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Re: behavior of @math with HTML output

From: Jacob Bachmeyer
Subject: Re: behavior of @math with HTML output
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2022 21:27:22 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20090807 SeaMonkey/1.1.17 Mnenhy/

Vincent Lefevre wrote:
On 2022-10-14 11:30:33 +0200, Patrice Dumas wrote:
On Fri, Oct 14, 2022 at 12:40:08AM +0200, Vincent Lefevre wrote:
On 2022-10-13 21:15:57 +0200, Patrice Dumas wrote:
All of them are buggy:
  * Concerning t4h,
      @math{@var{base} \le 16},
    yields "@varbase ≤ 16 ,", so @var doesn't work (while it is needed
    to ensure exactly the same typography/code as outside @math, e.g.
    <var>base</var>) and there is a spurious space before the comma.
In my experience, t4h is the one that tries harder to use characters
for simple math and often succeeds.  Images are still used when it
becomes too complex.  It is probably the best for your use.  As you have
noticed, however, t4h only knows about TeX, not Texinfo.  It is actually
said in the manual that @math should not contain Texinfo commands, in
line with the 'recent' better handling of TeX/LaTeX:
"In general, the contents of @math or @displaymath should be plain TeX only, with no 
interspersed Texinfo commands."

I assumed that this was for commands that exist in plain TeX, which
is not the case of @var.

Since "var" actually is a TeX macro (Texinfo works by adjusting TeX's configuration to make @ introduce commands, like backslash does in plain TeX), would the correct syntax be "@math{\var{base} \le 16}" for the example above?

In the upcoming version, there is a converter to LaTeX, which allowed to
add the customization variable CONVERT_TO_LATEX_IN_MATH.  You could use
that in conjunction with HTML_MATH t4h to have Texinfo @-commands
produce TeX/LaTeX math in @math.  However, it won't do what you want in
term of formatting, as, if I recall well, @var is a no-op in conversion
to LaTeX in math mode, as math mode is already slanted.

Well, math mode normally uses italics, not slanted, but perhaps this
is changed by t4h (or Texinfo). There is another issue: math mode
disables kerning (because a sequence of letters typically means that
this is a product), unless some command is used to specify that this
is actually text. Not a major issue, but incorrect typography can be

TeX has an \ifmmode conditional that is true in math mode; @var/\var and other marking macros could be adjusted to mark their arguments appropriately when invoked in math mode. Are there other macros that would be appropriate in @math? At first glance, @var seems unique here.

-- Jacob

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