[TUHS] TeX/troff/typesetting markups - Re: SunOS 4 documentation

Steffen Nurpmeso steffen at sdaoden.eu
Sat Apr 15 02:55:12 AEST 2017


Michael Kerpan <madcrow.maxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
 |Of course, these days, there's a version of troff that borrows TeX's \
 |layout rules, while also adding vastly improved font handling, support \
 |for the most 
 |useful/widely used groff extensions, and more. Why Heirloom troff isn't \
 |more widely used is a puzzle for the ages.

For myself i can answer this, it is not compatible with my own
macro set, the headers and footers are completely messed up, so
i would need to rewrite all this.  The capabilities you mention
are great, sometimes a bit hard to use, maybe.  It is likely that
you can have very good results if you explicitly go for it; surely
the same can be said for GNU roff.

In fact i looked at it a few years ago, but the code appeared
(very) messy to me, and of course i already had been impaired by
"this is good enough for what i need (now)" code, though i for one
have also stated in the past that my damages (you can get a gray
beard!  So just in case this was the source for that) root in code
which has been written almost half a decade earlier.

But note that i never liked the multipass approach that is
necessary to generate (front page) TOC, indices etc., in sofar as
it must be driven from an outer authority.  Iirc there are hints
similar to "two or three pass, maybe more", until TOC and index
insertions are up-to-date and the page numbers have all come in
sync etc.  I "always" had the idea of having some multipass thing
built-in, so that the macros themselves can decide what is
necessary and what not, and are enabled themselves to pick up data
of former runs.  That is what i really would like to get to.
UTF-8 would be great, TTF fonts, too.  A somewhat improved
automatic overall formatting would be nice, or at least warnings
like TeXs "overfull box" (iirc), with page and line number.  But
i have zero idea of what will go and what not, and how long it
will take.  But it would be fantastic to be there one day.

--steffen


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