[latex2html] latex2html and web publishing

Franco Bagnoli bagnoli@dma.unifi.it
Fri, 29 Dec 2000 16:49:37 +0100 (CET)

Dear all, 

I'm developing a set of tools to allow scientific people (including
teachers and students) to interactively collaborate in the web. A detailed
description is included at the end of this message. Here are my questions:

- Is there a mailing list (or a site) dedicated to the developers of
latex2html? is it possible to partecipate?

- Is there any plan of using latex2html for the generation of 
server-parsed pages? I think that this should imply making latex2html
persistent (using mod_perl?) and enhancing the caching of figures

- Is the latex2html-NG project still continuing? I have difficulties 
in understanding what is going on and what is stopped. 

Thank you very much. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Description of the WebTeach project

You can have a look to a preliminary version of the software at


(the site is mostly in Italian). This project is sponsored by the
University of Florence and will be released under a GPL license. 

The suite should allow people to 

1) write and edit "web" pages containing formulas and graphs using a
generic browser without any knowledge of html or xml. Editing of pages can
be restricted to a selected group.

2) Comment an existing page in a thread-like way (even pages outside the

3) include/publish already edited material (say, latex files)

Since the most convenient "language" for scientists is latex, I extended
an already existing tool (twiki, see twiki.sourceforge.org) to include
latex contructs. I'm planning to use latex (or a similar dialect) as the
intermediate storage format.

The idea is the following: people can write text using standard latex
expressions or an simplified/enhanced form (which is dynamically
translated to latex), expecially for referencing other pages without
including the whole url, to generate on-line plots and figures and 
dynamic text (for instance, multiple-choice quiz).

This latex is translated to html (and xml/mathml in the future) and cached
to improve the response of the system. On demand it can be used to
generate postscript or pdf

When possible, other formats (such as microsoft word) attachments are
automatically translated to latex.

A page is categorized by several keys.

The resulting "page" can also be obtained by a search (say: generate a
booklet of all pages concerning "fourier transform" at intermediate level,

I'm using latex2html, which is however quite slow. I partially solved the
problem by caching the html pages. I'm planning to cache latex2html into
the web server, using mod_perl or fastcgi. 

Another possibility I am
exploring is to facilitate image reusing by storing all images in a common 
directory. Clearly, the finer the level of image splitting, the higher the
possibility of sharing them. 

Could it be possible to replace
(partially) the conversion from dvi->postscript->gif/png 
with a dvi2png or dvi2gif driver? there is a dvi2gif
(http://members.home.net/gweigt/) program, or one could hack xdvi or dvilj
(maybe with mathml this is useless..) 

Another problem is that latex2html is
designed to convert whole files and generate whole html pages, while I
need to include the generated html into another document (I could use
frames to overcome this problem). 

Franco Bagnoli
Dipartimento di Matematica Applicata "G. Sansone"
Universita' di Firenze, Via S. Marta, 3 I-50139 Firenze, Italy
tel. +39 0554796422, fax: +39 055471787
e-mail: bagnoli@dma.unifi.it