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

Jaroslav Hajtmar hajtmar at gyza.cz
Sat Mar 12 21:02:16 CET 2011

Hello ConTeXist.

I installed ConTeXt minimals until pretty late. Before, I used the 
context in the TeXLive. For a long time I really thought that Minimals 
are "incomplete" versions of minimal and that there was something more. 
I was very pleasantly surprised at how easily Minimals installed and is 
very good, it is easy to automatically update the version. MkII I 
completely stopped using to create new documents using the MkII and 
translate only the old stuff.
I know from experience that newcomers and MkII MKIV confusing and I have 
sometimes a problem with incompatibility, because I have long used the MkII.

Personally I would advocate a clear separation of the MkII and MKIV in 
the garden and change "minimals" name to the name that is so misleading 
- eg directly MarkTeX :-).

Greetings Jaroslav

Dne 12.3.2011 17:20, Procházka Lukáš napsal(a):
> Hello,
> 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,
> Lukas
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