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Re: [Groff] The future redux

From: Eric S. Raymond
Subject: Re: [Groff] The future redux
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 13:24:15 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Walter Alejandro Iglesias <address@hidden>:
> Assuming you have not enough time to do it yourself, what I would do
> in your place is to pay someone to write the html of your site and
> replace DocBook with PHP scripting.

There are about fourteen million reasons that would be a terrible idea.
I'm not going to argue them here; this discussion is about how to fix groff, 
not my website.

> Other point.  Why the need to convert to html?  Why not to use pdf
> online?  Today you can read pdf comfortably from internet.  Web bots
> (like google) read them.  No lose.

No, no, *no*.  PDF on the Web is evil and must die.

Here's why.  It breaks the flatness of URL-space.  HTML documents can point
at PDFs, but not *into* PDFs.  Conversely, the ability of URLs to point out
of PDFs is damaged in two ways: (1) by inadequate PDF-reading software that
doesn't integrate properly with your browser, (2) by the lack of a standardized
construct in PDFs for masking URLs behind informative link text.

Another drop-dead problem is that PDF wants its presentation container to
be rigid and breaks reflow when the browser size changes.

Also, PDF on mobile devices is still pretty screwed up.  That could be fixed
relatively easily, though.  The above problems are more difficult.
                <a href="";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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