stefan Monnier wrote:
>>> The problem with that is that some people DO end some headings with
>>> a full stop; for them your special syntax is not natural.
>> Markdown/ReST is already using the "no syntax" idea (e.g. compared to
>> pre-wiki markup such a LaTeX or Texinfo), so he's simply trying to push
>> this idea further.
> Markdown is very heavy on syntax,
> what it is *light* on is specification of what the
> syntax actually is.  As a result,
> I'm aware of three different dialects,
> and someone told me about having to reverse
> engineer the syntax from a Perl implementation.
> As a further result, I cannot write a program to
> reliably *generate* Markdown.

	Very true. Sadly, this is the case with almost all other Wiki-like 
markup schemes out there. They are all implementation-specified. The 
only exception I'm aware of is Creole, for which an EBNF grammar exists, 
even if it's pretty nasty-looking. A look at that specification makes 
one appreciate how badly specified "natural" syntax is.

	In my opinion, there is no single natural syntax that can be imposed on 
ASCII strings and serve majority of uses. There are many different 
syntaxes that feel  natural for different uses and different users, and 
the best we can hope to achieve would be a way to provide a formal and 
readable specification for each of those syntaxes. I've been playing 
with one approach in this direction with the concrete-relaxng-parser 
package, but it's still early days.

>> I suspect it'll be difficult.
> Oh, more power to him for trying.
> I just don't think it can be pushed very far.
> Oh, there is a really *filthy* hack that could be pulled
> for italics, bold face, and so on.  Contrary to its original
> principles, Unicode includes several copies of ASCII
> (see http://unicode.org/charts/PDF/U1D400.pdf):
> Mathematical bold,
> Mathematical italic,
> Mathematical bold italic,
> Mathematical script,
> Mathematical bold script,
> Mathematical fraktur,
> Mathematical double struck (blackboard-bold),
> Mathematical bold fraktur,
> Mathematical sans-serif,
> Mathematical sans-serif bold,
> Mathematical sans-serif italic,
> Mathematical sans-serif bold italic,
> Mathematical monospace,
> and some similar sets of Greek.

Thank you for sharing this hack. It's very amusing.

Mario Blazevic
mblazevic at stilo.com
Stilo International

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