[pdftex] Paper format - PDF

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 13:50:08 CET 2010

On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 6:45 PM, Jan Öhman <Jan_Ohman at glocalnet.net> wrote:
> George N. White III skrev:
>> ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
>>> - Give the font an color
>>> Is it possible?
>> Not only possible, but done daily by the majority of pdftex users.
>> Since you appear to be starting from scratch, you would do better to
>> describe what you hope to accomplish, e.g., produce electronic MS for
>> a journal/proceedings that wants latex format (probably the most
>> common role for pdftex), produce class notes in PDF format and print
>> exams with extensive maths, ...
>> Are there examples of the type of document you want to produce on the web?
> Thanks for your reply.
> My wish!
> I have a directory tree with about 100 directories. (with pictures).
> five main directories then the rest as sub-directories.
> I'm about to write a program to get a quick view over all directories on the
> screen.
> Thinking of presenting the main directories in 5 columns and the other
> directories under these.

Years ago I did this sort of thing using a unix shell script to generate the tex
input file and then run pdftex to process the file.   I used ConTeXt because
none of the standard LaTeX classes fit the problem.  I my case the "images"
are remote sensing files so I have to run other programs to generate the
images.  Other people do this using perl to produce PDF directly, but I know
TeX and use it routinely, so I know that it will be available to me, while perl
has been problematic (different apps wanting different versions, getting the
pdfoutput library), etc.

In my case the images don't change once they have been created, so it
is useful for users (who may not have access to the system where the
images are stored) to have PDF's for reference.

I have also used shell scripts to create web sites for the images.  In my
case the images are organized by dates, so I know in advance what images
will be on the site and can use very simple scripts to put dates and filenames
into a template.

Space agency web sites generally provide web tools to browse images.

> I was going to use different colors to separate subdirectories of the
> subdirectories below these,
> ____________________
> Subdirectories can be changed (directories can be added and directories can
> be removed)
> As long as this is presented on the screen, I feel no major problems.
> But now came a desire - Can you print the structure of directories?
> If the directory structure was static it would have been easy....
> ____________________
> Began to seek a program so I could control the printing, and then I ended up
> here.
> Found a little guide somewhere (which I lost), which described the step by
> step how to program. It looked easy to manage.
> After that, I began to seek a more comprehensive manual, and then began it
> to "fuss itself"
> (pdfLaTeX - pdfTeX - ConTeX - MikTex - TexLive - TexWorks - LuaTex -
> XeTex.....and so on)
> Whats differ?

pdftex, pdflatex, context (MkII): the same program but with different "formats"
loaded.   pdftex is a fork of the original tex program that generates pdf output

xetex: a fork of the orginal tex program that can use native OS fonts, but
generates intermediate "device independent" output files that are post-processed
to produce .pdf output.  Can also be used with the context macros.

luatex: successor to pdftex, still in development, but in principle has much
better support for scripting (lua stands for the lua embedded language).
Used for ConTeXt MkIV.

TeX Live, MiKTeX: distributions that provide easy installation and package
management for what is a very large and complex suite.  You have to install
one of these to get pdftex and xetex.   Neither distro is a good
choice for ConTeXt.

ConTeXt has a separate distribution.  It is not as polished as TeXLive
and MiKTeX,
but is the best way to get a ConTeXt going.  ConTeXt needs some 3rd party
programs (scripting languages: perl, ruby).

TeXWorks is a GUI front end.   It is a nice environment for writing papers.

> Which "version" can solve my problem?
> What kind of "TeX" I'll teach me to reach this goal?
> Basically, I deal with text (a4, maybe landscape, font, size, bold, color,
> table....)
> (But it can be good if it is possible to add such as a logo))
> As my solution now looks like
> I intend to write a program (for example in pdflatex), which gives me a
> "good" layout.
> then I intend to write another program that modify in the (. Tex) file
> after that the file is automatically converted to a PDF file.

This is essentially what I did: create a (trivial) template and fill
in the details
using unix shell scripts to control the process.

These days you might find it easier to generate HTML or SGML directly and then
format the document as PDF (no TeX involved).

> I can not teach me "everything", but want to solve my problem
> //Jan

I'm not convinced that traditional TeX contributes much to your problem.   For
me it was the easy choice when I needed to produce image directories in PDF
format (for laptop users to take on the road) because it is a tool I
use on a daily
basis.    I did consider tools to convert the web version to PDF, but
at the time they
were new and had problems with my images (e.g., insisting on GIF -- I used PNG
which was a relatively new invention at the time).

I suggest you take a look at the examples created using ConTeXt at

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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