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Re: [ANN] Skribilo 0.9.4 released

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: [ANN] Skribilo 0.9.4 released
Date: Thu, 03 May 2018 15:30:33 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.3 (gnu/linux)


(Replying to everyone, but we should probably strip the Cc: list afterwards.)

Pierre Neidhardt <address@hidden> skribis:

> This must be the computer program I've been waiting for the longest time!
> (Roughly 10 years...)

Heheh.  :-)

> 1. Is there any procedural graphics capability?  Here I'm thinking TikZ,
> Asymptote, etc.  TikZ turns "programming" into a much dreaded nightmare
> and while Asymptote makes it a bit more approachable, it still suffers
> from a language that has more ill-designed "features" than C++.

No, there’s no such thing.  There’s a high-level pie chart package that
simply generates Lout or Ploticus code currently, but that’s about it.

> 2. What about page formatting capabilities?  Can Skribilo generate, say,
> a letter?

No, it just relies on Lout or LaTeX/ConTeXT to do that.  All it does is
generate code for these.

> 3. How is it related to other GNU projects?  Is it used anywhere?

I don’t think it’s much used by other projects.  :-)

Now, with an improved backend plus a Texinfo frontend (a “reader” in
Skribilo parlance, which could use Guile’s stexi modules), it could
become an option for some existing manuals.

> 4. Skribilo's manual is available in HTML / PDF format, but not in
> Info.  Strange, is there a good reason for it?  I like Info :)

If you install it, you’ll get the Info manual.  But note that the Info
backend still leaves a lot to be desired.

> 5. This seems to be in direct competition with Racket's Scribble (which
> I haven't really tested either).  Is there a good reason for not merging
> the two projects?  What are the differences between the two?

The two projects are similar in spirit, yes.  I think Scribble is a bit
younger but it’s also more widely used and maybe more featureful
nowadays.  Scribble uses Racket, Skribilo uses Guile, and there are some
differences (for example, I think the document processing phases work
differently.)  But anyway, you tell me!

> 6. I didn't know about Lout: the project page is rather empty and the
> description very scarce.  If I understand correctly, it's an alternative
> to TeXlive as a PDF rendering backend.  If so, then it's a brilliant
> initiative, I find TeXlive so bloated it is hardly manageable.

Lout is the only practical purely functional document layout system that
I know of, and yes, it’s not very well know.  The implementation has a
few shortcomings though, in particular that of not supporting Unicode.

> 7. As for Lout, I had never heard of Skribilo before.  Maybe it's just
> me...  But I think it would be worth reaching out for a broader
> audience.  The vast majority of the academia has been stuck with LaTeX
> for too long, I can hear the far cries of too many people begging for
> some progress! :D

I’d say that Skribilo is on the same level as Docbook, but not really on
the same level as LaTeX: it doesn’t do any of the low-level layout
stuff.  That said, it’s usually simpler to work with, though because it
“compiles” to LaTeX/Lout, you also occasionally have to be aware of
these lower-level tools.

Thanks for your feedback!


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