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On 10/07/2020 19:06, TonyMc wrote:

many thanks for Lua 5.4.0!

Will there be a PDF version of the reference manual for this version?  I
find a PDF easier to read than a web page.

Best, Tony

I also prefer PDF documentation. Nowadays ever more, since Web browsers are big juggernauts who take forever do display a page with all that HTML5 stuff.

I don't really care whether the PDF is laid out for actual printing or not. I'm almost not printing anything these days. The viewing format is just better for reading when there are no multimedia stuff embedded in the doc, but just text+images.

With PDF you have some distinct advantages, IMO.

There are very lightweight readers which can open a doc in a breeze (I use SumatraPDF on Windows, for example). If I already have one instance of SumatraPDF open, opening another is almost instantaneous (on an old i5 Windows 7 64 bit machine), even if there are dozens of docs already open. And even if it's the first time you fire up SumatraPDF, it takes a fraction of a second if the machine is not too loaded.

OTOH, if I have Firefox open (with the usual mess of dozen of tabs already there) opening even a very simple page like Lua refman's it takes at least a couple of seconds. More if the other tabs are busy doing something. Moreover, if Firefox has not been started yet, it takes many seconds to display the page (i.e. forever when there are cached tabs that have to be reloaded). This is quite annoying.

Another advantage of PDFs is searchability. Especially compared with HTML docs split on several linked pages. Not only all the information is there, so you can fire up the search dialog and do a single scan, but the fixed layout helps your brain to remember where some information is placed, like a paper book. If you use a document for long enough you end up remembering where some info is, and it's simple to use scrollbars to get there (like you were rapidly sifting through the pages of a real book).

With web pages usually you don't have such advantage, since the layout of the "screen pages" heavily depends on the zoom factor, window size and other settings of the browser.

Still another advantage, especially with lightweight readers, is that you can easily fit different windows with different docs side by side, because these readers have a very simple GUI.

Sometimes I have a 20-30 small PDF open (typically electronic components datasheet and application notes) plus a couple big PDF docs, and everything runs smooth and manageable through the OS GUI.

Try that with a browser! It's a nightmare getting UI elements out of the way when trying to fit two windows side by side. If you need a third, just get another monitor! Otherwise you may need to have different setups for when you use your browser for local docs browsing and another for when you surf the web. This is largely impractical, if not impossible with some browsers. Especially if you want to do both activities at the same time.

The fact is that nowadays browsers are not meant to share space on the desktop with any other windows any longer. They are meant to be the /ultimate and sole/ UI to the whole world (even more with all that cloud BS). They are not meant to be used as "text document" readers anymore because most people just don't read "plain text" anymore. And browsers development is mostly mass-market driven.

Moreover, correctly typeset PDF documents are easier to read and they are less eye-straining. This for me is quite important when reading dozens of pages or scanning trough a big book-like doc. As TeX/LaTeX people know, typesetting practices have evolved in centuries to make the text reading process efficient and the least tiring as possible. Web pages are almost always not built that way. Although Lua's refman is exceptionally good for an HTML-based text document.

So, all in all, when given the choice, I always download PDF docs for anything. I think there is a reason why many vendors and projects still make PDFs available for their products (e.g. GCC, gnu-make, semiconductor vendors etc.), instead of providing just a bunch of HTML pages.

I would really appreciate if Lua refman were provided also as a PDF file.

My 2 EUROCENT. :-)

-- Lorenzo