[NTG-context] Ideas for restructuring the ConTeXt garden?

Procházka Lukáš LPr at pontex.cz
Sat Mar 12 17:20:57 CET 2011


my personal opinion(s) (some of them very similar to Marco's ones):

> 1) why users are confused with mkiv/mkii?

(Cannot say; I started with MkIV so for me ConTeXt = MkIV.)

> 2) why they my be reluctant to install the minimals?

The word "minimals" is a bit confusing. It implies that there must be also Ctx "standard" or Ctx "maximal".

Better to be just "ConTeXt"; and if one finds something missing (e.g. fonts? modules?), he may be directed towards some "extras".

> 3) how to restructure the garden to make things clearer for newcomers?
> 4) how do users look for information and how to optimise the garden for search engine requests?

The problem is too-many-incomplete (or obsolete) information sources. Wiki contains many stubs; there are options for commands which are not explained at all, even not mentioned or demonstrated by an example.

Similar for contextref.pdf - there are many "todo areas", but be it. But also many command options are not explained at all.

 From the user's point, when one has a problem, this means 1) search the wiki (he may remember that lately he didn't find an answer, but he should try again, what about if the topic/stub was added/completed?), 2) search the manual (personally, my most favourite source) and 3) to post a question to the mailing list (fortunately, people here do answer swiftly and even very "basic" questions are answered patiently).

In my opinion, one information source would be good, a Ctx reference. It might be divided to several parts (e.g. Fonts, Tables, Document Structure Elements, Layers and Overlays, Colouring ConTeXt, ConTeXt and XML...).

It should be decided whether the primary source is to be the wiki or the Ctx manual (.pdf).

> 5) how to better promote context to new/latex users?

For LaTeX incomers: it would be good to provide a sample setup (module?) which would make Ctx generated .pdf looking very closely to that been generated by LaTeX.

Now, if you see a .pdf document and you are familiar with LaTeX, you recognize immediately whether or not it was generated by LaTeX (Word's signature is also unmatchable).

If you create a first document with ConTeXt (moreover when migrating from LaTeX), you probably won't be satisfied with the default look (letters too big, heads not bold, spacing before/after heads too different from LaTeX's; and the LaTeX default document looks very "symphonic" in my opinion) (but also I can imagine that many Ctx defaults cannot be changed due to backward compatibility reasons).

The perfect feature of ConTeXt is that all these features may be systematically altered (often [almost] impossible in LaTeX) but you must search enough and study (and maybe ask the forum) to get the result which would fulfil your aesthetic requirements.


Treat all above as a personal point of view.

I appreciate all work around Ctx and documenting it; and as an active programmer (including writing a user reference) I can imagine effort which must be make to improve a program, to test it and to keep the documentation up-to-date, including adding description of new features (and samples for them) and removing the deprecated ones.

Best regards,


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