[luatex] The LuaTeXbook

Taco Hoekwater taco at elvenkind.com
Mon Jan 3 11:17:47 CET 2011

On 01/03/2011 01:27 AM, Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard wrote:
>> Moreover, the program you
>> propose is rather personnal (you can read this, you can skip that) and
>> it is not sure that it would be convenient for anyone.
> For what it's worth, I fully agree with Philipp's list, so it's probably not
> that personal.

And Philipp's list is what would have been my proposed list as well,
so I think he was dead on.


Now, about the original question: writing a 'luatexbook' is a near
impossible task. There is simply too much going on in luatex to put it
all in a single be-all and end-all of luatex programming book.

One of the problems is that tex.web is about 25k lines (and many of
those are comments). luatex's source code adds up to about 150k lines
(also with comments, but that figure is excluding the libs/ directory
and the fontforge sources. Everything that is compiled added together
is about half a million lines).

But a more serious problem is that the TeXbook describes a finished
program. Luatex is not like that (and will not be for a significant
number of years). The detail level that is presented by the TeXbook
is only possible because it describes a fixed object. Assuming a
luatexbook existed, it would be a maintenance nightmare to keep it
up to date with the actual program.

And my final point is a didactic one: the TeXbook is the only book
that I have totally worn out two copies of. And I do not think that
is a good thing at all. The book is written in such a way that you
have to leaf through again and again and again while learning TeX.
It is a mad combination of a tutorial, courseware, user manual and
reference. Even if it was doable, I would not like to repeat that
mistake in a new book.

Best wishes,

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