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Re: A few observations regarding tbl

From: Oliver Corff
Subject: Re: A few observations regarding tbl
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2021 09:41:06 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.2.1

Hi Branden!

On 6/20/21 12:15 AM, G. Branden Robinson wrote:

That's terrific!  I don't think it's necessary to belabor the GNU
extensions.  I think they should be identified as such for those who
care, but most of our audience is not going to need to write tbl(1)
tables that are portable back to Version 7 Unix.
I specifically think of the GNU option nospaces which can make life just
soo much easier (the demonstration, together with usage examples of
tab(x), will be given in the tutorial).

Since you're working with ms(7) as your macro package, I'd urge you to
peruse doc/ in our Git repository[1].  As mentioned last year, I've
been working on bringing Larry Kollar's document up to date with changes
made to groff ms over the past 20 years.  (And also fiddling the thing
to death as I am wont to do with documentation.)
That document is about the most beautiful and user-friendly introduction
to the ms macro package which I've ever seen. Why did I not notice this
before? Thank you for mentioning it to me!
That's just to give your ms writing a refresher; I wouldn't necessarily
follow the pattern used there for code examples.  Because they often
show source and rendered content side-by-side, the document uses tables.
But since tables can't nest, that may not work well for what you have
I already have a nice concept to show table code on the left and the
result on the right side.

My first inclination would be write macros to start and end the
examples, and have them use a boxed display with a font family change.
I've attached the source and output PostScript.
Thank you for that one, too!

As noted later in the thread, there's no great solution for this.  I
like the open box, but if that glyph isn't portable enough, I suppose
I'd go with a bullet \[bu].

Perhaps the best way is really to use bullet marks or anything ms can
safely produce, and alert the user that this will only be shown in the
first, most basic examples.

Best regards,


Dr. Oliver Corff
Wittelsbacherstr. 5A
D-10707 Berlin
Tel.: +49-30-8572726-0
Fax : +49-30-8572726-2

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