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Some suggestions

From: Markku Sakkinen
Subject: Some suggestions
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 10:49:42 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/

Hello all,

I have used Lout already for over 5 years, but somehow neglected the
mailing list until now.  I have just moved from version 3.29 to the
brand new 3.31, without noticing any problems in the upgrade.  However,
I'll present some small problems and suggestions.

1. Some setup files in the "include" subdirectory are missing version
information and have incorrect dates.  For instance, the beginning of
the "book" file says
#   Jeffrey H. Kingston
#   17 September 1999
although it has been enhanced probably in every subsequent Lout version.

2. There are now the new options @IndexRangeFormat and @IndexARangeFormat
at least in the "book" file (commented out like other options).  I guess
it was intended to have also @IndexBRangeFormat.

3. The symbol @RawIndex produces an index entry without a page number,
and is intended to be used together with @SubIndex entries.  However,
a rather common way to use index entries is the following:
  phonograph, see gramophone
  (gramophone, see phonograph) :-) (according to the classic Finnish
      humorist author, pseudonym Olli)
Such usage could sometimes be desired also for subindex entries,
thus a symbol @RawSubIndex would be nice to have.

4. I have used a setup file slightly modified from "book", where the
appearance of the introductory pages has been changed from the defaults.
For some reasons, such changes always seem to produce an extra page before
the title page, although I have not defined @BeforeTitlePage.  Lout also
always give an error message like this:
     5,1: unresolved cross reference @Roman&&0
Of course, the extra page can be removed afterward from the PostScript file.
However, it is not possible to start the numbering of Intro pages with 1
from the page following the title page, because @IntroFirstPageNumber
cannot be set to -1.

5. There is always an even number of Intro pages in a book, even if the
last one is empty.  Even this should be overridable.  There are cases
in which a book-like document is printed one-sided (e.g. my lecture notes
- as you might have guessed).  In such cases extraneous empty pages seem
strange.  However, like the previous problem, this can be handled by
"postprocessing" the PS file - but only if one uses separate Intro
page numbering.

The following background might be interesting to some subscribers of this list.
5 years ago, I had about 100 pages of Finnish lecture notes as Groff source
text.  Before updating them to the next version, it seemed advisable to
go over to a more structured format, and I chose Lout, which looked
interesting.  The conversion did take a lot of work, but succeeded quite well,
and I have not regretted the move and the effort afterward.  However, only
now am I producing an index (hence the items 2 and 3 above), because it
requires so much additional work.  The bibliography had been written
manually in the Groff version, so I was too lazy to produce a bibliographic
database for Lout either.  Now such an effort might not pay off any longer.

Many thanks to Jeff Kingston for his good work!

Best regards,
Markku Sakkinen

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