Other things I don't get (WAS: Re: A Joeish Erlang distributi on (long))

Matthias Lang <>
Thu Jan 30 13:20:39 CET 2003

Vlad Dumitrescu writes:

 klacke> Ho ho ho, When writing the Yaws documentation I thought --
 klacke> I'll have a crack at writing all the docs in XML and use the XML
 klacke> toolchain to transform that documentation to man pages and pdf docs.

 vlad> Ah well, I suppose you mean you tried to write it by hand? Then I fully 
 vlad> agree it's tedious. But really heavy users have tools like 
 vlad> "PageMaker+SGML" where you don't even see the SGML or XML. 

For what it's worth: I wrote the Erlang FAQ in SGML by hand, hoping to
escape the fiddly problems that LaTex tends to create as soon as you
want to do something a little out of the ordinary. The experience
was so incredibly frustrating that I went back to the relaxing, sane
world of LaTex and stayed there.

The main problem was that I had to hack some pseudo-lisp programs
devoid of useful comments to get basic things done, e.g. changing page
layout. Problem #2 was that everything was awfully verbose. The straw
that broke the camel's back was trying to get images and maths to

Consider the latex inline math expression

    $ [a + b]^{260} + \{a + b\}_i $

and write the same thing in MathML
     <math xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1998/Math/MathML">
           <mfenced open="[" close="]"><mrow><mi>a</mi><mo>+</mo><mi>b</mi>
           <mfenced open="{" close="}"><mrow><mi>a</mi><mo>+</mo><mi>b</mi>

Doesn't seem fit for human consumption. Maybe better with good tools.



Much better docbook manual than was available in 2000:


Erlang FAQ SGML source (for curiosity)


The source for the above maths example:


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