Re: lexical question - recursion, capitalizing names

Subject: Re: lexical question - recursion, capitalizing names
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1993 09:25:53 -0500

From Fred Jacobson, responding to my answer on the differences between
functions, routines and subroutines, with liberal deletions througout:

> Len-

> It is not recursion when the value of a function invocation is the argument
> (or parameter) of another invocation of the same function.


Fred, you're absolutely right. How embarassing!

It's been a long time since I had to deal with recursion, which, of
course, is an excuse rather than a legitimate reason. Happily, the other
definitions I cited, with my chattering commentary extracted, are still


> Regarding "capitalizing language elements," at least one popular language
> (the C programming language) is case-sensitive, so this is not generally
> possible. (I prefer using boldface to distinguish keywords, names of
> functions, and the like, but some writers I have worked with think this
> puts too much bold on a typical page and makes it harder to read. I
> disagree.)

The language I write about is not case sensitive, so the written style
we use makes some sense. Naturally, case sensitivity would make this a
somewhat less useful convention. Mileages vary, as always.

Regarding using different fonts to distinguish keywords, use of fonts in
technical documents in general is a style decision you make before
beginning to write. I've heard the arguments about the distractive
quality of having too much boldface on a page, and it depends upon the
number of things in a book you emphasize or distinguish by using a
special font. We've had some luck with using a modified serif monospace
to distinguish elements we do not emphasize with case, but we only use
that one special font. It helps that we can use case to differentiate
keywords, and the monospace seems less disruptive than repeated bold.
Again, this is in the FWIW department, to use or discard as you see fit.

We *do* use italics for user-supplied elements in syntax discussions,
but we don't enjoy it, so it's all right 8-).

We've discovered that using too many *different* fonts on a single page,
or a single special font for *too many things*, can foul up the
"scanability" of a page. How much of a font on a page is too much? Hey,
you tell *me*.

We've also found out that, *usually*, users tend to not notice how you
use fonts in a document. I like to think that they do notice, but that
we use them so skillfully, the effect is subliminal, almost osmotic (is
that a word? ;^).

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"That's a, I say, that's a JOKE, |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| son." - Foghorn Leghorn |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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