ANNOUNCE: erlguten

Jay Nelson <>
Thu Mar 13 07:46:03 CET 2003

Joe wrote:

 > In ErlGuten a document has three parts, a layout, content
 > and a map which maps content onto layout boxes ...
 > ErlGuten is the other way around - you start by defining
 > precisely where all the boxes on a page are to be, and all
 > the fonts etc. and then you say what text is to be put into
 > which box etc.

Yes, yes way to go!  This is the approach I am using with
auto-generated website content: CSS2 stylesheets for layout,
snippets for content.  String snippets together to create the
filler for a layout.

 > 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.

Exactly the right approach.  Worry about typing content when
that is what you are doing; worry about how it looks when that
is what you are doing.  I think modal tasking simplifies a complex

 > IMHO one should edit in EMACS and tell the system what font to use

I never thought of this.  Seems interesting.  I wonder if distel +
Emacs would be a good collaborative P2P document environment.

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

Hmmm, I can understand why you might have a large database of
articles, but I tend to have a large collection of text snippets.  I don't
write an entire document at one sitting.  I tend to collect interesting
items, and I tend to write in bursts or throw down some ideas that
I rework later.  I string them together when I need to produce a
document, and I reuse some of the ideas in later communications.
I do keep my finished documents, but my unfinished docs and notes
and snippets outnumber my finished documents.  I don't consider
received email a good candidate for a "document" but I would like to
display them in different ways.  When researching, I may quote
from several of them, interspersed with explanation (sort of like
this ramble).  I want a database of snippets that I can easily
reorganize and format for pretty output, sometimes creating
"documents" from them.

 > 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 ...

Oh gosh, that brings back memories.  PageMaker v1.0 had just
come outand we compared using PM to a low-level command line program
that was like linotype with single keystroke formatting.  Way faster
for anything more than a newsletter, and kerning down to 1/1100
of an inch.  I typeset a 40 page manual on the *new* Mac (in 1985,
when the term WYSIWYG was first being used) using the typesetting
software and sent the digital file to a Linotype shop for printing.  The
software let me use any PostScript commands and just generated a
raw PostScript file, I don't think anything else like it was around it the
time other than Linotype which was at least $35K for a workstation
and you still needed to take it to a printer.  Just a shell interface with
an editor and lots of WordPerfect-style embedded formatting.

 > If anybody knows how to get a Linotype manual can they mail me :-)

Unfortunately I never got my hands on the Linotype machine or the
manual but remember seeing them and drooling.  What a geek!
Can't remember the name of the program we used.

Hey, let me know when the beer thing is!  I would like to be in on it
if I can arrange it geographically.  I think West London is closer to me.


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