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02-03-2004: start of a manual

Tuesday March 2nd, 2004, par John Cornelisse

This and the contribution yesterday is more or less a start of the manual of the system.

As it happens, most manuals from programs are to my experience no manuals at all.

I hope to improve on this. Though I do not expect any complaints about this manual before the whole system is complete and available, please do inform me about it, when the text leaves any question unanswered.

-  Editor
-  Matrix-manipulator
-  Code-maker
-  Caster & Punching program

Most if not all typographic manipulation of the text will be done in the editor. I know this will ask something from the user, something rather rare nowadays, with all WYSIWYG-programs designed to make the world better.

WYSIWYG has been introduced in typographer-land as the ultimate help.

I know somebody, working as commercial typographer. He can’t stop speaking about "kerning". But all what I’ve seen of that, does not apply to my sense of beauty in the appearance of a word. To obvious I guess.

I do not think the old Monotype hot-metal fonts need kerning at all. In former days only the spacing between capitals was done, and with reason.

The Code-maker.

The input of the code-making-program will be:

-  file with the contents of the die-case
-  ASC-II text file with a ’txt’-extention

The output will be a code-file to be cast on the caster or punched on a keyboard-paper-tower.

Control codes imbedded in the text will control most functions of the code-making program.

The code-maker is more like a compiler. I hope the syntax of the commands will be easy to remember, and I’m open for any suggestions, to enhance the clarity of the system.

Interactive control during compiling of the text.

During code-making still some interactive control is left to the user.

I do not know all places in words of all languages in the world a word could be divided. So I cannot built in the possibility for the program to do that in automation. Is there any full-proof commercial editor in this field for any language ? I’ve never heard of such thing.

The code-maker will show the already coded line, and point to the first character of the next line. There it will stop, and wait until the user answers the call:

Only a few things are allowed at this point:

Pressing on the ’end’-button and the ’back-space’-button.

The first will move the cursor towards the beginning of the word, until the user finds a place where the word can be divided. At this point the ’end’-button must be pressed. Giving the control back to code-maker. The program will insert a division at the end of the line, store the code, and resume with the next line.

Two things do limit the control, however:


When in this process a space or a division is met, the program will resume even without a ’end’-command by the user. The space will be ignored, and the line will be filled with variable spaces, if there are any, otherwise the line will be filled with spaces until the line is at the correct width.


The ’<-’ or left arrow button can only be touched 10 times, if the beginning of the word is not met yet, the program will assume this the place where the division will come.

I do not think there are that many words with that length, without the possibility of division. In Dutch I do not know any word longer than 10 characters with only one syllable. This might be possible in other languages however.

With all the variables needed to get this function right they take a lot of memory-space in the program. At present I would like to keep this as small as possible.

Ending compilation.

The user has no control in this at all. Before compilation the user will decide the size of the input-file. During compilation no changes can be made in critical properties like :

Set of the font, layout of the die-case, width of the line

Beginning and end of a paragraph.

The beginning of a paragraph is marked by ^pS, and the end of that paragraph is recognised by the program by the command: ^pE.

The last line of the paragraph will be filled with spaces.

The end of a line is marked with ^CR.

After this the line will be filled with low-spaces.

All lines of a poem will be ended by this combination.

When code-maker recognises this combination, the program will go on directly. This will also be the case when the cursor would point to a space at the beginning of a line.

the asc-II codes 13 & 10 will be ignored by the codemaker.

The beginning of a paragraph can be marked by a ’#’-character. This will be translated into a 18 unit space by the program.


Width-changing commands

The distance between two characters can be changed by two commands:

^|n & ^/n

The ^|n command will add n units to the character to be cast. ( 0-9 units extra)

The ^/n command will subtract 0-8 times 1/4 of a unit from from the width of the next character.

Both commands may follow after each other, the effects will be combined.

After this, only the next character will be cast at the desired width, if there?s enough space left in the line to be cast.

A third command can extent the effect of the ^| and ^/ commands:

The width of spaces, fixed or variable, will never be changed by these two commands.


^rn (n = 1-f alpha-hexadecimal)

The repeater-command immediately following a ^| , ^/ command or any combination of them, will extent the effect of the width-changing commands.

Until the next n characters are cast. After this, the addition will stop.

The effect can be further extended, if the repeat-command is repeated itself, before the addition has lost its effect.

The two repeat-signals may follow each other directly, or somewhere in the line, but before the effect is lost. Without an active width-change command, a single ^r command will be ignored.

In this way the distance between characters can be changed for a whole word or more.

A last remark about this subject: The combined effect of these three commands, has no effect at all on the width of the cast line itself.



Dans la même rubrique :
11-01-2004: presentation of the interface
12-01-2004: the day after
30-01-2004: indentify the port
22-01-2004: 24 Volt direct current
10-01-2004: the day before
16-02-2004: C-compilers
29-01-2004: about programming
31-01-2004: reprogramming IC
11-02-2004: testing and controlling...
17-01-2004: about Monotype code

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