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Re: [Groff] The quest for a high-end typesetting system: A few questions

From: Werner LEMBERG
Subject: Re: [Groff] The quest for a high-end typesetting system: A few questions
Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2005 21:57:56 +0100 (CET)

A preliminary remark: Some of the features you are asking for are
possible but haven't been implemented in the macro packages.

> 1: Regarding color, is it possible to specify color for, say, drop
> caps, paragraphs, lines etc, in the CMYK color system?


> 2: Being a non-programmer, font installation in TeX & Children
> deterred me ALOT.  To install a complete font with small caps, old
> style figures, alternate characters etc one needs to write a
> fontinst file, comprising a couple of hundred lines of code.  Not
> good for us mere mortals! I get the impression that this is
> considerably more easy in groff?  Correct?

It depends.  Contrary to LaTeX you aren't limited to 256 characters
per font.  On the other hand, no groff macro package (except `mom', to
a certain extent) provides easy means to switch just one of the many
font axes (font family, series, shape, etc.) -- this is something for
a not-yet-written macro package or macro extension.

Using troff's `.tr' request very powerful mappings can be realized;
for example, small caps support could look like this, assuming that
small caps are in the same font as

  .de start-smallcap
  .  tr a\[Asmall]b\[Bsmall]...
  .de end-smallcap
  .  tr aabb...

  This text is now typeset with small caps.

> 3: Is hanging punctuation (= commas, periods, colons, semicolons,
> quotation marks and hyphens protruding slightly into the margin)
> possible to achieve in groff? From reading posts in the archive I
> get the impression it would be - or is - possible.

No, it isn't -- someone had to implement it in groff.  AFAIK, only
pdftex offers this.

> 4: Is it possible to have multiple series of footnotes and margin
> notes?

This should be possible, I think.  Nested diversions are a quite
powerful means.  No macro package offers this, though.

> 5: If it turns out the last line of a paragraph has only one or two
> words, is it possible to slightly, slightly tighten the paragraph a
> few thousandparts of an em so that the short line moves back to the
> preceding line? I.e. "short line elimination". If so, can this be
> automated (for long documents)?

No, not automated.

> 6: Is it possible to typeset on a "grid" in groff? E.g. if there is
> a figure at the top of the page, to make sure that the following
> main text starts at a multiple of the line spacing used, so that
> lines on both sides of the paper line up when you hold up the sheet
> against the light?

Yes.  To say it the other way round: groff doesn't have elastical

> 7: I see few if any references in the archive to include external
> graphics, like TIF, BMP, EPS files etc.  Does including alot of
> graphics pose a problem?

If you stay with EPS there are no problems with many graphics.

> 8: I found a discussion about making the linebreaking algorithm
> paragraph-based (as in TeX)? Can this be done or has it been done
> already?

It hasn't been done.  The lack of elastic horizontal and vertical
space together with missing paragraph formatting are indeed
typographical handicaps.

> 9: Regarding drop caps, is it possible control the drop cap by
> creating a more advanced macro than the examples shown in the
> archive? Something like lettrine.sty in LaTeX - i.e. tweaking
> vertical size and/or position of the drop cap, defining protruding
> of the serifs into the margin, defining space between the drop cap
> and the indented lines, sloping the intended lines when the drop cap
> is a V or an A, etc.?

I think most if not all of those features should be possible if
someone sits down and writes appropriate macros for it.

> 10: Parallel typesetting on a spread with vertically synchronized
> paragraphs, line numbering and separate series of footnotes and
> margin notes - possible, not possible? Ted Harding mentioned
> something about that a few years ago.

It should be possible.

> 11: Can one define spot colors, i.e. 100 % solid Pantone PMS colors?
> When a PS file is color separated at the service bureau, a spot
> color goes on its own printing plate, having its own PMS ink (rather
> than being separated to four different plates (C-M-Y-K).

Sorry, I don't know exactly what you are talking about.  Maybe someone
more experienced in this field can answer this.

> 12: If the last line on a page has a footnote reference, what
> happens in groff? Does the footnote get printed on the next page, or
> does the last line move over to the next page, so that the footnote
> reference and the footnote get printed at the same page? This is
> something many programs have severe problems with.

Without actually testing I think that you can write macros so that the
last line moves over to the next page.


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