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Process-oriented publishing   |   Interfaces   |   Integration   |   Data-based Layout   |   Text Layout    

Penalty-based optimization of paragraph breaks

Professional text layout is a matter of course for DocScape

DocScape optimizes line breaks within a paragraph as a whole, irrespective of how many lines the paragraph consists of.

A penalty is allocated to each undesired line break feature, reflecting the priority with which this feature is to be avoided. Possible penalty-defined features:
  • Integration of hyphenation (in one line or two, three … consecutive lines, in the penultimate line of a paragraph);
  • Expansion or compression of lines in justification;
  • Number of lines required;
  • ...
The definition of negative penalties allows the marking of undesired breaks, e.g. following punctuation marks. Based on format properties, DocScape defines the penalty values automatically.

The TeX text layout system takes care of text formatting, automatically optimizing the break of a whole paragraph, which results in a minimum overall penalty value. This may result in accepting “ mildly undesired” breaks in a number of lines in order to avoid a “grossly undesired” break in a specific line.

A penalty-based system also optimizes column and page breaks within texts in order to avoid or favor e.g. widows and orphan lines and breaks or breaks at hyphenation points, or to insert a break preferably in front of a heading.

While the above properties have been available in TeX since the 1980s, other optimization features have been included only recently or are subject to current product development:
  • Protruding characters: protrusion of specific characters (A, Z, punctuation marks) from the edge of the text block to optimize the balance visually. Must be configured for each individual font if the relevant tables are not available in otf font;
  • hz algorithm: paragraph optimization process developed by the globally renowned typographer Hermann Zapf: a slight expansion and compression of letters is used instead of dynamic spacing, which usually has a distracting visual effect;
  • Utilization of enhanced otf features: ligatures, kerning, ...
  • Avoidance of flows (vertical structures from empty spaces) [experimental feature] 

Support of Unicode and language switching

The consistent application of Unicode supports basically all font systems worldwide, as well as mathematical and technical symbol fonts.

In addition, DocScape allows automatic hyphenation in all languages which support this concept, and supports the specific microtypographic features of Asian, African and especially Arabic font systems. Horizontal and vertical text directions are supported, and it is possible to switch horizontal text directions (left–right or right–left) within a paragraph.

Which language a text section originates from can be defined generally for a dataset file, or defined in the text context in as much detail as required (quoting of foreign-language sections or names). If hyphenation is required, the hyphenation process (or other break process) which applies to a specific text section is used automatically.

Another important aspect of Unicode support is the selection of the right font. Frequently, corporate fonts do not include, for example, Asian fonts or technical symbols. DocScape allows the operator to define for each individual Unicode symbol which font it is taken from.

Text flow in typesetting grids

The text flow follows a predefined or automatically selected flow path, if required over several pages.

Textfluss

Platform-independent, efficient and robust

When it comes to formatting texts and generating PDF files, DocScape relies on the professional, free and open TeX text layout system.

Particularly popular in the academic sector for scientific work and specialized publications, hundreds of thousands of carefully administered installations worldwide ensure the availability of microtypograpic configurations for all font systems worldwide. TeX has been used on a global level for more than 20 years; the development of the actual typesetting machine was completed 10 years ago and provides a completely cleaned-up basis for the development of DocScape.

TeX is available on all hardware and operating system platforms, and its pdfTeX version provides a free generator for standard-compliant PDF, allowing the use of sustainable standards such as X/3 and PDF/A as well as current features such as levels, tagging or activities.

The translation of the DocScape layout mark-up language relies – next to JAVA – on TeX macro programming, which ensures a highly efficient execution even of complex text layout automation and an intensive connection between typesetting and layout engines for an optimized translation of complex design rules.

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DocScape stands for uncompromising quality in text layout and typography.

 
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