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Tail recursion of macros takes no memory, and if-then-else constructs are available.
This makes Te X a Turing-complete language even at the expansion level.
The system can be divided into four levels: in the first, characters are read from the input file and assigned a category code (sometimes called "catcode", for short).
Combinations of a backslash (actually, any character of category zero) followed by letters (characters of category 11) or a single other character are replaced by a control-sequence token.
In this sense, this stage is like lexical analysis, although it does not form numbers from digits.
In the next stage, expandable control sequences (such as conditionals or defined macros) are replaced by their replacement text.
Almost all of Te X's syntactic properties can be changed on the fly, which makes Te X input hard to parse by anything but Te X itself. it UNITECUNITECUNITECUNITEC----D ID ID ID ITALYTALYTALYTALY Via Carlo Alberto, 17 I-04016 – Sabaudia (LT) Italy Tel: 39 0773 512022 Fax: 39 0773 512737 e-mail: [email protected] Together with the Metafont language for font description and the Computer Modern family of typefaces, Te X was designed with two main goals in mind: to allow anybody to produce high-quality books using minimal effort, and to provide a system that would give exactly the same results on all computers, at any point in time.For this reason, he has stated that the "absolutely final change (to be made after my death)" will be to change the version number to , and a similar change will be applied after Knuth's death.Since the source code of Te X is essentially in the public domain (see below), other programmers are allowed (and explicitly encouraged) to improve the system, but are required to use another name to distribute the modified Te X, meaning that the source code can still evolve.