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ANNOUNCE: OCamlTeX 0.5 available for beta-testing
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Date: 2006-05-09 (15:39)
From: Geoffrey Alan Washburn <geoffw@c...>
Subject: ANNOUNCE: OCamlTeX 0.5 available for beta-testing
OCamlTeX is a wrapper for LaTeX and its variants (pdfLaTeX, XeTeX, etc.) 
that provides the ability to define macros in terms of OCaml code. 
OCamlTeX is derived from Scott Pakin's PerlTeX, but with some 
enhancements that are useful for OCaml.

   Using OCamlTeX is straightfoward.  Just add


to your document's preamble and you can then start writing OCaml macros like

     \ocamlnewcommand{\mymacro}[x,y]{ "\\textbf{" ^ y ^ x ^ "}" }

where unlike LaTeX and PerlTeX instead of writing the number of 
arguments the function takes within the square brackets, you can 
explicitly name them.  What is actually going on is that OCamlTeX and 
TeX/LaTeX are communicating via temporary files, and the above bit of 
LaTeX corresponds to defining the OCaml function

     let rec latex_mymacro (x : string) (y : string) : string =
         "\\textbf{" ^ y ^ x ^ "}";;

It is then possible to use your macro just like you would any other
LaTeX macro.  The macro invocation


expands to


and is then expanded further.  Consequently, macros defined using
\ocamlnewcommand can either call themselves recursively by using 
"latex_mymacro" or outputing a call to "\mymacro" in their output.

   OCamlTeX differs from PerlTeX in two notable ways (other being 
written in OCaml and providing OCaml macros):

	* First, OCamlTeX currently doesn't support LaTeX style optional 
arguments. I can imagine in the putting this back in by
	making use of OCaml's optional argument functionality.

	* Second, OCamlTeX provides an additional macro \ocamlexec, that
	allows for executing arbitrary top-level code.  For example,
	this is useful if you want to open a module, or import OCaml
	code in bulk.

   I expect this will be especially useful for those of you that write 
papers about software/languages you've written in OCaml because it makes 
it easy to actually call your code from within your document and 
maintain consistency.  So, for example you can always be sure your code 
examples type-check.  I think it would be interesting to consider a 
Haskell port, because monads would be very helpful for structuring a 
more extensive TeX API, rather than always just manipulating strings. 
However, I am not as familiar with how to implement this sort of 
software in Haskell.

   The current version of OCamlTeX is available from the world readable 
Subversion repository: https://svn.cis.upenn.edu/svnroot/ocamltex/.  If 
you're interested in hacking on it, I can give you commit access. You 
will need the OCaml library/package "cash" to use it.  Bug reports and 
feature suggestions welcome.