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Re: [Groff] Regarding HTML rendering

From: mikkel meinike
Subject: Re: [Groff] Regarding HTML rendering
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2017 12:27:12 +0200

Concluding on HTML rendering

I would like to conclude a bit on this interesting dialogue about HTML

We have talked about that groff low-level-markup is not so suitable for
converting to SGML variants because groff markup does not follow a pattern
that harmonizes well with SGML and related markup. We have talked about
that if a direct translation of MOM markup could be made, it would provide
a much better translation to SGML variants because it largely follows the
same structure and is made for the purpose of such interaction. The problem
is just that there is no such translator for MOM markup and that it will
take several weeks full time work to write one.

Then Dorai came to the pitch and drew attention to


Troff2page seems to work very well and to be a bit of an intermediate
between low-level translation and high-level translation. Troff2page
translates groff low level reguests, ms-markup, table-markup and man-markup
directly to HTML. This it does well based on what I have tried. At the same
time, troff2page low system resource demands so it will be simpler and more
effective than Docbook and Latex and run efficiently on small machines.

That is, groff / ms markup may well be used as a multiconvertible markup in
the same way as it is the intention of pandoc-markdown. It can be
simplified, similar to markdown, so the source file is readable and
virtually undisturbed in itself. At the same time, you will be able to
achieve far higher accuracy and control in setting up, for example, ps /
pdf output than you can with markdown. Plus tiff2page is actually being
activly develuped by Dorai (thanks for Dorai :-)). A problem that is often
mentioned when talking about Groff conversion here in this list is that
footnotes do not appear in the HTML version. I rarely use footnotes in my
documents so I do not know how troff2page handles these, but perhaps Dorai
has also found a solution to the footnote problem, so also those who writes
more complicated texts could translate their texts into HTML (and thus to
other formats) without any big problems.

If you want to use troff2page, just be aware that you can only use Groff
basic-requests, table-requests, MS-requests and man-reguestes. So you can
not use MOM or mm macropacks. Niether can you use your own defined macros
or aliasses. One has to adhere to the above defined requests. However, one
can make ones own "aliasse" by making ons own preprocessor using shell
script/sed/awk to convert one's own formatting codes to regulate groff / ms
request before converting with troff2page.

For everyday use, it means I can start every new document in the same way.
I use a very simple template of groff and ms markup that looks fine in
plain text if that's what I need it for and that can be expanded with more
requsts if my document later becomes a more advanced pdf or a html document.

Thank you for inspiration, advice and guidance.

Yours sincerely
Mikkel Meinike Nielsen

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