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RE: [Groff] [off] micro-typography

From: Ted Harding
Subject: RE: [Groff] [off] micro-typography
Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2002 15:19:29 -0000 (GMT)

On 01-Feb-02 Stewart C. Russell wrote:
> Delete now unless you like the geekly minutiae of quality book 
> typography. 0% to do with groff, too.

Come on, Stewart! "0% to do with groff", forsooth!

> I've just read Han The Thanh's thesis on micro-typographical extensions
> to pdfTeX. Basically, this makes TeX's already very good line-breaking
> algorithm look much better, by (amongst other things):
> * fiddling character widths very slightly
> * allowing certain characters (hyphen, comma, etc) to protrude very
> slightly into the right margin.

The basic mechanisms for fiddling character widths [track-kerning,
use '.tkf'] and for having certain characters protrude slightly
into the margin already exist in groff. For protrusion, one way
is to make, say, a marginal comma masquerade as a slightly narrower
comma; which can be done by back-stepping a bit after it has been
printed:   ,\h'-2p'   for instance. And this could be made into
a character:

  .char \(m, ,\h'-2p'

[-2p looks good in 24-point, which is what I used to try this
out, but of course other shifts are easy to set].

As to automating this, or automating any sophisticated algorithms,
in macros, that's another question. And certainly building it in
to groff's troff would be a radical change.

Nevertheless, the fact that it is doable, even by hand on
a character-by-character basis, means that someone who wants
to achieve "micro-typography" in groff can in fact do so.

So, yes, P% to do with groff, where P>0!


E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 167 1972
Date: 02-Feb-02                                       Time: 15:19:29
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