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st: RE: TeX template for PDF help files

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: TeX template for PDF help files
Date   Sun, 22 Nov 2009 16:42:08 -0000

.pdf is an attractive file format, but -- in addition to other comments
made in the thread -- I see no point in users moving unilaterally on
this until StataCorp provides the support within Stata to make this
seamless and painless. However, it is an idea that StataCorp might have
a view on, either way. 

On SMCL being "a major barrier to release user-written ados to the
I really see no evidence for this. Is this another example on this list
of a strong personal attitude being extrapolated without foundation to a
supposed public crisis? It might explain why Sergiy is sitting on
several interesting ado files that many want to use that have not yet
been released!


Sergiy Radyakin

I wonder what does the community think about having help files for
custom ados being in PDF format (in light of the recent availability
of the Stata manuals in the said format)? Has anyone prepared a
template for this already? What are the pros and cons of the PDF
documentation (which is a de-facto standard for the rest of the
software) versus SMCL documentation?

In my opinion, the unpleasant task of preparing documentation in SMCL
is a major barrier to release user-written ados to the public (and
there was a complaint recently regarding "no fresh original
programs"). In my vision, the simplier this template is, the more
likely the next generation of ado files will be more completely
described. Perhaps the Stata gurus could take the initiative and
collectively make this template for the rest of us? Now could be the
right moment to standardize this (similar to the SJ template), before
custom versions start to appear.

2Kit: since PDF files are not installed with the package by default,
what are the recommendations if I want to deploy my package with a PDF
documentation only?
2Stata developers: Would it be possible to make -help mycommand- also
check for the presense of mycommand.pdf in case mycommand.sthlp and
mycommand.hlp are not found?

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