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Re: [Groff] Future direction of groff

From: Mike Bianchi
Subject: Re: [Groff] Future direction of groff
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2014 11:59:18 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

My 2 cents.

I learned nroff/troff in the mid 1970s, and have used it, almost exclusively,
ever since.  It is what I know in my spine.  The MM macros are my presentation
format of choice, for the same reason.

But my criticism of groff, and HTML, TeX etc., is that presentation and
formating are horribly intermingled.

By "presentation" I mean concepts such as Title, Chapter, Section, Figure,
Footnote, Table of Contents, Index (still use permuted index via ptx), etc.
"Formating" to me means how it looks on paper/screen/tablet, etc.

To me the value of groff is that the _words_ are the most important things
and even if I lost my ability to format past *roff documents, I still have all
the words.  I can even recover many of the words associated with presentation

Done right, a really great macro package would have to clearly separated parts:
presentation and format.  But it seems *roff has never really provided the
architecture to support that sort of separation, hence macro packages that
mush the concepts together.  And thus the long standing habit of tweaking the
format with commands scattered among the words to fix the formatting errors.

In an ideal world, I would write thinking only about the words of the text
and their associated presentation concepts.  THEN, when sending my creation
to the world, some automation would make it look appropriate on paper and all
the variations of "screen" out there (on GoogleGlass?) without any further
adjustment on my part.  (My best documents come close, but only because I am
become blind to all the teaks inherent in the presentation macros.)

I am not aware of any good examples of what I am looking for.  Are there?

 Mike Bianchi
 Foveal Systems

 973 822-2085


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