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Lout interaction with other languages

From: mzukowski
Subject: Lout interaction with other languages
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 15:42:05 -0800

I just finished a fun project that highlights some things I want to do with
Lout to which I couldn't find what I considered a good solution.  

The project generates calendars.  Each box has the date in the upper left
with a moon symbol if it is full or new, any holidays in the upper right,
and a quote or thought in the bottom of the box.  There are also boxes which
have the previous and next months in them for reference, and sometimes a
split box is used for 24/31 so the calendar is always in five rows.

Some things I would have loved:

Being able to find out if a box is too full, for instance on the split days
I always omitted the quote at the bottom so the important stuff would fit.
But it would have been nice to be able to call on Lout to generate the box
and tell me that it was full and then elimate the quote and try again.

Being able to specify some extra PostScript to go into the BeginSetup
section.  I have to manually add this for printing a poster-sized version of
the calendar.  Lout doesn't seem to have a hook for this, and admittedly if
it did very few would need to use it.  But anyway...

Being able to tweak fonts, etc., quickly.  It would have been nice to have a
faster cycle for viewing those changes.  I was in a bind between wanting the
whole document to be one Lout file so the PostScript would be reasonable v.
generating boxes individually and @IncludeGraphic'ing them for speed of
interaction.  I'm sure that there are probably Lout coding optimizations I
could have made for my generated code, but I didn't explore that fully.
Writing Lout functions is still sort of awkward for me, and in many cases I
didn't want just a single Lout Object that had already had OneRow and OneCol
applied.  In fact I was trying to generate "flattened" core Lout due to the
specialized nature of my task.

For an interactive system it would be really nice to be able to farm "parts"
out to Lout and let the user position other stuff.  I know that Lout was
designed in the beginning to eventually be an interactive system like
Scribe, but I've never found out specific details about that in the Lout

Any comments?



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