[pdftex] TeX as a composition server?

Peter Davis pfd at pfdstudio.com
Sat Oct 23 10:41:12 CEST 2010

I'm looking at the possibility of using TeX as a composition server,
something to compose blocks of text or pages in a high volume workflow.
 From what I've learned, TeX, and in particular pdfTeX, is capable of
producing output that's very similar to InDesign composition, with suitable
parameters.  So I have a few question perhaps this audience can help with.

1) Is there any way to gauge roughly what kind of throughput I could get?
Could a single TeX process on a state-of-the-art Intel box, for example,
produce hundreds of pages per minute?  Thousands?  Tens or hundreds of
thousands?  (I'm assuming A4 or letter pages of just text.)

2) Is it only pdfTeX which uses hz-program-like composition, with glyph
scaling, etc.?  If so, is it possible to use pdfTeX to produce .dvi (or does
.dvi prohibit the use of glyph scaling)?  I'd like to be able to generate
bitmaps for JPEG/GIF/PNG output as well as PDF.

3) Will pdfTeX work with all the standard font formats?

Apologies for my ignorance, but I'm eager to learn more.

Thank you.

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