ANNOUNCE: erlguten

Joe Armstrong <>
Wed Mar 12 16:39:29 CET 2003





On Wed, 12 Mar 2003, Peter-Henry Mander wrote:

> I think the appeal is in being able to generate elaborate, presentation 
> quality documents directly from changable/dynamic data, with charts, 
> graphs, tables, links etc...

  Actually I started  writing it because am *appalled*  at the quality
of  modern typesetting.   IMHO desktop  publishing has  destroyed high
quality  typesetting -  for  example Times  Roman  was *designed*  for
setting narrow  columns of  newspaper print -  it is commonly  used to
print wide columns on A4 paper - the result is a mess.

  TeX/LaTeX also are  flawed - TeX can't line up  rows in two parallel
columns.

  Just look  at LaTeX papers done  with two columns -  you'll see that
the text in  the individual lines are usually  misaligned. The use of
LaTeX in  producing scientific documents has resulted  in virtually all
publications looking identical - the typography is often awful as are
the  fonts -  believe  me there  are  some really  *beautiful* type  1
postscript fonts which deserve to get used in scientific publications.

  Many magazines get this wrongs - newspapers are much better.

  If you look at a newspaper the overall design is based on a smallish
number  of templates -  where each  template is  a set  of rectangular
boxes (I guess most papers use  less than 20 templates) - indeed there
should only be a small number of  templates if the work as a whole is
to have a consistent look and feel.

  Erlguten design will  reflect this - the idea  (not yet implemented)
is to have a small number of templates + a large database of articles.

  Making a document consists then  of choosing a template and dropping
an article into it.

  I imagine generating  these (content -> template) map  on the fly and
producing personalized content.

  The other point is *quality* I want to achieved the highest possibly
quality  - MS word  etc. get  character kerning  *wrong* and  miss out
ligatures  - they make  typographically crazy  decisions -  setting up
fixed columns (a la newspaper) is terribly difficult.

  The  next level  of  programs quark-express  -  InDesign2 etc.   can
produce better quality output but  are literally *painful* to use (it
probably takes  ten thousand mouse clicks  to no anything  - by which
time your arm wants to drop off).

  There seems to be no good  free software to produce high quality PDF
from XML  (I looked) the industry  "standard" way of doing  this is to
use XSLT to transform XML to the FOSSI XML DTD and then transform this
to a  subset of  TeX and then  transform this  to PDF. This  method is
extremely  complicated and  incredibly difficult  to produce  any good
results (I've tried).

  The direct transformation of XML -> PDF *in one step* is much better
and easier to program - all the Adobe documentation is freely available
and is  of surprisingly high quality  (well done Adobe) -  IMHO PDF is
extremely well designed as is Postscript.

> I intend to use it to generate printable reports directly from and 
> within a product testing framework and is accessible from a web page.

  Now  make  me  happy  by  getting  the  typography  right  -  choose
*beautiful* typefaces -  and get the layout right -  try reading a few
books on  typography first :-)  ((seriously)) - things got  better and
better from 1445 until about 1985 and then got worse ...

  I  read that  a typesetter  setting newsprint  on a  Linotype machine
could enter properly formatted text  4 times faster than with a modern
desk top publishing system. This  was *not* WYSIWYG but all done single
key type setting  commands ... If anybody knows how  to get a Linotype
manual can they mail me :-)

  So let's try to make things better ...


> 
> Thanks Joe, btw, for doing this. I've now got all the tools (pdf,web) I 
> need in Erlang, and in the form of tutorials no less. I owe you quite a 
> few beers :-)

Great - which bar??

/Joe

> 
> Pete.
> 
> HP Wei wrote:
> >>Very nice indeed.
> >>So far I have been using Latex for my wordprocessing.
> >>
> >>It will be nice to use erlang instead !
> > 
> > 
> >   I just want to know the reason for this.
> >   Is erlguten going to be 'Latex' plus more ??
> >   
> > hp
> > 
> > 
> > 
> 
> 
> 




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