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Re: [Groff] troff syntax and useability

From: Jim Reid
Subject: Re: [Groff] troff syntax and useability
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 17:12:08 +0100

>>>>> "Tadziu" == Tadziu Hoffmann <address@hidden> writes:

    >> Admittedly, the requests and macros make sense *after* you've
    >> learned them -- but not before and the appearance on the page
    >> of terse, two-letter 'commands' makes learning troff too much
    >> of a memory test.

    Tadziu> Ah, but that's "the Unix way".  The initial learning curve
    Tadziu> is steep, but the rewards plentiful.

Bell Labs -- OK not a disinterested party -- did some research on this
a while back. The argument was made that UNIX was hard to use because
of the terseness of the command-line interface and the text editor, ed. 
The researchers replaced one-character editor commands with words like
"assert" that were unrelated to the function the command did. They
found that groups using this "user friendly" version did no better at
learning ed than those who used the original. The point was that once
the underlying principles were grasped, the command names/letters
didn't matter to the ease of use. This should be true for troff
learners too, even today.

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