[NTG-context] XeTeX questions

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Sun Jan 21 23:59:21 CET 2007

On 1/21/07, Thomas A. Schmitz wrote:
> On Jan 21, 2007, at 5:51 PM, Mojca Miklavec wrote:
> >
> > I requested that feature in XeTeX and yet: it's now implemented in
> > LaTeX, but not in ConTeXt. (When Adam became a father, sad times have
> > started for fonts in ConTeXt ;)
> Oh that's where Adam has been hanging out lately! I was wondering
> what became of him...
> >
> > Hmmm ... you can use OpenType fonts in XeTeX in a plain-TeX-way
> > like that:
> > \font\a="[KalligraphiaLTStd]" \a
> >
> > But there's no high level interface for it yet. The relevant pieces
> > are in font-ini.tex:
> >
> > %D For \XETEX\ we need to support a bit more:
> > %D
> > %D \starttyping
> > %D \definedfont[{cmr10}  at 40pt] test
> > %D \definedfont['cmss10' at 40pt] test
> > %D \definedfont["cmtt10" at 40pt] test
> > %D
> > %D \definedfont[{cmr10}  at 40pt] test
> > %D \definedfont['cmss10' at 40pt] test
> > %D \definedfont["cmtt10" at 40pt] test
> > %D
> > %D \definedfont["Gentium" at 40pt] test
> > %D \stoptyping
> >
> > But one would also need \definedfont["[KalligraphiaLTStd]" at 40pt] or
> > a similar command (double brackets look ugly anyway) to pass the same
> > font name to XeTeX. If some TeXacker knows how to fix the low level
> > macros responsible for it ... ;)
> > I was silently hoping that once that Taco or Hans implement the same
> > feature in luatex, one of them would also fix the corresponding macros
> > for XeTeX. My knowledge doesn't suffice for it.
> OK, I see; thanks for clearing that up, Mojca. Since I have no
> pressing need, I guess I will leave it at that.
> But since I know that you've done a lot of work on XeTeX in ConTeXt,
> I'd really like to know: what exactly can XeTeX do that would make me
> want to take a more thorough look at it?

In summer I almost lost my nerves when I had to make a presentation
with Lithuanian, Turkish, Romanian, ... Vietnamese names (and had only
one night to make it ready). One letter was missing in Unicode vectors
for pdfTeX, [st]cedilla/commaaccent was problematic anyway (iwona and
lm use different letters on the same slot), for Vietnamese I needed to
redefine the font (\ifcountryisvietnamthen ... and font switching
macros seemed to have little bugs, so some specific combinations of
commands failed for basically no reason). It was a headache. (I needed
external figures and I didn't know that using them was possible in

Two other reasons why I'm sometimes using XeTeX is the ability to use
any font and the ability to use any glyph without too much troubles
(all that might be possible in pdfTeX, but even now that I potentially
know how to do that, I stil find it too cumbersome - too much work
just for the sake of being able to use a single font for a title
somewhere on a poster - too much overhelm).

Well ... another reason might be "just because it's fun to play a bit" ;)

You can do a lot more than that (typeset the most obscure scripts in
the world), but if you don't ask for it, you probably don't need it

> After a sometimes painful
> learning curve, I find it nowadays relatively easy to make my
> opentype fonts work in ConTeXt.

Well ... I didn't manage to get over this (buggy windows tools -
neither lcdftypetools nor texfont worked properly) and aferwards I
didn't want to take time for it (I know that it's history, not the
future, so it makes no sense to loose time with it). But if you don't
have problems like the one described above, if you don't need "fancy
apple fonts" and if the desired fonts work OK for you, there's
probably no reason to switch.

And when talking about "should I switch to XeTeX":
The nice thing about ConTeXt is that you usually shouldn't notice the
difference at any point of the document except for possibly sligthly
different line with font definitions.

> I assume that once the integration of
> opentype in luatex is finished, this will be even more
> straightforward, giving us access to many opentype features. I'm just
> wondering if it makes sense to spend more time here

It depends on what you consider "spend more time". If I'm not counting
the time reading the XeTeX mailing list, writing feature requests or
doing minor fixes in code or on the wiki from time to time, there's
basically no additional time involved. It simply works out of the box.

> or if the XeTeX
> project will be eaten by its own success, as it were, as most of what
> it offers becomes integrated into lua/metatex. If you can spare two
> minutes, I'd be very grateful to have your thoughts on this.

Perhaps the two will integrate again once in the future ... ? (just as
Aleph & eTeX & pdfTeX have been integrated now)

It's pointless to worry about that. XeTeX has features which won't be
supported in luatex (AAT, but there are surely more of them) and some
users need those.

On 1/21/07, Taco Hoekwater wrote:
> Mojca Miklavec wrote:
> >
> > Now I only have to figure out what is happening with map files. There
> > were some complaints a few days ago (and at that time it worked OK on
> > my computer). Now, when I tried to use OpenType LM, it complains about
> > wrong (dvips) map files (my TeXLive installation is not the most
> > recent one). But I noticed that there were some dvipdfm map files for
> > lm added to TeXLive recently, so I hope that the problem will go away.
> Did you read my long and confusing rant about map files?

I did. But at that time it worked fine here ;)

> (If not, don't
> worry about it). As of this morning, there should be pdftex as well as
> dvipdfm map files for all of the latest tex-gyre and latin modern font
> releases included on TeXLive.

Yes, I've noticed. I hope that it will work without any problems.


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