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    Most typesetting languages efforts seem to fail or be ignored because TeX (and its derivatives) is too pervasive and so much has been built upon it that making sense of it all, let alone improving upon it, is a massive undertaking. How does the language work? Where even is the core of TeX in its codebase nowadays? Is it still written in WEB? I remember looking into it a few years ago and I could hardly find my way around.

    I saw a talk by somebody who was reimplementing the core algorithms of TeX in Clojure, and looking at his github profile now I can’t even find the repo anymore.

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      I’ve been using Tectonic, which is a reimplementation of the WEB2C version(plus XeTeX) in Rust.

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        It looks like not a reimplementation, but just a wrapper? Does this get you anything compared with something like ConTeXt?

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        There’s an interesting project called SILE. AFAIU, its author went the crazy hacker way, and basically butchered out a few core libraries from TeX, and glued them together with Lua, changing whatever else he wanted to his liking, attempting to make it simple and modern. The main reason why I think this project didn’t get much more popular (yet?), is that it still lacks math rendering support. I tried to contribute something in this area, but… kinda fizzled away after stumbling over some stupid integration issue that I didn’t have an idea how to resolve… I still have this somewhere on my TODO “bucket lists”, but no idea if I’ll manage to get back to it ever…

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          There was a reimplementation of tex in java; now abandoned, unfortunately. I believe there was also some interest at one point in reimplementing it in ocaml.

          That said, I believe the modern tex distributions are written in straight c, not WEB.

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            I believe there was also some interest at one point in reimplementing it in ocaml.

            You mean Patoline? It seems to be functional but it doesn’t look very actively developed.

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          Has nobody tried to take a crack at improving the justification algorithm in an open source browser?

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            When only one open source browser supports hyphenation at all? You know the answer. ;) It does the job quite well though.

            And I’m really surprised that Google is seemingly intentionally ignoring hyphenation support. I have some @supports queries in my own website’s CSS so that it’s justified and hyphenated in Firefox, but aligned to the left in the browser that doesn’t support it but is sadly used by the majority of people.

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              When only one open source browser supports hyphenation at all?

              Is there just one?

              You know the answer. ;)

              I don’t! Perhaps with the knowledge you assume I have, your reply makes more sense, but I’m still in the dark.

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                Actually, it seems like Chrome is finally adding hyphenation support in 88. So perhaps it will be feasible to make websites use justified/hyphenated layouts by default rather than as a special case for supported browsers.

                Then maybe trying to improve those algorithms will finally be worth it, or so I hope!