[TUHS] Who used *ROFF?

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Tue May 15 01:21:26 AEST 2018

Larry McVoy writes:
> BTW, I still find pic really useful, ...

I use pic all the time.  One of the things that I find most useful, which
is unfortunately not supported by things like xfig, is invisible elements.
I draw most complicated pictures by constructing scaffold of invisible items
and hanging the visible items onto it.  That way, if I start running out of
space I can just shrink the scaffold.  Sure beats having to rescale piles of
elements and then move them around in WYSIWYG packages.

Also, as part of the book project, I have a script that I've written that
converts the original troff source into OpenOffice XHTML since my publisher
won't do troff.  Not a serious script as it just looks for macro names, it
doesn't expand and interpret all of the low-level requests.  But, part of
the script extracts pic images into separate files, runs them through groff,
converts the output to PDF, converts that to SVG, runs it through inkscape
in batch mode to crop excess whitespace from the image, and then imports it
into the OpenOffice documents.  Of course, while SVG is the only vector
graphics format that OpenOffic supports, it makes a mess of it and converts
it to bitmaps internally.  But, it works with the publisher's production
toolchain as they can work on the SVG images separately.

Once again, a testament to "little languages" and "composable tools".


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