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[Groff] Readability, em-dashes, mom macros, etc.

From: Peter Schaffter
Subject: [Groff] Readability, em-dashes, mom macros, etc.
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 10:49:37 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.0.1i

Hi, all.

Giorgos Magos makes an excellent point about the readability of
source documents, and I recommend that he, or anyone else,
concerned about this read the section in mom's html documentation
toc.html=>WHAT IS MOM?=>Mom's philosophy.  And that they give the
mom macros a whirl to see if they help making source documents
easier to create and read.  One thing mom does, which should help,
is provide a SMARTQUOTES option that turns "this" into ``this''
(properly rendered, of course).

As for special characters like em- and en-dashes, I confess I still
use the sed filter solution, but Ted Harding's suggestion of using
the .char request to turn, say, \(em into \[--] is a good one.
Amongst other things, it's easier to write syntax highlighting rules
for the generic construct \[...] than for \(... because the generic
construct has clearly defined opening and closing delimiters,
\ and ] respectively.  And highlighted special characters definitely
improve the readability of source files.

Anyway, I've been thinking of adding a set of character
translations to mom of the form \[...] for common characters that
currently have to be rendered via inline escapes.  What do people
think?  Would it be genuinely useful?  And if yes, how complete
should the list of translations be?  Every possible special
character, or just some common ones?

Also (sorry for the long post), is anyone out there interested in
writing vim syntax highlighting rules for mom?  I use the elvis
vi clone, and have provided mom rules for elvis in the file
elvis_syntax.  I've never used vim, and haven't the time,
presently, to explore how to write syntax highlighting for it.

Peter Schaffter

Author of _The Schumann Proof_, appearing fall, 2004
(pub. RendezVous Press, Canada)

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