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Re: [Groff] Meta-tbl: The bug is fixed

From: Ted Harding
Subject: Re: [Groff] Meta-tbl: The bug is fixed
Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2000 21:18:55 +0100 (BST)

On 07-Aug-00 baruchel wrote:
> Brest, le lundi 7 août
> Here are the commands:
> .m4tshd n [d]    a shadow (always the first M4T command)
> .m4tdbl [n]      fill the doublebox space (after .m4tshd but before all
> others)
> .m4tfa n         fill the whole table (except doublebox space)
> .m4tcf x n       fill a column
> .m4tlf y n       fill a line
> .m4tfc x y n     fill a cell
> .m4tbdr x r [s]  adds a border aroune (x,y)
> I don't see any bug for the moment.

Basically, It all now seems to work fine; I don't see any bugs either,
for simple tables (but see below for tables with headers and multipage

For those of you who may have lost track of the progress, all you need
is Barouchel's latest macros (the 7 August posting) plus the awk script
from the 6th August posting "[Groff] Meta-tbl: last know bug fixed".

I would like to congratulate Barouchel for achieving a well-executed and
welcome enhancement to the capabilities of tbl in groff -- and in the
old spirit (separate tools for separate jobs) as well.

I had had the idea some time ago that this approach could be made to
work, but never had the courage to get down to it.

There seems to be a problem with cells not being completely filled
when the table has a header, e.g.

  .TS H
  allbox center tab(&);
  c s s s s.
  c c c c c.

Nor do these macros work properly on multi-page tables.

This leads me on to a proposal. While Barouchel's solution is excellent
for the immediate purpose of shading cells on simple tables that are
confined to one page (or column), extending them to the full generality
of the capabilities of tbl would require cycle after cycle of development
for every further feature of tbl that is taken into account.

I think that further development needs to recognise that shading is an
intrinsic attribute of a cell or row or column, and should join the other
attributes that can be set (on a global or temporary basis) in the header
lines of the table definition such as "f" (font), "w" (col width) etc.
This means extending the source code of tbl itself.

Since the key-letter "g" seems to be unallocated, maybe an appropriate
syntax could be "g(n)" where n is the grey-level.

Then the usual syntax for changing attributes could be used:

  cg(240) c c c cg(500).

would set shading for cols 1 and 5 until reset by a later .T& sequence.

Probably there is also a case for some global options, such as

"allgray(n)"      (like .m4tfa n     fill the whole table (except
                        doublebox space))
"greydblbox (n)"  (like .m4tdbl [n]  fill the doublebox space
                        (after .m4tshd but before all others)

etc. Suggestions would be welcomed.

While we are at it, a global option I have sometimes wanted is the
set a column width EXACTLY to a certain value (as opposed to w(x)
which merely ensures that it will be at least this width), especially
when dealing with text blocks. Maybe a corresponding key-letter
"W(x)" ?

Anyway, I am very happy to have Barouchel's macros, which have now
joined up with the other supplementary tools which I regularly use.

Best wishes to all,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 284 7749
Date: 07-Aug-00                                       Time: 21:18:55
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