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[Groff] Issue with Groff (Right-to-left support)

From: Russell Hyer
Subject: [Groff] Issue with Groff (Right-to-left support)
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:16:13 +0100


I am writing to ask whether anyone on this list knows about any built
in right-to-left support for Groff (without having to resort to hacks
like using sed to
reverse streams of characters)[1]. One of the reasons I mention this, is
that there was a document or a mini solution (perhaps?) provided on
the groff mailing list a number of years back - but trying to search
the web for modern and relevant information seems to be fraught with
the wrong answers (or just bad info).

There was, for example, one solution suggested in 2006, see:

But it's not clear whether a) this is the only solution and b) if
there's a coded version of this solution.

Now I do appreciate that PDF and Postscript is, of course,
left-to-right oriented. I mean, we have the ability in PDF to just
write: T* (Hello World) Tj to obtain a line of text reading "Hello
World" - of course such output won't be aligned beautifully. Part of
the other issue is that il8n means that UTF 8 (or unicode) is now
supported by our systems and - for example - typing in Hebrew in HTML
(when using unicode) forces this to output automatically. (Naturally
there can be some issues with potentially English styling like full
stops etc.) But, so far as I can tell, whilst advances like mom for
groff seem to make it easy to use - plus all the other drawing and
other graphing languages that can be used together with Groff, there
seems to be some RTL support missing. (That is to say, in HTML,
Unicode Hebrew letters automatically face the right way (although
certain English punctuation marks might not without coaxing)).

Thank you for your help,

Russell N Hyer
Maths Student/Geek/Part time human
[1] One semi effective way is to use the bidiv programme for Hebrew
text (but this does kinda suggest that the current system (or my
setup) is slightly misconfigured for RTL languages; of course in such
a setup bidiv becomes yet another pre-processor and you also need to
strip the additional white spacing.)

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