18th ConTEXt Meeting: Lutten, The Netherlands, August 17th–23th, 2024


New proposals (and requests) should be addressed to Taco Hoekwater.

ValentinE-typo: from AsciiDoc to ConTeXt


The goal of the development of ValentinE-typo is to serve two use cases, 1) to facilitate the creation of ConTeXt files and 2) to produce PDF output in typograhic quality from AsciiDoc files.
The concept of ValentinE-typo is to provide monolithic converter files. These converter files, called typo-theme, define the style of text elements, the use of colors and fonts, and the document type.
We present the challenges for the development, the great number of syntax rules and variations, and the management of AsciiDoc and ConTeXt special characters.
Several methods to include additional ConTeXt content are presented and discussed.
Another important topic is an overview of various tools helping in the creation of the AsciiDoc source document.

Where to draw the line

Hans Hagen

As a follow up on the rather fundamental math overhaul in LuaMetaTeX and ConTeXt, we had to check what the consequences were for tagging (in pdf) and the export (MathML). We looked at the latest specifications of both and in the process had to make decisions what to support and where to stop. Especially when these technologies failed us we decided to draw some lines. It makes no sense to waste time when the results will never be (handled) okay.


ConTeXt always supported MathML. There is a bit activity on that front when it comes to browsers, although there is the usual instability, inconsistency, come and go of support and features. What is the current state.


Do we need to support tagged pdf beyond the bare minimum? How reliable is it and what purpose does it server. We will demonstrate some and also want to trigger a discussion. What role does validation play in this and how relevant is it?


There has been mentioning on the list of CSL (citation related). There is some experimental code, which is good enough for a discussion on how to proceed. Where to start and where to stop.

How does TeX fit in the current landscape

Hans Hagen

The program is part of a tradition of typesetting that although spanning ages is not that old. When (semi) automatic techniques showed up that also meant a faster getting obsolete process. When we look at the landscape we see for instance church towers, castles and wind mills but newer tech is less stable (even the water tower where we have the meeting is a rarity). Semaphores, office buildings, mills for electricity, phones, computers etc get replaced within decades. So how about TeX? What do we need to do in order to preserve what is worth preserving? Do we need to make choices? (Also a discussion wrt the ConTeXt roadmap.)

PDF 2.0

Hans Hagen

This standard has been around for a while and hasn't received much attention, probably because it doesn't bring much new on top of 1.7 (the last in the 1 series). There is some follow up on tagging, validating and signing. In the process of checking this out we also added some features to pdf inclusion: checking, cleaning, merging etc. There can be several talks, discussion, drawing roadmaps: this is typically something where those present at the meeting set the agenda.

Compact fonts

Hans Hagen

It has been mentioned in the mailing list a few times, but what are compact fonts in ConTeXt? I will show some of the features that LuaMetaTeX brings to fonts, and discuss how we benefit from it. With the help of users testing compact mode is already for a while reliable enough for production. It might be interesting to know what the complications are (were) that we deal with and what benefits it brings.

The distribution

Hans Hagen

How is a ConTeXt distribution made (generated) and how can it be hosted locally. What role does the compile farm play and how much is involved in maintenance of the code and resources. (It can be a prelude to a garden based installer.)

The par builder

Hans Hagen

The extended multiple sub-pass par builder has been stable for a while now. This presentation explains how the par builder works, how it got extended and how users can benefit from it (and related new features). After all, the par builder is one of the center pieces of TeX.

The page builder

Hans Hagen

We're currently looking at the page builder. This sub mechanism has already been extended over time, also as part of extending the par builder. Users are invited to come up with possible extensions (as long as they fit into the TeX model).


Hans Hagen

What's new, what is needed, what do we have on the agenda.


Hans Hagen

We don't provide a detailed change log which means that occasional improvements go unnoticed unless a user diffs an update (and some do). I'll mention a few recent ones but challenge those present to come up with ones they noticed (for the good or bad). We can also discuss possible improvements because a lot of TeXing is in the subtle details, of rendering as well as comfort.

Making Books, part I: Keeping Up

Henning Hraban Ramm

I’d like to show you the books I made since last year: two more issues of our architectural guide booklets (as presented in last year’s ConTeXt meeting and TUG), another workbook for creative writing, a volume of poetry, a fat novel. Maybe you’ll find a few of the solutions interesting that I found for detail problems.
My book on ConTeXt is also nearing completion. I learned a lot and still know nothing.

Making Books, part II: Tools for Ideas

Henning Hraban Ramm

About my own novel, I’ll outline the process from the first ideas to the (now more or less finished) first volume. Helpful tools, lessons learned.
Since music is somewhat important in the book, I might sing a song or two.

Making Books, part III: The Medium is the Messenger

Henning Hraban Ramm

My novel includes several messenger chats that I wanted to typeset similarly to the app display – welcome to a new module for ConTeXt.