the “tabbing” environment in LaTeX is considered harmful

Some time ago I got a complaint on TeXML: Bug in TeXML. Unfortunately, it’s not a bug in TeXML, but it’s a big bug in the LaTeX design.

Problem is that the “tabbing” environment redefines the commands “\`“, “\'“, “\"” and some others. From the TeX FAQ on tabbing:

This is really a rather ghastly feature of the tabbing environment; in order to type accented characters you need to use the \a kludge: so \a'{e} inside tabbing for \'{e} outside, and similarly \a' for \' and \a= for \=. This whole procedure is of course hideous and error-prone.

The best solutions I see are as follows.
* Don’t use the “tabbing” environment.
* Use the environment “Tabbing” (note the capital “T”).

Obviously, I can’t force users to follow these advices. Instead, I should change TeXML somehow. Probably I’ll add mode “tabbing”. I don’t know when.

Leave a Reply