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Latte plans

Here's what's planned for Latte beyond the current release.

  • Other translators and tools. Translators to languages other than HTML would increase the usefulness of Latte. One vision is for marked-up text to always be writable in Latte format, then translatable to whatever language is required for its final processing step (HTML or XML for documents destined for the web, TeX for documents destined for the printer, ASCII for documents destined for plain-text displays, etc.). Whether that's actually a desirable goal is an open question, but it's certainly an interesting idea. At any rate, additional translators can only be a good thing.

    There is a niche for tools that process Latte files without necessarily translating them. For instance, a Latte dependency-tracker can determine what files a particular one depends on via calls to \file-contents, \include, and so on. This would aid in writing accurate dependencies in Makefiles.

  • Higher-level libraries. The functions now available in latte-html provide a bare minimum of basic functionality plus HTML equivalence. They don't include any useful higher-level functions to assist with such things as page layout---you still have to write HTML-analogous code. Of course, Latte allows you to encapsulate that code as reusable functions, and indeed many such functions have been written by Latte users for specific purposes. Some of those functions should be cleaned up, documented, made more general, and assembled into a useful library.

    Another set of high-level functions could abstract away the details of the target language. It should be possible to write a single Latte document that can produce both HTML and TeX, for example. But a Latte file containing calls to \img and \h3 clearly has an HTML bias, whereas a Latte file containing calls to (hypothetical functions) \setlength and \verbatim clearly has a TeX bias. A set of common markup functions that translates well into all target languages could be just what the doctor ordered.

  • Richer string handling. Latte needs some Perl-like facilities for pattern matching, composition, and decomposition of strings.
  • Improved system interface. Latte should be able to perform file operations such as linking and unlinking files, testing access permissions, reading directories, and so on, as well as other system operations such as querying the current time, getting and setting environment variables, and so on.
  • Mod_latte. An Apache module that can serve Latte documents, translating them to HTML on the fly.
  • Character set awareness. Presently, latte-html presumes the character set of the text in its input is ASCII or a superset thereof (such as ISO Latin-1). It should become possible to advise latte-html that the text is in some other character set. This would produce character set information in the generated HTML file, and would also affect which characters undergo automatic character-entity translation and what entities they're translated to.
  • Better debugging. The debugging output produced by latte-html -d eval is voluminous and useful only to the very dauntless. It should be possible to usefully restrict what output is seen, and that output should become more representative of the actions of the Latte engine.
  • Visual Studio and CodeWarrior plug-ins. latte-html is basically a compiler, and as such would work very nicely in IDE (integrated development environment) systems, such as Visual Studio and CodeWarrior. Coupling Latte with an integrated source code control system and FTP upload tool in an IDE would create a powerful and complete website publishing solution that would compete effectively with existing (and unreasonably expensive) commercial systems.

Do you have other suggestions? Please let us know!

This document was produced by Latte from the file plans.latte (with extra definitions from style.latte).

Copyright © 1998,1999 Zanshin, Inc.