[texworks] New to list

David J. Perry hospes.primus at verizon.net
Mon Mar 23 03:52:51 CET 2009

I'm new to this list, so let me introduce myself.

First, thanks to everyone who is working to make TexWorks a reality.  It
will fulfill a real need.

I am a classicist with considerable experience in font development and
related issues, such as Unicode and OpenType--I am not a programmer,
though.  Scholars in a number of fields (classics, biblical studies,
medieval studies, to name those I know about) have bought into the Unicode
character/glyph model, because we don't want to be left out.  We need some
unusual characters and we mix languages and scripts frequently, so
Unicode is pretty much the only game in town.  It is not perfect for our
needs, however, mainly because we need glyph
variants, unusual ligatures, and other things that Unicode will never
include.  The best way to get these seems to be through OpenType features
such as stylistic alternates and historical ligatures.

On Windows, progress has been very slow.  The two high-end desktop
publishing apps, Quark and InDesign, offer access to OT features--and that's
it.  I was delighted to learn recently that XeTeX makes it possible to use
Unicode in TeX and also offers access to OT features, and even more
pleased to find this project that is intended to make it easier for people
to use XeTeX.   I'm new to TeX, but am old enough to remember using a word
processor in the mid-80s, long before Windows, that required one to type
various codes into the text to change font sizes, set bold or italic, etc.,
so I get the idea of TeX; now I am working to learn all the commands.

I'm good at writing documentation and "how to" articles, and this is an area
where I might someday contribute to the project.  Meanwhile I will probably
have some questions . . . but today I was able, by modifying one of the
sample TeXworks files, to get an OT font displaying oldstyle numbers, 
ligatures, and discretionary ligatures in a PDF.  Very cool!!

Best wishes,
David Perry

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