[pdftex] SVG Graphics

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Jun 10 17:29:49 CEST 2011

On Fri, 10 Jun 2011, George N. White III wrote:

> 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.

Which is why it also has (and has had for ca 10 years) 'vignettes', 
PDF documents with associated source code to reproduce the figures etc 
in the PDF, authored in a noweb-like syntax.

Figures in R help are on the way, but R help is more like man pages 
than info-style manuals (and R does come with several texinfo manuals, 
one of which contains figures).

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

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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