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Re: [DRAFT] Revised groff ms manual for review

From: Robert Thorsby
Subject: Re: [DRAFT] Revised groff ms manual for review
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2020 10:53:25 +1100

On 01/11/20 10:07:13, Ingo Schwarze wrote:
G. Branden Robinson wrote on Sun, Nov 01, 2020 at 09:47:14AM +1100:
> To achieve the above, I defined my own chapter macro.
> This is not discouraged in ms, unlike in man(7) and mdoc(7).

... The ability to define macros to tackle the particular needs of an individual document is among the strengths of roff - and, as you recently documented, it has been since AT&T Version 3 UNIX in 1973.

At the risk of surplussage I'd like to endorse the sentiments of Ingo and Branden.

The ability to define macros gives extraordinary power. To take a simple example: defining Left Headers and Right Headers; pagination with numbering that is a mixture of Arabic, lower case Roman, and upper case Roman; ensuring Chapters always start on the right (with no Header but a Footer containing a centred page number); ensuring that blank pages have no Header or Footer, etc, makes laying out a book a simple matter.

Chapters consisting of separate files can be joined into a final opus with the aid of simple text editing applications (sed and friends).

The author can get on with writing the book, and can check from time to time to see how it "looks" when typeset.

Of course, collaborative works can also be produced. With different authors contributing separate chapters.

To say nothing of nightmarish numbering systems that exist in legal documents. And technical documents that have specific contents tailored to different circumstances.

And I haven't even touched on Peter's mom macros.

The ease with which documents can be created in a layout that meets the author's (or publisher's) precise requirements is *roff's most important feature.


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