[NTG-context] Intraword spacing proof of concept

Charles P. Schaum verbo.solo at sbcglobal.net
Fri Aug 15 17:50:45 CEST 2008

On Fri, 2008-08-15 at 09:49 +0200, Hans Hagen wrote:

> in my opinion letterspacing only makes sense in titles, not in the main 
> body of text (i consider kerning to be part of the font design)
Thanks, Hans!

Actually titles is where I would have used it. ;-) I generally agree
with you there. Another place to slightly pack text is in ad copy, where
perhaps your marketer got some text that must go in because corporate
wants it, and the design calls for a space that is a touch too small,
and deadlines are looming, and, and...

Usually, however, messing with letter spacing decreases the aesthetics.
Fonts are best left alone. But of course, what good is a rule if you
can't break it occasionally?

I had a subtitle that was pretty long, and I got around that by using
thinspaces. It worked quite well. That was a couple months ago and I
know a little more now.

I also wanted to see if some of the exact same code that runs in plain
would run in ConTeXt. I actually have had a fair bit of success using
ConTeXt to take stuff from plain as a drop-in. Certain types of texts
are easier to work with in plain than, for example, LaTeX. For example,
I wanted to import about 30 pages of Questions and Answers in ASCII.
With plain and ConTeXt I had much less fussing than in LaTeX. The same
for some ASCII game FAQ's. My tinkering has even extended to Lollipop,
but all \ turn into `` because I am ignorant and cannot figure out what
the deal with computer modern fonts is in that format.

The point of all this, with the TeXbook, TeX by Topic, and source code
as guides, is to figure out what the deal is in different formats. It
seems that (1) understanding catcodes and the finer points of macro
expansion and modes really unlocks TeX; (2) reading source code for TeX
and various formats is an essential part of getting a handle on things;
and (3) buying the books really does help.

But I'm glad I had 36 comp sci credit hours. Without a few courses on
algorithms and data structures, I'd be lost.


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