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Re: [groff] [Groff] It is time to modernise "groff"

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: [groff] [Groff] It is time to modernise "groff"
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:03:48 -0500

More catching up...

On 9/4/17, G. Branden Robinson <address@hidden> wrote:
> At 2017-08-31T20:54:10+0000, Bjarni Ingi Gislason wrote:
>> p) Remove the '-a' option (the ASCII approximation output).
> I didn't even know this existed.  Looking at what it spits out, I find
> myself wondering what good it is.

As one use case, it's important for scripted regression testing.
Running diffs on PostScript output is often not very illuminating, but
running it on -a output easily enables you to home in on exactly what
the typeset difference is between one run and another.

It also has one very valuable output property: outputting the string
"<hy>" to represent hyphens that groff has inserted for word breaks,
while outputting all other hyphens as hyphens, makes it easy to grep
for (or highlight in "less") word breaks while ignoring all other
hyphens, even ones that otherwise appear at the end of a line.  I
don't know of any other output format that has this property.  (Yes,
groff lets you change the hyphenation character, but for real-world
output this is almost never done, and it's absurd to have to alter the
document just to check something about its output.  This is exactly
what an output switch is for.)

Please do not remove the -a option.

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