[NTG-context] roadmap

Hans Hagen j.hagen at xs4all.nl
Mon May 14 17:17:24 CEST 2018


Hi,

The ConTeXt meeting is - as usual - the right place and moment to 
discuss the roadmap. We never had real binding roadmaps, more informal 
ones. Anyway, here are some thoughts on the two main components: MkIV 
and LuaTeX.

ConTeXt MkIV:

- Check if some mechanism can (by now) be simplified due to LuaTeX 
extension introduced the last few years that can be considered stable by 
now. This has a low impact as we already use Lua a lot.

- Figure out what mechanism in ConTeXt are bottlenecks in performance if 
there are such bottlenecks at all. We need user input on this.

- Get rid of inconsistencies in the user interface e.g. by introducing 
new commands with settings.

- Check what additional features users want (miss) and decide to what 
extent and with what priority we will put effort in this. We've reached 
a point where interference prevents more complex extensions.

- Try to improve tricky mechanisms, like columns and tables. 
Improvements are of course always on the agenda.

- We can add more trickery for fonts and scripts. There are some pending 
extensions.

- Maybe we should provide a few more general styles.

- Are there reasonable challenges left.

LuaTeX 1.09:

- This version is pretty close to what is the final version (seen from 
the functional point of view). We're still debating where to move after 
this. LuaTeX 2.0? A stripped down (lean and mean) version specific for 
ConTeXt? Keep in mind that we cannot fundamentally change something, 
even if we want to, because other macro packages use it and don't expect 
it to change much.

- There will probably be some more options in controlling math (given 
issues with fonts). We have to accept that not everything has a generic 
programmable solution (which is why we have Lua on board).

- There might be a few more callbacks but probably nothing fundamental 
is planned.

- We keep cleaning up the code base (less code is better, less 
dependencies too, some documentation is missing or not yet adapted to 
the new code). For instance the pdf inclusion code will soon be redone 
(and then tested in the ConTeXt distribution as usual).

- When possible we will try to improve performance but there is not much 
to gain to be expected there.

- We will also keep up with Lua (currently 5.3, some day 5.4). It is 
unclear to what extent LuaJit follows. When it stays behind we need to 
decide if support in ConTeXt will stay (to some extent we can have dual 
code paths as we have now).

- We expect the ffi interface to external libraries to become more 
stable over time. ConTeXt will not introduce dependencies (what can be 
done in Lua will happen in Lua) but on the other hand we might put some 
libraries in the distribution e.g. for database support.

- We might add some extensions to MetaPost in MPLib.

In addition we could formulate ideas with respect to the distribution, 
garden, documentation and so on.

You can react on this list but if you come to the meeting, you can 
participate in discussions.

So far for now,

Hans

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