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Re: [Groff] troff syntax and useability

From: Larry Kollar
Subject: Re: [Groff] troff syntax and useability
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 22:20:45 -0400

Playing serious catchup to the list, I find that Rob Scovell wrote:

> troff syntax is horribly terse. The macros are better, but not that much 
> better, IMHO. I am not a regular troff user ...
> if I pick up troff, use it for something, then put it down again, when I 
> come back to use it the next time I find I have to re-learn a lot of stuff.

The second sentence explains your problem. :-) You have to keep
using it for a while, until it gets programmed into your fingers
like vi commands. The terse syntax becomes your friend once you
get the hang of it -- indeed, I got spoiled & I can't deal with
writing in TeX or DocBook (far too verbose).

> Debugging is hellish.

Yeah, but the rush you get when it works... the sun breaks through
the clouds, choirs of angels sing "Ossanna! Ossanna!"....

> 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.

> But the worst problem is this -- it's not much *fun*.

The community more than makes up for that.

Larry Kollar   k o l l a r  at  a l l t e l . n e t
"Content creators are the engine that drives value in the
information life cycle."   -- Barry Schaeffer, on XML-Doc

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