Since the UNIX manual has such a rich history of development, it would be strange were it not to have a significant body of supporting tools for composition. In fact, Version 7 AT&T UNIX was bundled with a set of tools, the UNIX Writer's Workbench, specifically for composing documents — spell-checking, grammar-checking, and so forth. Even then, sophisticated editors had long since been a pivotal part of UNIX.

Although the ed, ex, and vi editors are stipulated by POSIX.1-2008, the Writer's Workbench has long since been discontinued. Even spell-checkers are not standard across modern UNIX systems, although many high-quality editors and composition utilities may be downloaded.

In short, the situation is messy: composing mdoc documents (and in fact any roff document) is tricky to do without downloading special software.

However, one of the best parts of mdoc is that none of these specific tools are necessary: an mdoc document is just a text file and may be composed in any editor, and its text contents analysed by any utility smart enough to ignore mdoc syntax.

Last edited by $Author: kristaps $ on $Date: 2011/11/04 01:06:28 $. Copyright © 2011, Kristaps Dzonsons. CC BY-SA.