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Re: [Nmh-workers] manpage table help

From: Jon Steinhart
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] manpage table help
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 18:15:43 -0800

Ken Hornstein writes:
> I've been working on a nmh manpage, and I've been reading 
> docs/README.manpages,
> and I'm a bit confused.  Specifically, by the stuff which sets up a table:
>         .PP
>         .RS 5
>         .nf
>         .ta \w'/rnd/phyl/Mail/EP 'u +\w'has ddd messages 'u +\w'(ddd\-ddd); 'u
>         FOLDER  \0\0\0\0\0\0# MESSAGES  RANGE   CUR     (OTHERS)
>         ff      has \0no messages.
>         inbox+  has \016 messages       (\03\-\022);    cur=\05.
>         mh      has \076 messages       (15\-\076);     cur=70.
>         .fi
>         .RE
>         .PP
> Ok, I understand that ".PP" is new paragraph, ".RS" is an indent (although
> I'm not sure what the units are), and .nf is "no fill".  And I understand
> that .ta sets tab stops .... but I'm confused by the syntax.  Specifically,
> what are the \w'/rnd/phyl/Mail/EP ' stuff (it doesn't even appear in
> the output!), the 'u. and the +\w', etc etc.  I understand that after that
> the cells are separated by tabs, but I don't understand waht the \0 is for.
> Also ... why, exactly, do we use \- instead of -?
> Sorry to sound like a n00b, but when I came to town there was always an
> amazing lack of documentation on troff, so I never ended up using it.
> --Ken

man 7 groff should help some.  \w'string' returns the width of the string.
The u says do it in internal units.  \0 is a digit-width space.  Looks
like this is setting up two tab stops for the stuff below.  Really a hard
way of doing it.   You can just to .ta 1i 2i 3i for tabs at 1, 2, and 3
inches and just eyeball things until it looks right to you.


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