From typeset Arabic directly to SVG with LuaTeX

Just a brief post

With the explosive growth of interest in “eBooks” and the use of SVG in EPUB3, I thought it would be worth experimenting to see how “easy” it was to produce SVG directly from typeset Arabic: using LuaTeX. Turns out it is certainly quite possible and an inline SVG example is shown below (OK, it should be displayed on the right-hand side, I know ;-)). This SVG was created using a point size of 100 for all calculations of the SVG “width” and “height” values. No hand editing was done at all, it is exactly as output. Need to finish kerning, vowel placement and cursive positioning in the SVG export functions but I think that should be OK.

Very likely that full mathematical formulae could also be exported directly to SVG using LuaTeX’s node structures: but they are deeply nested and complex so it could be tricky. Quite possibly, LuaTeX offers excellent potential for fully automated eBook production and, of course, print PDF production, from a single TeX source file suitably marked-up.

Installing Node.js and CouchDB on Windows

Node.js and CouchDB are two very interesting technologies which are well worth exploring. Windows users can get prebuilt binaries/installers from the following locations.

Update: to follow the examples in the O’Reilly online book ( Windows users will need to download curl (a command line utility).

I have installed all the above on my desktop PC and so far everything is working well.

The world’s most advanced browser-based WYSIWYG Editor?

I’ve recently been thinking about the future of the “authorship experience”: using pure browser-based editing environments to write scholarly/scientific papers. For highly mathematical work there may be some way to go before this is commonplace but this tool shows an interesting step in the evolution of browser-based editing environments:

Of course, as the Aloha web site says “Aloha Editor is NOT a HTML Editor to install on a desktop nor it is a CMS” so you’ll need to provide some form of CMS/storage for Aloha (where to save the content you are editing) but it shows just how powerful in-browser editing has already become. I can only guess at the power of browser-based tools and editors that will surely evolve in the next couple of years, leading to interesting changes in content authorship, storage of articles being written collaboratively, submission to STM publishers and journal publishing. Exciting times ahead!