Zack Brown wrote:
So, to sum up your argument, PostScript does give more power,
but XSL-FO makes some things (footnotes, page number alignment,
etc) easy, that PostScript has no basic provisions for?
Yes. PS is, in general lower level than XSLFO, you can position
individual strings and graphic elements (=more power), but it lacks
higher abstractions (margins, indentations, borders, justification,
alignment, floats, page numbering, hyphenation and some more)
Right. Most PostScript documents include a large preamble called a
dictionary (think "library"). The dictionary typically defines much of that
higher level of abstraction, depending on the generator.
...but I wonder if there are any PostScript subroutine libraries out
there that try to bridge that gap. A quick google search didn't find
No surprise. Just try a "Hello world" yourself...
Actually, you might try looking for "dictionaries" instead of "libraries".
inherited from CSS (the most notable immediate predecessor).
I think TeX came before CSS. That's what I used in the
early/mid 90's. It
was really great, but very rigid in ways that seemed arbitrary (like not
using memory that was available on the system, even when the alternative
was to terminate without completing its task). In spite of its flaws it
was very powerful and even beautiful in its way.
I wrote *immediate* predecessor for a reason, CSS was taken as starting
point for XSLFO and is still quite explicitely referred.
I seem to recall the lineage being more from DSSSL than from CSS, but I
suppose I could be wrong.
TeX was certainly one of the poineering applications in computerized
typesetting, and in fact virtually every modern typesetting system
still draws on the line breaking, filling, hyphenation and math expression
typesetting algorithms first hammered out for TeX.
Which, of course, borrowed same from *it's* predecessors, including Runoff
on DEC systems, GML on IBM mainframes, and [nt]roff on UNIX systems. These
in turn borrowed greatly from electronic typesetting machines
However, TeX did not
provide many good abstractions above paragraphs and formulas. It's
strength was (and still is) that it's basically a programming language
with a good run time library for typesetting. This allowed building many
interesting abstractions on top of it. In fact, I think packages like
LaTeX were a major milestone in the development of semantic markup and
therefore in the lineage of XML.
While LaTex was certainly much easier to learn and use than the
aforementioned tools, I don't think it broke ground in any major new
-- Roger Glover
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