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Re: [Groff] Introduction

From: Meg McRoberts
Subject: Re: [Groff] Introduction
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 21:13:03 -0700 (PDT)

> I've been fiddling with OpenOffice lately. It's not a beauty, but it's
> sturdy and does a pretty good job importing & exporting Word
> files. I've literally had cases where OpenOffice had better luck
> with a seriously gnarly Word file than did Word itself.

In this context, I consider OpenOffice to be equivalent to Word
(yeah, I know, at least it's not a proprietary format and all).
> How this all relates to *roff... well, extraction & repurposing of
> existing documents requires a basic interchange format. It
> doesn't have to be Word; it just has to be something Word can
> open and deal with. Like HTML.

For technical documents, I need a lot more flexibility than Word
can give.  I would like to be able to write a bunch of small docs
that could then be sourced into a big manual, mixed and matched.
Theoretically, Word does have this ability, but I've yet to meet
anyone who has been able to get it to work reliably.  And I want
to be able to maintain the documents in true source code control --
Word (and Frame) docs can only be controlled as binary docs -- you
need a text-format source document to really be able to see when
and where a change was made.

If I say a line is a second-level header, I want it to stay a second-
level header, not periodically switch into text while the paragraph
before it becomes a second-level header or something.

And I need to be able to create a document (perhaps a large reference
table) so that, without modifying the source, it can be printed out
in a variety of "styles".  I notice that, when everyone is used to
using Word, they constantly cut-and-paste doc elements into new
documents so you end up with ten versions of the same material,
and when you need to update that material...  well, you guys know
what happens...
> The output from grohtml is good enough, or can be with just
> a little help, that Word should be able to open it easily. I just
> tried opening a test HTML file in OpenOffice 1.x and it actually
> looked pretty good. Now getting back to groff from ODF, that
> will take a little more work....

I prefer HTML as an output format from the same source that can also
generate PS, PDF, formatted ASCII...  It's great to get a technical
document into HTML to display on the web but if I want a printed
copy, the HTML doc isn't compact enough to be satisfying...

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