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Re: [Groff] Regarding HTML rendering

From: Ingo Schwarze
Subject: Re: [Groff] Regarding HTML rendering
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 20:28:53 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.8.0 (2017-02-23)


Peter Schaffter wrote on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 01:37:17PM -0400:
> On Wed, Aug 16, 2017, Mikkel wrote:

>> I can see that nobody has replied. Pleas don't worry about it. It's not
>> anything critical to me it's just sometimes nice to have a little input
>> from others. I think that tbl is the route go for me. But don't worry about
>> giving an answer unless you feel inspired to do so :-). Greetings Mikkel

> I suspect the reason no one replied is that grohtml hasn't been
> actively developed for a while.  It isn't being widely used.

Besides, it's a hard task allowing moderate success at best.  The
roff language is a poor fit for what HTML excels in, namely,
hierarchical representation of information and semantic markup.
The HTML language is a poor fit for what groff excels in, namely,
exact positioning of glyphs and lines on paper.  So the programmer
is likely to spend lots of time trying to write heuristic code to
somehow transform the linear flow of pure formatting instruction
roff provides into something structured and semantically enriched.
Yet the user will likely be disappointed because they won't find
the precision and elegance they are used to from groff PostScript
and PDF output in the HTML result.

So technically, the best way to transform groff_mom(7) documents into
HTML would be to parse a high-level MOM node tree and convert that
directly to HTML, without going through troff(1) at all, like mandoc(1)
does it for the mdoc(7) language.  But i'm not aware that anybody did
the work of writing a semantic MOM parser yet.


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