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What would a 21st centruy text render engine do -was: Re: HTML5 the new

From: Sander Boer
Subject: What would a 21st centruy text render engine do -was: Re: HTML5 the new lisp ?
Date: Tue, 02 Aug 2011 12:40:37 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.110018 (No Gnus v0.18) Emacs/24.0.50 (windows-nt)

>>>>> "JV" == joakim  <address@hidden> writes:

...[38 lines removed]...
    JV| I'm not really sure what you are talking about but if you want
    JV| to play with Emacs and HTML5 it is possible in a primitive way
    JV| with the xwidget branch. You can create a webkit area in an
    JV| Emacs buffer and manipulate it by injecting javascript fragments
    JV| in it.
    JV| I would like to achieve a better elisp/DOM bridge for my
    JV| purposes but I'm procrastinating it because it's not obvious how
    JV| to do it in an interesting way. (Either by machine generating
    JV| DOM bindings with Cedet/SRecode, or by making some form of
    JV| adapter compatible with xml-parse-region)
    JV| Anyway, if some of this HTML5 enthusiasm could be directed into
    JV| the furtherance of the xwidget branch, that would be
    JV| splendiferous :)
    JV| -- Joakim Verona

Dear Joakim,
I'm taking a top-down approach to this idea ("what does it all mean? ")
because I am, as you might have guessed, code-agnostic as in pretty n00b.
My n00b-ness notwithstanding, I am convinced that your work can unlock
unlimited potential for emacs as a platform.

As such I am rallying support for your effort and trying to engage a
discussion on what a good implementation paradigm could be.

Your approach to let's call it an opt-in canvas is a great way to
implement a feature that can be perceived as an add-on, making it easier
to dismiss.
The discussion on whether the basic rendering engine of emacs is in need
of close inspection is still valid and I wonder where the points of
resistance are. Surely, the difficulty of (core) implementation can be
overcome if there is widespread acceptance of its necessity.  

What would a 21st century  text render engine do ? 
1. look gorgeous (how does one domesticate a mix of variable width and
mono spaced fonts) 
2.  provide a platform that caters to GUIs as well as terminals 

Where @1 can be dismissed as subjective and we land ourselves in a
'public acceptance' discussion, I would like to start off by simply
stating that a aesthetics contribute to quality of life.
Also, from a coding point of view, there is something to be said for
coding on a platform that will be the platform of most Internet
connected devices. 
Comments in variable width fonts anyone ? with hyper-links ? in-code
bug-tracker ? in-code collaboration ?!

@2 however touches the core of the text-rendering paradigm as it is now
and I feel it is an unnecessary duality that takes the weakest platform
(terminals) as its starting point. I know that did not happen by choice
but by progressing from a term-based environment to a GUI based
environment. Today's emacs acts and feels like an upgraded terminal app.
I feel the opposite approach must be investigated, where one would
'downgrade' a GUI app to fit a terminal environment, much akin to the
term browsers we like so much.

Sander Boer

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