What is SILE?
SILE is a typesetting system; its job is to produce beautiful printed documents. Conceptually, SILE is similar to TeX—from which it borrows some concepts and even syntax and algorithms—but the similarities end there. Rather than being a derivative of the TeX family SILE is a new typesetting and layout engine written from the ground up using modern technologies and borrowing some ideas from graphical systems such as InDesign.
What can I do with SILE (that I can’t do with TeX)?
First, have a look at the show-off file. SILE allows you to:
Produce complex document layouts using frames.
Easily extend the typesetting system in a high-level programming language (Lua).
Directly process XML to PDF without the use of XSL stylesheets.
Typeset text on a grid.
Download and installation
For OS X
A formula is available for homebrew that can install both stable and head versions. Just run
brew install sile for the latest stable release or
brew install sile --HEAD to build from the latest git commit.
For Linux (prepackaged distros)
- Arch Linux packages are available in the AUR that can be installed using your prefered package manager (e.g.
yaourt -S sile). Use sile for the latest stable release or sile-git to build from the latest git commit.
SILE is written in the Lua programming language, so you will need a Lua installation. It also relies on external libraries to access fonts and write PDF files. Its preferred combination of libraries is harfbuzz and libtexpdf, a PDF creation library extracted from TeX. Harfbuzz should be available from your operating system's package manager. (For Harfbuzz to work you will also need freetype2 and fontconfig installed.) SILE also requires the ICU libraries for correct Unicode handling.
You also need to install the following Lua libraries; they can be installed using luarocks, if not available from your system's package manager.
If you are building from a a git clone, start by running the script to setup your environment (if you are using the source tarball this is unnecessary):
Once your dependencies are installed, run:
$ ./configure $ make install
This will place the SILE libraries and executable in a sensible location.
As of SILE 0.9.5, the default font is Gentium Plus, available from here. If this font is not installed on your system, you won't be able to use the examples without modification. (Previously we used Original Gentium, but that's getting harder to get hold of.)
If you are using OS X with Homebrew, the easiest way to install Gentium Plus is through the Homebrew Fonts caskroom:
$ brew tap caskroom/fonts $ brew cask install font-gentium-plus
If all goes well you should be able to compile one of the sample documents like this:
$ sile examples/test.sil This is SILE 0.9.2 <examples/test.sil><examples/macros.sil>                           
You should now have
examples/test.pdf ready for review.
Finding out more
Please read the full SILE manual for more information about what SILE is and how it can help you. There are example documents (source and PDF) in the examples/ directory. There's also an FAQ available.
SILE is distributed under the MIT licence.