I have a long-standing fascination with typography.
In the late '80s and early '90s, I became quite adept with TeX and LaTeX,
the well-known scientific typesetting system.
When I was at ICPC, I think I read the TeXbook cover to cover—twice.
I became the TeX administrator for the CS department while I was at Brown.
And then I moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft
and entered the world of Windows,
and I left TeX behind for more than 15 years.
I wrote the other day that I prepared the Bloomsday scripts in XML
for several years, using XSLT to generate HTML.
I used to send the HTML to the readers,
but everyone's browser paginated differently when printing,
which led to confusion at rehearsals.
So I started giving them PDFs:
problem solved except for the person who needed a large-print version.
Last year, I prepared the script with reStructuredText.
Normally, I use reST to generate HTML,
but reST can also generate LaTeX.
I decided to use rst2latex to take advantage of LaTeX's superior typesetting.
I wasn't happy with the results.
The script looked like a crappy technical paper from the '90s,
thanks to the tired Computer Modern layout.
CM works well for math, less well for text, in my opinion.
The MacTeX extras included XeTeX,
a modern variant of TeX that supports Unicode and OpenType fonts.
I experimented with using Hoefler to set the script.
You can see the results above: it looks gorgeous.
More to come.