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Extracting footnote text

I have an XPL program in version III that I use very frequently
that, among other things, translates every ≪FN1Footnote text.≫
\footnote{Footnote text.}. The technique the program uses is to
search for ≪FN1 in expanded mode, locating the start of the
footnote, then to go to draft mode and move the cursor right, and
then to go back to expanded mode, where there cursor is now at
the end of the footnote. A } can now be inserted, and one can
search back for ≪FN1 and insert the \footnote{.

Unfortunately a bug in version 4 causes the position of the
cursor to be incorrect under some circumstances. (I reported
the bug to TTG a few months ago, and they promised to look at
it, but subsequent written enquiries about its status have
failed to elicit any response---K. Frank, are you listening?)

As an alternative, one could search for ≪FN1 and write a program
to find the matching ≫ (in fact, I have such a program), but
this approach is unacceptably slow if the footnote is long and
contains lots of embedded commands (even if one switches the
display off, as my program does while doing the translations).

So I'm sticking with version III at the moment. Does anyone have
any suggestions as to a workable workaround?

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Martin J. Osborne           voice: (905) 525-9140 ext.
Department of Economics               fax: (905)
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario
L8S 4M4