[fpc-pascal] Printing the FPC documentation

Marco van de Voort marcov at stack.nl
Mon Sep 7 09:28:16 CEST 2009

In our previous episode, Graeme Geldenhuys said:
> My problem is the RTL document. It is HUGE! Last time I checked, it was
> just under 1600 pages.
> * Is it worth printing this document? Or does it make more sense to only
>   print the language and compiler guides?

>From 2000-2003 I used the initial C&L book, when it became to outdated and I
migrated to 1.1, I compiled my own version of the document with only
system/objpas - sysutils - strutils in them.

At the uni I had a big 5SI with a duplex unit, so printing double sided in
A5 format was easy. I usually didn't cut it though, just ring bound them on
the top page. The booklet printing program had an option for that.

The last years I usually just grep through doc or RTL sources. Machines are a lot
faster now. Very recently I also use the CHMs, but that might also because I
spend most of my time working on those atm.

> * Is there a way to create 2 or 3 volumes out of the RTL document?
>   Printing it all out and simply binding it as 3 books by dividing the
>   pages doesn't look like it will work well. Because only the first
>   volume will have an Contents Table and only the last volume will have
>   an index.

If you can obtain the latex source as generated by fpdoc, it shouldn't be
that long. Just find anything before the first unit, save it as preamble,
and then cut on unit borders. 5 minutes.

Maybe you get get latex to generate separate files for parts, but I don't
think most people print the full docs (and specially the unit part), so for
most people it would only be frustrating.
>   standard page sizes if no publisher uses it. Anyway, so is A4 the best
>   choice for our documentation?

For me yes. For most Europeans also I guess. I'm not sure which other
countries use non-A4 paper except for the US.

But changing it is also one or two minutes work. 
> By the way, I have tried a 400 page eBook once with those plastic
> ring-binding things with all the rectangular holes down the spine. It
> did not work very well and is hard to page through the book. So "perfect
> binding" with a paperback cover seems to be the best solution. Hardback
> might be even better, but I haven't tried to do hardback cover binding
> myself yet.

For a RTL reference I'd like ringbinding because it will lay flat open, so
you can type with two hands.

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