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Sender: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
From: Thierry Bouche <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 11:41:00 +0100
Reply-To: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Parts/Attachments: text/plain (83 lines)
Hello all,

[second try here after an almost unanswered posting on ctt]

I'm still trying to find the graal of good typography with (la)tex. My
impression is as simple as: tex is very good at horizontal things
(H&J) and very bad for vertical spacing. Now, it is rather obvious
that latex has been conceived as a backend of a markup system, not
really as a typographical tool, hence the loose spacing/penalties
everywhere. My question is about real typesetting with the constraint
to beat Xpress on H&J (easy) _and_ on page layout (hard!).

I'm trying to find reasonnable parameters for latex so that

 -- vertical  skips do not stretch and shrink at will (in particular, i
kill the glue in line skips (and \z@skip), i also kill it in most
trivlist environments; i reduce it at parskips and pre/post section

 -- hopefully the text lines snap to an underlying grid.

 -- two facing pages have the same page geometry (here i mean that
i don't want ragged bottom, i'd want in fact that \enlargethispage
enlarges also the facing page!).

 -- I want no widows at all, i'd be less definitive for orphans, but i
don't like them either, hence

 -- I want a good quality and homogeneity of the page colour, hence
(but i don't really `feel' these number's effect anyway)

 -- i want to have two levels of text units, the lowest being called
`alinea' (i make them currently with essentially
\def\alinea{\newline\indent}, hence without any demerits for widow or
orphans at this level... there should be some), the other being \par.
This is a real problem, BTW. Because it may happen that in textual
documents, one 10 pages section contains only alineas (no blank
lines), and i believe that most of TeX and LaTeX is expecting rather
short  paragraphs (for instance, \thispagestyle{empty} mayu have very
surprizing effects when the only paragraph is 10 pages long). But if i
declare alineas as \par (\parskip=\z@) and code explicitly paragraphs
with \par\vskip\baselineskip, then i have now awy to distinguish awful
paragraph widows from (almost) harmless alinea widows.

 -- i don't really care about too many hyphenated lines (i prefer them
to bad grey, or widows/orphans, but i'd like to prevent too many
consecutive hyphenated lines, say more than 4 be prohibited, i'd also
be happy with a parameter handling the ratio hyphenated/nonhyphenated
text lines in a page) but i don't want to see a hyphen at an
odd page break, & i'd prefer not to see one at the end of a paragraph
or even page. This is thus maybe too restrictive:


 Well, when i simply gently ask tex to do what seems the minimal
requirements of quality typography by setting the parameters to \pm
the values above, it appears that it can't do its job anymore, it
stretchs infinitely my tiny vertical glue to find a page break, it
removes up to 2 lines from a page because of widow/broken control,

Now, i'd like to ask you all super gurus if you came up with some
usable system approaching reasonnably my typographical constraints and
tex mechanisms.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post, if any reader comes up to _this_

Thierry Bouche, Grenoble.