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RE: st: re: TeX template for PDF help files

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: re: TeX template for PDF help files
Date   Sun, 22 Nov 2009 17:59:17 -0000

I agree with Phil, but want to stress too that those who know little or
no SMCL should not be excessively put off by any implication that you
need to "learn" SMCL. 

1. The help for -examplehelpfile-, which is necessarily available as an
.sthlp file, is available as a template. It is also written up in [U]. 

2. Once you start writing ados, you learn to copy your own help files. 

3. The not very long help for SMCL is the complete documentation. 

4. I doubt that more than a few people have ever learned all SMCL. 

Anyone capable of writing a program worth documenting is easily capable
of writing a help file to match. To be sure, the details are a little
tedious and a little SMCL skill has no benefit beyond Stata, but getting
help files that look like official Stata's is the incentive. 

And, although I don't recommend it, you can write help files without
using any SMCL, as older help files bear witness!


Phil Schumm

On Nov 22, 2009, at 11:29 AM, Airey, David C wrote:
> One possibility for those hating the SMCL format (isn't it just like  
> writing manually in any other markup?)

We could probably have a healthy debate on whether SMCL is more or  
less difficult to learn (and to use) than other markup languages.   
Personally, I do think some markup languages are easier than others,  
but I'll admit that such preferences have a lot of subjectivity to  
them.  Regardless, however, it's probably the case that few people use  
SMCL to do things other than writing Stata help files.  Thus, there  
would be an obvious advantage to being able to use a markup language  
that one already uses for other purposes.

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