[texworks] XeLaTeX Typsetting tool

Paul A Norman paul.a.norman at gmail.com
Sun Jul 17 04:57:19 CEST 2011

Thanks for that everyone,

In the back of my mind is one of the original ideals of the TeX LaTeX
stable, of being able to re-open a document any where at any future
time, and typeset it accurately again.

With faithful future re-typesetting,  fonts and font treatment are now
going to be more a major part of the picture than before, when there
was once only initially perhaps just Computer Modern and a hand full
of fonts to focus on, and eventually all centrally archived on (CTAN).

With time often being more precious than funding, I am canvassing
these things knowing that they affect many other  people as well.

We have talked on the TeXworks list about project management in Tw,
which is also a key for distributed work, and one of the 'big' issues
I have been already facing on current projects, is font management in
that context.
Where I am, right now we are seeking to plan our work ahead, and face
these typesetting engine issues quite strongly.

So, a) which engine to be planning to be using right now and forward,
and b) with the new flexabilites---keeping tabs on projects' fonts;
are what we are working through at the moment--as no doubt others with
long term work loads will be doing so as well --or might start to
through these sorts of  discussions :-)

It must be flagged up front that there are real non-technical issues
with the development of the use of what might be called free standing
fonts (.ttf .otf) installed on a User's system. One is that a User
later may not be aware which purchase they made (or free download) put
that font there, and should they move to another system/machine may
not think ahead that it would need to be sorted out (they might not
even think about its real name!)- unlike the current state of affairs
in the LaTeX world where if you are making documents based only on
CTAN available font packages, relocating a font will probably NEVER be
an issue.

Obviously this all has a few implications for aspects of TeXworks
editor developments as well, hence talking about it broadly here, but
will jump over to  TeX Stackexchange for more specific matters.

With Tw  if we are heading for more 'use any font on your system'
typesetting engines, a means of dropping those font names into the
editor would be more than useful for a typesetting editor User. I have
one in script prototyping at the moment, but an actual solution may
need to be mainlined. It might need to include a reference in a
%comment to the actual .ttf or .otf name and even original location,
for when the User changes/upgrades system or gets a new computer (I
have found the package fontools helpful, but if you go over to the
contributing authors' site  http://www.lcdf.org/type/ there are more
up to date and extensive utilities available including "otfinfo -i
dahdah.ttf dahDah.otf" it's invaluable in this regard e.g.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13401476/TeXworks/TeXworks_otfinfo.jpg ).

Paths Forward:

As things have been, General TeX fonts, via LaTeX .fd etc, are
obviously freely available and as everyone knows  under a MikTeX type
distribution, able to be even automatically downloaded when referenced
as packages, and once on a system, can be used through their
abbreviated names casually in a document.
So far in using these there has been no problematic font management
issue for either collaborative work, or reopening archives of projects
later (CTAN again).
(n.b. When an OpenSource package based on a ttf or .otf is used
through say MikTeX - the actual fonts themselves are put in your TXMF
tree as well, if you need them for things like drawing applications.
I'm on MikTeX and there under /fonts/type1/ (don't ask me!) and
/fonts/opentype/ you'll likely find subdirectories with .otf  and some
.ttf in them. Some ttf sometimes in /fonts/tfm/public/ sub directories

Generally it was felt in the LaTeX world that a .sty should provide
your documents  font shapes, so my recent `Quote of the week?'.

``Gleaned from a user group ...

``>Re: HowTo use TTF-font with LaTeX

``> "Sorry, but with this I would have to ask why you want to do this.
``> "There should be no need to use other fonts with LaTeX except its
default ones.
``> "Its not there for you to customise the layout and fonts, that has
been done for you, that its point.

Now there is a growing acceptance that specific departure form a
document main font .sty and more active robust choices, including
smart fonts, are a valid part of typesetting the wide range of
documents that *TeX is being coaxed to cater for (for example see
LaTeX magazine and newspaper assistance under Nicola Talbot's flowfram
and jpgfdraw contributions http://theoval.cmp.uea.ac.uk/~nlct/latex/).

However in achieving that, .otf and .ttf, and especially those that
are not on an open license, pose different project management issues.

Depending heavily upon license and your legal jurisdiction's
requirements, for internal use - non-Open licensed versions can
sometimes be temporarily utilised by 'team members' for a specific
project's preparation, but only for the purposes of the preparation of
that project (in some jurisdictions the argument is similar to when a
printing bureau automatically requires that the fonts accompany the
project for printing - even though in reality with embedding that
would seem to serve no practical purpose). However some licenses/or
jurisdictions are more restrictive.

In terms of project management (and its development in TeXworks)...

1. When licensed under Open conditions, otf and ttf fonts should
obviously always accompany the project (in case they are not on the
recipient team member's system) - and in any event should always be
included for archiving with/in the project.
Do either LuaTeX or XeLaTeX allow utilising  font(s) for use from a
nominated project directory? Is there a files path type situation as
with \insertgraphics - \graphicspath{} ?

2. I have seen packages in the past for LaTeX (can't think of one
right now) that will gather up all the files used in a LaTeX project,
is there anything in LuaTeX and XeLaTeX that will accomplish that for
.ttf .otf fonts as well especially if the project is only relying on
fonts that are installed by the system i.e. are not in a project
directory but say c:\windows\fonts.

--If not/or even if so, is that something we c/should engineer in
total or in part form TeXworks as a part of project management?

I have been looking at packages and development projects that will
assist in setting up .otf and .ttf for LaTeX under its current font
setup, while even exposing and making available additional (some
only?) .otf features. For example autoinst.pl with the already
mentioned otftotfm. And  have protyped a Tw Scripted interface to help
use those utlities.

So the open question for many of us Users is what to base new or move
current Tw editing projects to?

a) Do the extra work on a font by font basis using tools like
autoinst.pl and otftotfm, and stick with pdfLaTeX for now trusting to
integrate smoothly into LuaTex (as LuaLaTeX in a sense?) or ...

b) As LuaTex is not yet ready, go over to XeLaTeX and so have easy
integration of any font on the system, have to change present on-going
projects to use the new necessary fonting instructions?

LuaTex is official, yet as has already been pointed out, XeLaTeX seems
to have more activity and present backing.

Both paths will involve work for anyone facing this dilemma who's
needing (for any of many reasons) to use fonts that are not currently
available as TeX packages on CTAN, and which may never be so.

With XeLaTeX's  indirect route to .pdf generation (and knowledge that
package-wise on LaTeX I need to go directly to .pdf not via .dvi), I
tend to presently lean towards being conservative, and stick with, for
the moment, getting necessary fonts into LateX (autoinst and otftotfm
route), and wait for the official route to LuaTeX (with more eventual
features than XeLaTeX) to open up more fully, trusting that fonts
introduced to LaTeX (tfm-s) and packages will still always work under

Or should people jump on XeLaTeX hoping it won't become non-developed
in the future if LuaTeX does find centre stage (especially as it has
integrated the fontspec package)?

Or will there be a future high degree of compatibility of documents
prepared for XeLaTeX to fit in under LuaTeX?  fontspec package wise -
sort of convergence I alluded to in an earlier posting?

Or are XeLaTeX and LuaTex to be seen into the future as having a
common (La)TeX basis, but as being two completely unconnected entities
as far as even future document preparation/editing goes?

I am trying to realise the early TeX LaTeX goal for safe reopening and
future re-typesetting of documents, as we go into the future, but I
also want .otf anf .ttf,  but it appears that the Xe(La)TeX /
Lua(La)TeX future is not yet as clearly identifiable as you naturally
feel you would like it to be, and I might have to continue converting
.ttf and .otf to .tfm?

Any one come up with a clear and 'safe' thought out approach yet?


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