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Re: [Groff] Mission statement

From: Eric S. Raymond
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 00:10:24 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Peter Schaffter <address@hidden>:
> 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 guess I haven't been clear enough.

Doclifter already does a pretty good job on the existing corpus.
(I think 98.15% with minor patching qualifies as pretty good, anyway.)

Thus, neither hygienic nor any of the other extension ideas I'm
kicking around are primarily important as ways to make doclifter
*itself* work better.  Hygienic mode will be a bit of help in curbing
the use of some markup that is likely to trip up doclifter, but we're
talking small single-digit percentages here.

No, the best reason to clean up and simplify manpage makup is so that
it can be rendered to web and print by programs that are, um, less
heroic than doclifter.  Or than groff itself.  Eventually it would be good
to have a well-defined set of man macros that can be fully documented
and then rendered (or transcoded to other source formats) without
groff being in the pipeline at all.

Remember that when I first proposed .hygiene it was part of a plan to
decouple man(7) from groff so that groff can concentrate on being 
in the *typesetting* business.
                <a href="";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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