[pdftex] SVG Graphics

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Jun 10 15:46:27 CEST 2011

On Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 12:43 AM, Kip Warner <kip at thevertigo.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 2011-06-10 at 13:08 +1000, Ross Moore wrote:
>> But manuals written in Info style is precisely the reason TeXinfo
>> exists at all. It was not designed to be an all-purpose document-writing
>> system. That is what LaTeX is for, and ConTeXt.
> You may well be right, and I am not arguing with you on that, because as
> I learn more and more about Texinfo, that would indeed seem to be the
> case. The reason why I had thought otherwise was because of the manual
> on p.3, Overview of Texinfo, 1.2 Using Texinfo. It makes it sound as
> though it can be used for any supported backend, only having to write
> one source file.

Some backends don't do graphics, so graphics support is a bit of a sideline
for texinfo.  And texinfo is expected to work on older systems, so even if
SVG support was added to pdftex, the older systems would not have the
new version.   Adding new features to a system that needs to work on
low-end legacy platforms has to be done very carefully.

The R stats system must by now be one of the biggest users of pdftex.  As with
texinfo, R docs can be viewed as text, html, or pdf.   The documentation does
not provide any graphics, even for PDF output, but instead you are expected to
run examples to see the graphics live on your own screen.   This is not always
helpful -- sometimes the examples don't work as expected and it would be helpful
to have a "known good" image for comparison.

>> What is it that you are really trying to achieve?
> I am trying to write a handbook for contributors to a free software
> project that includes images. Eventually, I may want to do other things
> like add special artwork in the page margins, use a custom font, and so
> on. All of these things presumably will prove to be headaches with
> Texinfo.
>> And why is it that you are using TeXinfo for it?
> Because the FSF recommended it for writing books. =(

Which is because it works (e.g., soruce docs can be formatted and
used) reliably even on legacy systems and  those without functioning
graphics.  Info docs can be used in a putty session,(e.g., while figuring
out how to get a broken X server going).  Info docs are also useful for
visually impaired users using text to speech tools.

For manuals it would be nice to have a system where images
can be displayed on systems that support graphical display, but
the commands used to create the images are shown on text-only

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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