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Re: [Groff] Mission statement

From: Peter Schaffter
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2014 21:49:49 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Mon, Mar 17, 2014, Deri James wrote:
> The stated goal for this is to enable doclifter to be able to
> work better, so that manual pages are on the web, can be browsed
> and navigated by clicking on links.  Does it require doclifter to
> achieve this?  What if we come from the other direction and ask
> "How can we make groff produce output with these desirables".

You ask an excellent question.  Standing well back from the debate
that's been going on, I can't help but feel it does make more sense
to cast the problem in those terms.

> I know Eric's opinion on the PDF standard, but it is the best form
> of output, with web type navigation, to faithfully maintain the
> output as the author intended.

Serving PDF manuals from the web has drawbacks, possibly
serious ones: it assumes an installed PDF reader, and there's
significant latency involved with firing one up.
> As an example, compare these two pages in a browser:-

In terms of sheer readability and ease of use, the PDF version
wins hands down--but you knew that already. :)  The PDF outline
is made-to-measure for manpage navigation.  I have some quibbles
about the actual presentation, particularly point size in relation
to line length for optimal screen reading, but that's not the point.
Your demonstration is excellent.

Peter Schaffter

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