Re: belle page

Subject: Re: belle page
From: "Sebastian Rahtz" <sebastian.rahtz@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 14:56:35 +0100 (BST)
Brandon Ibach writes:
 >    I'd be interested in your opinion, Sebastian, on the idea of a
 > direct Postscript/PDF backend. 

I used to think it was a silly idea. I now think it is more plausible, 
after seeing what FOP has done in the XSL FO world. I am sure of one
thing, which is that JadeTeX as-is is not a viable long-term
solution. David Megginson and I were both naive to think that this
method was really workable. We have three choices, IMO:

 1. rewrite the jade TeX backend completely, to do a lot more
    preparatory work, and emit much simpler low-level TeX. that still
    buys us a lot
 2. write a new PDF backend, linking in something like Merz' pdflib to
    do the dirty work
 3. write a backend which generates XSL FO, and hope that good engines
    emerge in that area

 > backend and what is done in Postscript itself, but I tend to think
 > that it wouldn't be too difficult to reimplement TeX's most basic
 > algorithms for line and page breaking, etc. 

but consider the work in XSL FO. look at FOP, or indeed the RenderX
fo2pdf. Neither of them are anywhere *near* implementing decent 
multi-lingual hyphenation, or math typesetting, as TeX does. Yes, it
would be possible to write a new high-quality formatter tied to XSLFO to 
DSSSL, but where are the people who are going to do it?

 >  It just seems that TeX is
 > not ideal for DSSSL, given its orientation toward interactive
 > typesetting.  In fact, I daresay that the process is hindered by the
 > more advanced features of TeX that DSSSL FOs simply don't need.
 >    Just a thought process...

very true. and the different paradigms, which would caused the column stuff 
to be hard.

my choice 3. above surely shows the direction to go. that is to say,
combine forces with the XSL FO people to have a common page
formatter. not that this is a new idea, of course.

sometimes I wish I were a real computer programmer.


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