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st: re: TeX template for PDF help files

From   Kit Baum <>
Subject   st: re: TeX template for PDF help files
Date   Sun, 22 Nov 2009 11:03:47 -0500

Roy said

The Word document would be converted to pdf file before being upload
to ssc. I should
have clarified that point.

That still sidesteps the issue of where the help file is coming from. In the prior discussion of this topic, the notion was to produce a SMCL file by translation from, e.g., a LaTeX template or a set of dialogs that constructed a SMCL file using a programming language (which could be Mata). That SMCL file can then be automatically translated into PDF by Stata. But producing only a PDF version doesn't really help.  You don't need anything beyond existing technology to do that--just write a document that says "The foobar command, by John Doe, randomly disassociates your data. It was based on earlier ado-files by U.R. Stuck." and save it as PDF. But that avoids the whole standards issue: that to be a useful Stata component, the command must be documented (at least minimally) in a standard format. That is much harder to enforce with free-format PDF files than it is with existing .sthlp files.

Re the notion that HTML could be mechanically translated to SMCL, as Mark S. suggests -- fine idea, as long as you don't use MS Word to generate the HTML, as it produces the most verbose and unnecessarily tagged HTML code of any HTML editor. I agree that clean, simple HTML can be trivially translated to SMCL.

Kit Baum   |   Boston College Economics & DIW Berlin   |
                              An Introduction to Stata Programming  |
   An Introduction to Modern Econometrics Using Stata  |

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