On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 21:10, Alan BRASLAU wrote:
> I think that the easiest would be for everyone to use English :)
> That's my bit for Imperialism!

But then there would be plenty of historians trying to reproduce the
"old languages", just as Idris does. So nothing would be gained :) :)

> As I write in a mixture of languages, I like to use \quotation{}.
> But long-time TeX users have habits that die hard,

(Let them continue use TeX then :) :) :)

But seriously - there are lots of other incompatibilities.

> and just as we expect fl to yield fl, we also learn many "bad" tricks
> such as ``'' and ...

No, you won't get that ligature if your font doesn't support it and
most people do not notice that ligatures exist at all (including me,
even after using LaTeX for several years).

Yes - it is a trick on the same level, but that trick needs to be
implemented in font. ConTeXt will never try to replace that with a
ligature if your font won't ask for that (and there's a way to turn
ligatures off completely in mkiv/xetex).

You can also "easily" create a font that will do the replacement of
backtick with single quotation mark for you. The main difference is
that 99.9% fonts in the wild don't have that replacement built in,
while most high-quality fonts do have some ligatures. The replacement
of ` or ' would usually be done by editors (Word), but there is no
standard editor for TeX to do that.

>> - The deciding moment when some of these ugly tricks have been thrown
>> away was when we realized that if you do add those tricks, there is no
>> way to print the grave accent.
> How about {\`} (untested)

Apart from the fact that this is a command used for a completely
different purpose, it wouldn't help. The problem is that
transformation is being done on glyph at position 0x60 in font itself.
The only option would be to copy the glyph 0x60 to Private Unicode
Area and then assign \textgrave to point to that obscure slot. But
that's more than ugly.

(See also Aditya's answer about apostrophe.)

> You probably are right to favor \quotation{}, \dots, etc.
> and to go unicode. But is it really necessary and a good idea
> to break with TeX culture? I guess so. What about $ $ (and $$ $$)?
> How about % (\%)? Not to mention &

This is a completely different question. (I do miss $$...$$ to be honest.)
These are active characters. You may do
    \catcode\`&=\letter (untested syntax)
or maybe some \nonknuthmode command and you'll get the characted &.
Same is true for % (but yes - you need to forget about comments then).
The meaning of those characters is changed on "the editor level", so
it's extremely easy to change the behaviour.

The hack with `` is on font level. And that's when it's gets really
ugly. There is *no* way to get the original character back without
changing the font itself.

Two exceptions have been left on font level. That is two (harmless)
ligatures: "--" (endash), "---" (emdash) and replacement with
apostrophe as in "I'm". The last one is still very very ugly, but I
think it's mission impossible to convince anyone to "change the habit"
of using the proper apostrophe instead of '.

>> I have no idea which keyboard you use, but US International is pretty
>> rich (the problem is lack of some legend on keyboard itself), on the
>> other hand it's easy enough to make your own layout.
> My own computers are US International. However, I often use other
> computers having different layouts, many of which I cannot change.
> The worst I find are the Macs with French keyboards,

Let's be honest ... any French keyboard ... :)

> as when I use them,
> I always have to remember how to find \ and {}

I admit that I neither remember where to find the letter A on French
keyboard nor the same characters on Slovenian keyboard ... But wait!
So you are complaining that you don't find quotation marks when
already \ and {} cause you problems?

> The bottom line is that we need to document these differences
> towards the very beginning of the manual, where ConTeXt is
> identified as a form of TeX.

I agree with that ... but there's a general "problem" with
(unmaintaned) documentation in ConTeXt.

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