Re: PDF & single-sourcing history

Subject: Re: PDF & single-sourcing history
From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
To: Sandy Harris <sandyinchina -at- gmail -dot- com>, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 09:54:50 -0800


Just as an additional point to what Sandy said, the "printed manuals" for man pages were typeset in that they were set in Times Roman and they had headings in a larger font. Each printed page was numbered per man page, and I think there may have been page footers, but there was no consistent numbering for the entire set, nor was there a TOC or index or anything of the things you would expect from an actual book. It was just a collection of printouts.

Some manufacturers also had more traditional task-based documentation, and that was also written in troff with custom macros for book production. I came into Unix documentation in 1989 right at the time my company was converting everything to FrameMaker, and there was a big fight from the older tech writers that WYSIWYG desktop publishing was *awful* because it didn't separate content from presentation, you couldn't tag your content for screen or print, or create conditions based on the different variations of the product. Irony.

Laura


On Mar 6, 2013, at 8:48 AM, Sandy Harris wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 11:26 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com> wrote:
>
>> Were man pages single-sourced? I always thought they were just files.
>> Did someone produce printed manuals, and if so, how?
>
> Yes. Some old DEC system (RT-11?) had a 'runoff' print command, so
> Unix got nroff(1) (new runoff) and troff(1) (typesetter runoff); man(1)
> pages were written and stored using the markup for those, with a
> manuals-specific macro package.
>
> The online stuff, which had to display on a dumb terminal with quite
> limited facilities, was generated with nroff and the printed manuals
> got better formatting via troff, but both came from the same source.
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References:
Re: PDF & single-sourcing history: From: Sandy Harris
Re: PDF & single-sourcing history: From: Sandy Harris

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