[reportlab-users] ReportLab vs LaTex

Andy Robinson andy at reportlab.com
Fri Dec 29 03:50:41 EST 2006

> I really think ReportLab could reuse the good from LaTeX at the basic

> typographical level. It is extremely unusual, so for that I know, that

> ReportLab users really place each character themselves (they could

> manage inter-character or inter-word spacing, but the font still usually

> drives the width of each character). ReportLab would not be any less

> useful if it was knowing more about ligatures and kerning. Word

> segmentation issues are surely difficult, tricky, and language

> dependent, yet there is a good amount of knowledge about such things in

> the free software world.


> Of course, someone somewhere has to volunteer doing such things, and it

> would be totally unrealistic that I propose myself, I just do not have

> enough free time. My only point here is that it is not out of the realm

> of ReportLab, so far that I understand it, trying to recycle some

> quality ideas from TeX for the basic usage of fonts. ReportLab would

> not be "out of his place" by doing so.


I agree, it would be great if we had some of these capabilities, and
I would love to spend a few months on it one day.

But there are difficulties; keeping it fast would need a lot of C code,
and some of the information you need is not available in most font
files. We had an early contribution which did a Knuth-like
line-breaking algorithm and it took forever, despite only handling one
font face and size. More practically, we have never had any sign from a
customer that they are willing to pay for this kind of work.

In short, it needs a dedicated and smart volunteer who knows LaTeX.

- Andy

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