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Re: Readability of troff documents (Was: [Groff] Bug in gxditview)

From: Giorgos Magos
Subject: Re: Readability of troff documents (Was: [Groff] Bug in gxditview)
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 10:00:24 +0300

> This is fine as long as one runs his documents only
> through groff. On the other hand, Groff today has many
> extensions to the original troff which makes it impossible
> to simply run groff code through an original troff
> anyways.

I was referring to troff in a generic way, not contrasting
it to groff.

> Troff is hard to read since ages but it may be better to
> read when wisely formatted. I personally take the sed-way
> not only for \(em but also for ligatures like \(fl and
> stuff. So it won't bother me and I'd prefer to let it
> alone.

Don't the ligatures work automatically in groff? I don't
recall seeing this documented anywhere, but just looking at
my own documents, the fi, fl, and other combinations _look_
like ligatures to me, even though I didn't use the special
groff codes.

> Last, would you really tell that a non computer person
> nowadays uses troff in any way?

I don't think so! However, one of the most interesting
applications of [gt]roff these days (I think) is the
programmatic generation of high quality text, eg reports
from databases, form letters, etc. In such an environment
the user would be isolated from [gt]roff itself, using some
other interface, a web form for example. He or she would
have to enter blocks of text, though, eg text to accompany a
quotation, the body of a letter, etc. While I could filter
this through sed before feeding it to [gt]roff, I just think
that em dashes and en dashes are just too common to require
special escape codes. Anyway, just a thought. I can
certainly live with filtering through sed (which I suppose
I'd have to do anyway in most cases...).


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