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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Open XML formats for Word Processor Documents and Literate Programming

ODF - the future of literate programming?.

I think the possibilities here are very interesting. By and large, we write programs in text editors. That immediately creates problems in creating good documentation. Not easy to throw in the odd diagram. Not easy to segment the contents hierarchically and stick a TOC at the top. Not easy to footnote the code. Not easy to cross-ref one part of the code to another. Not easy to include the spreadsheet that holds the master decision tree etc. etc. etc.

So why not knock out your code in say, OpenOffice, use paragraph styles to indicate what parts of the text are really code. Then feed just the code bits through to your compiler or interpreter?

Why stop there? Why not make import statements in programming languages smart enough to recognise zipped XML Office notations when they see them?

Just a thought.