[pdftex] TeX as a composition server?

Peter Davis pfd at pfdstudio.com
Tue Oct 26 23:38:28 CEST 2010

On Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 11:20 PM, Reinhard Kotucha
<reinhard.kotucha at web.de>wrote:

> Before you decide to use plain TeX, please investigate whether it
> provides everything you need.

Well, the very first thing to determine is whether TeX can possibly handle
the throughput I require.  I realize this is a very unrealistic test for a
number of reasons, but I just want to see the upper bound.  On my laptop,
running a Lorem-ipsum loop, I seem to get about 8000 pages per minute.  This
is a dual-core Intel 2.2GHz machine, so I'm assuming I could at least double
that on a newer, more muscular system.  That just about the minimum to keep
some variation of TeX as a candidate for this job.  I'll have to try this
test on a server-class machine to get a better indication.

Now to get more realistic, I have to account for generating TeX mark-up from
XML, handling placed figures, (no floating), multiple fonts, languages and
eventually writing directions, I'll have to build more realistic prototypes.
 Also, this will actually be more of a succession of short (8-12 page)
documents, rather than one long one (though it could be processed as one
long one).  I've read about some work with making a TeX daemon that would
amortize the startup costs over the entire life of the process.  But there
would be no point in doing these experiments if I couldn't even get plain
TeX up to speed.

Thank you for you thoughtful responses.  I realize there are lots of options
and trade-offs in picking a TeX variant and format.  That's how I expect to
be spending my next week or so.


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