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Re: The PDF back end

From: Kyle
Subject: Re: The PDF back end
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 10:21:39 -0600

address@hidden wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Hi Kyle,
> On Thu, May 17, 2001 at 08:39:17AM -0600, Kyle wrote:
> > address@hidden wrote:
> >
> > > As Jeff said, the problem is that Lout depends too much on the
> > > PostScript programming language.  Perhaps now is the time to
> > > start transitioning to a new model, where there is no direct
> > > connection between the Lout system and the final output format.
> > > This should be done in small, testable steps so that the
> > > transition can happen gradually and without breaking anything.
> >
> > Why transition away from the most powerful and most widely accepted 
> > graphical
> > scripting language in the world?
> Postscript has been tied directly into Lout and its macro packages. This
> umbilical cord allowed Lout to grow into its current form. But if Lout wants
> to continue to grow, this umbilical cord has to be severed at some point in
> time.

Does everyone accept that as a "given?"

> > Why reinvent the wheel?
> Lout would still support Postscript, of course, but an additional layer
> would be present between Lout's core and the back ends. Changing the core
> would no longer mean changing all of the back ends as well. Adding a new
> back end would no longer require changing the macro packages and the
> documents itself. Is that so bad?

Not on face value, but here are some pros of a new layer as I see it:

1. You don't (theoretically) have to change macro packages depending on which 
backend you are using.
2. Other backends besides PS, and PDF may now be more easily attainable.

Some cons are:

1. Any new abstraction layer inherently places new limitations on which 
features of postscript the user will
be able to access.  I've been able to do some pretty slick stuff in lout 
because I have a direct pipe to the
PS backend.  My guess is it will be pretty hard to simplify the interface and 
still retain the full power of
2. There is a new set of commands that now need to be included in macro 
packages (oops, have to change the
macros now)
3. Another command syntax and vocabulary to master.

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