[pstricks] Pstricks and pdftex

Sebastian Rahtz sebastian.rahtz at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Sun Sep 29 22:07:43 CEST 2002

On Sun, 2002-09-29 at 20:31, John Culleton wrote:

> Here are my thoughts, probably erroneous.
> 1. pdftex is supposedly a superset of plain tex.
> 2. pdftex can output dvi.
> 3. Therefore, pdftex should have the capability for putting out
> a dvi file with the embedded postscript specials that are generated by
> the pstricks macros.

it does. it works perfectly well. It worked for me immediately.
its probably just a matter of specifying the right driver.
> Why not just use plain tex? Because pdftex is better in many ways. The
> fact that it bypasses two steps (dvips and ps2pdf) is a minor virtue.

which you lose if you emit dvi

> But there are other features that are more important, such as improved
> paper size specification, the potential at least of optically
> justified margins (not yet fully realized) and so on. 
the paper-size specification seems like a red herring. any/all
macro packages csn do that

> My need for graphics goes beyond drawing pictures. I like to take a
> headline, surround it with a box with rounded ends, and give it a
> background. This could be done with Metafun I suppose, based on the
> principle that you can do anything with anythng if you work hard
> enough at it.

it looks to me as its easy, from reading the ConTeXt manual.

> AFAIK no, but Hans Hagen did make noises about perhaps handling that
> feature somewhat like Metapost is handled now, i.e. generate an output
> file, run it though Metapost/pstricks, and reincorporate the finished
> drawing into the document on a subsequent run. I don't know if this
> handles the kind of situation I am referring to, such as doing funky
> things with headers, chapter heads etc.  
well, quite. it would not work.

> And I have a general problem 
> with
> Context and (more so) LaTeX in that they are too abstract and
> structured. I want someting closer to the actual mechanism, in other
> words something like plain tex. 

thats fine. but the reason for using LaTeX or ConTeXt is that
you build on the shoulders of giants. a lot of the work is
done for you already. by limiting yourself to plain TeX, you
get to reinvent all the wheels again... which is your prerogative :-}

> It would have been nice if Han The Thanh had instead of inventing
> pdftex had invented pstex. 

it would have been a possibility, I guess. I suppose he
simply followed the trend. After all, PDF is "next generation
PostScript" in the eyes of its creators.

Sebastian Rahtz      OUCS Information Manager
13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN. Phone +44 1865 283431

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