[pdftex] Han The Thanh's thesis on microtypography

Jonathan Fine jfine at active-tex.demon.co.uk
Wed Jan 30 20:24:12 CET 2002

This message posted to both comp.text.tex and pdftex at tug.org

Yesterday TUGboat 21(4) arrived.  It contains Han The Thanh's
PhD thesis: Micro-typographic extensions to the TeX typesetting

A cursory glance shows this to be interesting work that is
tackling important questions.  Not only that, but samples
were sent to Don Knuth, who responded in a long letter,
parts of which are quoted in the thesis.  I like it when
TUGboat renews our connection to DEK.

According to my first, preliminary reading, Hanh's thesis 
explores two techniques for improving quality. The first is 
to exercise more control on the space between one word
and the next, and also between the end of a word (or word
fragment) and the margins.  Hanging punctuation, to 
achieve optical alignment, is an example of this.  (Kerning,
of course, is concerned with the adjustment of the spaces
between letters.)

The second is to allow allow characters to be stretched
(or squeezed) when a line would otherwise be loose
(resp. overfull).  This is a bit like \emergencystretch,
as introduced in TeX 3.0.

Well, I'm going to read the thesis through over the next
few days, and I hope that I can contribute to an on-line

The thesis is also available at:

As TUGboat suggests that this will be more convenient
for Han The Thanh, I suggest that the discussion take 
place on the pdftex list

Jonathan Fine
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