[OS X TeX] Re: LaTeX conversion to eBook?
nvitacolonna at gmail.com
Tue May 1 04:49:34 EDT 2012
In article <201204301634.q3UGYR4K010467 at net.indra.com>,
Doug McKenna <doug at mathemaesthetics.com> wrote:
> William Adams answered -
> >> What sorts of capabilities are there in the ePub3 spec that are much
> >> better than TeX/LaTeX?
> >It's a flattened, simplified .html-like representation of a document w/
> >CSS intended to be displayed on a machine w/ a low-power processor, and at
> >various font and screen sizes, so must reflow, so one can't readily do
> >nice hyphenation (actually, it's turned off in all the viewing programs
> >I've seen) or justification.
> Is that because nice hyphenation/justification is CPU-intensive? Or some
> other reason? Seems like doing these things happens in TeX pretty fast
> these days, so it's not a per se user-interface issue (assuming you could
> use TeX inside an eBook). Or is it just that the algorithms are gnarly?
Hyphenation and justification can be done in web pages, for example using
CPU-expensive, even for mobile devices, but I haven't experimented.
A general comment about this discussion: as someone has commented before, the
fundamental problem of the typographic quality of ebooks (and, more generally,
of web sites) is the rendering engine (e.g., WebKit), which, ideally, should act
as a “real-time TeX” (with all the differences). Getting there does not seem so
easy to me, and it requires two things: first, a systematic account on the
unique characteristics (*) of “e-typography”, a task far from being accomplished
yet (to my limited knowledge); second, the market (publishers?) putting pressure
to set high standards for epubs, and/or investment in some research project
resulting in some open source library that can be adopted by the aforementioned
(*) For instance, hyphenation and justification may well play a less prominent
role in epubs with respect to conventional typography, as well as things like
list of figures/tables, glossaries, indexes (replaced by interactive features);
the “holistic” approach used by TeX for typesetting may not be suitable for
ebooks; the concepts of “page”, “table of contents”, “floating objects”,
“layout”, etc… should be revised; interactive elements are common, what are the
“golden rules” for not misusing them?; etc…
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