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[Groff] Error messages by groff

From: Cedric Sodhi
Subject: [Groff] Error messages by groff
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2012 15:18:52 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Hello, one thing I've been struggling with for a long time and regularly
is that error messages are absolutely non-telling, at least for me.
Eventually, I can't help it but wonder whether I am the only person
having a problem with this.

I thought, that maybe, there are two ways to at least migitate the
problem that an error message, as returned by groff, has no meaning as
for the line number or sometimes even the context given. Without having
to do much code work on groff itsself (such as debugging information
being preserved through the toolchain).

1) Write a wrapper script from groff (at least I use one anyway, to
include a preamble with definitions etc) which, if an error is returned,
bisects the sourcefile being compiled to find the first line which
causes an error. Question: Are there special cases with, say, forward
declarations in which head-cropping the file could CREATE problems?

2) Perhaps give a little more context in the error messages. As I said,
line numbers appear completely futile - but they are mostly the only
thing that is used to specify an error. Maybe we could change that in
future versions and - instead of providing a linenumber which only
applies to some intermediate file in the chain - give a bunch of

regards, Cedric

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